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ABC (Australia): News Release: Digitisation Project with IBM

1 July 2003

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Archive is to take an important step into the digital future following the ABC's decision to convert its archived collections of television and radio programming from the analogue format to the digital format.

The ABC Archive is one of Australia's most significant historical media repositories with a collection stored predominantly in the analogue format. The analogue video and audio collections are under threat from the gradual deterioration of the analogue tapes as well as from the increasing lack of playback equipment for formats that are becoming obsolete.

For long-term preservation and accessibility, the ABC has determined that its content collections must be retained in a format which will stand the test of time, will allow replicated quality to be as close as possible to that of original masters, and will allow desk top access.

The conversion of the collections to digital format is essential to achieve these objectives.

The ABC's Archives and Library Services (ALS) will drive the three year project which will see an initial 60,000 hours of television and radio content preserved in the digital format. This is the largest project of its kind undertaken in Australia.

The ABC is to work in partnership with IBM Global Services Australia (IBM GSA) Ltd who will provide a technological solution that will manage, deliver and implement the conversion of a proportion of the ABC analogue archive.

The technology is standard IT data storage equipment, used in thousands of organisations worldwide to manage ever-increasing data requirements. It puts in place systems that increase the ABC's ability to protect and maintain the content for future use. It will ultimately enable the conversion of the entire analogue archive as an ongoing ABC activity, extending beyond the initial scope of the project. The solution is based on open standards which means that in future the ABC will not be bound to one manufacturer for extensions and maintenance.

"The outcome of this project will mean that ALS Researchers will have the capacity to browse online, digitally store and digitally deliver content, offering an unprecedented level of service for our program-making clients," said Head Archives and Library Services, Mary Jane Stannus. "The ABC's commitment to the Archives and Library Services Digital Conversion project will ensure that the ABC's Archive goes into the future with assurance."

For further information contact Head of Archives & Library Services, Mary Jane Stannus, on (02) 8333 4076

Released 8 July 2003