Digitizing Video for Long-term Preservation: An RFP Guide and Template

New York University, working in collaboration with its academic partners and technical advisors, is pleased to announce the release of a new publication. Digitizing Video for Long-term Preservation: An RFP Guide and Template is intended to take an institution step-by-step through the process of drafting a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the transfer of analog video -- specifically VHS -- to digital carriers for preservation. This template can be used by libraries, archives, and other cultural heritage institutions and submitted to qualified transfer vendors.

With funding from  The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Digitizing Video for Long-term Preservation is one product of the Video at Risk project. This multi-institutional endeavor developed over the course of three years with the guidance and recommendations of video engineers, vendors and other professionals and stakeholders in the field of media preservation. The authors of this document set out to create guidelines to identify the key elements integral to the transfer of the video and audio signal from Standard Definition VHS to a preservation-quality digital file. Several vendors, including Bay Area Video Coalition, DuArt, George Blood Audio Video, MediaPreserve, and SPECS Brothers also provided valuable comments and feedback on several iterations of the document. The publication’s development was the subject of a forum at NYU, attended by preservation administrators, video engineers, media collection managers, as well as faculty from NYU’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (MIAP) graduate program. Finally, the RFP document was tested by the participating partners in the Video at Risk project: the University of California, Berkeley and Loyola University New Orleans.

In addition to the RFP Guide, the document also includes a number of appendices that aim to assist those unfamiliar with audiovisual analog-to-digital transfer projects. The appendices include: a  sample of a completed RFP by a fictitious institution, a suggested metadata model, a suggested method of collecting transfer notes from a vendor, a glossary of terms and concepts, and a selected resource list.

Heartfelt thanks to the many institutional collaborators and vendors who have helped to shape this publication’s development since 2011.  It is our hope that this tool will help demystify the process of digitizing video for many institutions.
This new publication is available for download here.

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