Vectracom to digitize European Parliament audio collections


Vectracom, a provider of media preservation and valorization services for audiovisual media, has been selected by the European Parliament to digitize an audio collection of European Parliament meetings records that is made up of 50,000 cassettes.

This project is part of European Parliament’s Historical Archives’ (EPHA) mission to collect, process, preserve and make available the documents that are produced or received by the various departments and bodies of the Parliament. To do the job, Vectracom will build a new parallel digitization system with 24 stereo transfer channels. This will be made of 24 double deck cassette players feeding SSL converters associated with Pro Tools solution. Audio signals are digitized at 48 kHz with 24-bits according to the recommendations of International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA).

After digitization, an operator identifies limits of content. A Dubbin system analyses the files including short headers and trailers that are kept for security purposes. It creates a report including measures and potential issues to help quality control operators to validate the files.

Archiving files are delivered together with MP3 files. All the browsing files are checked after creation by an automatic system and an operator finally carried out a random validation. No restoration is performed at this stage, but Vectracom’s mission includes the provision of advising the EPHA for potential digital treatment when it makes sense. Vectracom also delivers a set of files including technical and transfer metadata as well as scans of the covers of the cassettes.

Production has started with a first batch of 3,500 cassettes for the initial test phase. The logistics department of Vectracom collected it in Luxembourg and brought it to Paris at the main operations center of the company. Production will continue at the pace set by the EPHA during the four year contract.

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