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Welsh National Archive goes Digital with BoB

1 March 2007

Cambridge Imaging Systems has been awarded a major contract to develop and install a sophisticated digital off-air recording system for The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales.

When complete, the system will allow TV or radio programs to be recorded digitally by selecting from a seven-day electronic programme guide (EPG) and the retrieval of recorded programmes from the guide.

As the Archive contemplates a programme of digitising its collection of over 5.5 million feet of film, over 250,000 hours of video along with sound recordings and tapes, the system is also being designed to incorporate a digital asset management facility for improved search and recall.

For off-air recording, when a request is made using the seven-day EPG, the TV or radio programme will be recorded and added to a long term archive where it can be accessed and played back at any time by anyone with appropriate access. Subtitles can also be stored as part of the recorded programmes.

The whole system is scalable, modular and built around an open architecture, allowing expansion and modification as required.

At the centre of the new system is Cambridge Imaging Systems’ Box of Broadcasts (BoB). Developed initially in association with the British Universities Film and Video Council (BUFVC), BoB displays the next seven days Freeview TV and Radio and users can select recordings at the click of a mouse button. Metadata records for the archived programmes are created for the programme information and users can add to the metadata at any time, improving search facilities.

BoB also provides the opportunity to add programmes to the archive which have already been broadcast, using a short term archive of the major channels.

Other elements in the system include the company’s Imagen server, which forms the central database, MediaPlan administration software and Cambridge Imaging’s solid state Agate DVB receiver.

Iestyn Hughes, Head of The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales said:
“Digitisation offers many advantages over the older analogue technology including reduced handling and storage costs and faster access by avoiding the need to allow tapes to reach ambient temperature from secure cool storage. The system will be operational in the Spring and we look forward to being able to offer researchers and public a full service later in the year.”

The project is part of a far reaching objective by The National Library of Wales to create an integrated digital management system. As part of this initiative the Library has recently unveiled a project to digitise and place Welsh printed collections on the web.

Ian Mottashed of Cambridge Imaging Systems said:
“This is an exciting project and we look forward to working with The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales to develop the optimum system, able to meet not only the requirements of today but also to have the flexibility to give excellent service in the future.”


For further information please contact:

Or John Foster at Media Matters 01473 652195

Siôn Jobbins, The National Library of Wales 01970 632902