How This Information is Organized

This site is intended to outline the National Archives and Records Administration's (NARA’s) choices, including explanations, for the product(s) to be created in various types of moving image and sound reformatting projects. It provides internal NARA customers with descriptions of products output by the Moving Image and Sound Preservation Labs and aims to increase government transparency for members of the public.

The three product categories (preservation master, reproduction master, and distribution copy) meet specific needs and serve well-defined roles. We believe that the defined set of products is robust enough to meet or exceed the needs of most customers, while remaining concise enough to be produced efficiently and consistently. Each product page includes technical specifications to assure that NARA’s products align with industry standards, institutional guidelines, and published best practices.

Our outline of available services demonstrates how the staff of the Preservation Program Division's Moving Image and Sound Preservation Labs use their subject matter expertise to help NARA meet its overall strategic goals and to fulfill the objectives of specific projects.

At the center of this website are the Reformatting Approach pages, which cover digital products created from audio, video, and motion picture records, as well as film-based products created from motion picture records. Reformatting approaches describe technical approaches to reformatting different media types (including capture specifications) and details about the specific products created for different purposes.

If you have never used the website before and are uncertain about which reformatting approach best fits your project, you may begin by visiting either Reformatting Approaches by Original Record Type or Understanding NARA Product Types. The Original Record Type page will help you understand which reformatting approaches are appropriate for the type of media you are planning to digitize or reformat and will guide you toward products that suit different types of projects. Conversely, the Product Types page uses digital and physical products as the point of entry, allowing you to learn the media types that may be used as a source to create a particular product.

For more information about NARA’s Products and Services website and the Moving Image and Sound Preservation Labs, please visit our About page. There you will find background information on Products and Services, guidance for how to determine which products fit your project goals, and additional resources.