Irish Film Archive wins international digital preservation award

Kasandra O’Connell
Kasandra O’Connell, Irish Film Archive

Loopline project sees off competition from the White House, Parliamentary Archives

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30 November 2018 | 0

The Irish Film Institute’s Loopline Project has won the award for safeguarding digital legacy at the International Digital Preservation Coalition Awards.

The award was presented to head of archive Kasandra O’Connell and access & digital collections developer Kieran O’Leary at a ceremony in Amsterdam Museum last night.

The IFI was nominated alongside the White House Historical Association Digital Library, the UK Parliamentary Archives, and the West Sussex Records Office, Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre.

The IFI Irish Film Archive was inspired by the open source software community to develop a suite of 55 open source scripts, known as the IFIScripts, to support and automate its digital preservation activities in a sustainable and efficient manner. The IFIScripts have since been shared with the preservation community worldwide and have been adopted by a number of peer institutions internationally including the British Film Institute and the University of California, Berkeley.

The project required the creation of custom tools, including an application that allowed the Archive to identify where there were multiple copies of the same file, partial files and fragments, and devising an automated way to appraise the 350,000 objects concerned, as it would have been impossible to watch and assess each individual item otherwise. The team drew up guidelines that allowed them to identify duplicate and corrupt files which were then isolated and eliminated via a verification tool.

“We are delighted with this huge recognition of the work by the IFI Irish Film Archive. Over the last number of years, we have undertaken pioneering work in digital preservation, and are honoured to receive this international award and global recognition for the immense contributions we have made to the digital preservation community worldwide,” said Ross Keane, IFI director.

The IFI Loopline Project, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) and The Ireland Funds, has focused on cataloguing and preserving the output of Loopline Films, run by filmmaker Sé Merry Doyle.

This collection provides a record of key areas of Irish history and culture from the 1990s to the present day. In addition to material chronicling the rapid social and economic change in Ireland during the late 20th century it includes interviews with international cultural figures such as Martin Scorsese.

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