SAMMA Pilot Project and the ongoing work to migrate the Reference Collection

NARA recently purchased a 4-stream SAMMA Robotic System that is being used to migrate legacy videotape formats to digital files.  Before beginning full production with the system, NARA conducted a Pilot Project. The specific objective of this Pilot was to implement the SAMMA Robotic System as an integrated tool in the Video Preservation Lab. Standard operating procedures and workflows were documented to encourage consistency and seamlessness.

As a final test, a collection of 300 tapes was successfully digitized in a timeframe specified as feasible by project stakeholders. This group of tapes was selected from the Reference Collection - a set of reference, or access, copy U-matic videotapes that were created between 1980 - 1995. These tapes were selected as a test group because they are frequently requested by researchers and, according to the Five-Year Preservation Plan for NW Non-Textual Holdings 2008-2012, they are in the high risk category.   The content and condition of these tapes varies widely as they contain material from across many NARA record groups, and many items have been heavily used. For this project, the video lab is producing a Video Median Capture - SD - U-matic only [VID-R1] reproduction master file as well as a Online Delivery Video WMV [VID-D1] distribution file.

This digitization effort included appropriate preparation, any pre and/or post processing, transfer of A/V files and associated metadata to final storage, and return of original tapes to stacks. The Pilot Project concluded successfully in April 2010 and the Video Preservation Lab has begun to digitize the remainder of this roughly 13,000 item collection.

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