The Irish Film Institute Film Archive was named the winner of the National Archives Award for Safeguarding the Digital Legacy at the Digital Preservation Awards 2018 last night. Leading organisations and practitioners of digital preservation gathered together for the ceremony at Amsterdam Museum, as part of an International Conference hosted by the Dutch Digital Heritage Network for World Digital Preservation Day.

The IFI Irish Film Archive saw off entries from the White House Historical Association, the UK Parliamentary Archives and the Local Authority Consortium of West Sussex Records Office, Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre to claim The Award for Safeguarding the Digital Legacy with their exception project to preserve the rare Loopline collection of Irish cultural documentaries.

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.
Ross Keane, Director – IFI

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.

Solving problems in-house substantially reduced maintenance costs and vendor fees, and allowed the IFI Irish Film Archive to take control of its preservation workflows. Not only have IFIScripts helped the IFI Irish Film Archive fulfil its digital preservation remit within its limited staff and financial resources, but they have completed their first end-to-end application on a preservation project for a collection of material from leading Irish production company, Loopline Films.

The project necessitated creating new custom tools, including the creation of a computer programme that allowed the IFI Irish Film 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.

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 an unparalleled record of key areas of Irish history and culture from the 1990s to the present day, documenting a transition in Irish society pre-Celtic tiger and post-economic crash. 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. In 2017, Loopline closed its studios and transferred its holdings to the IFI Irish Film Archive, the first tranche of which will be available on the IFI Player from early 2019.

Head of the IFI Irish Film Archive, Kasandra O'Connell accepts The Award for Safeguarding the Digital Legacy at the Digital Preservation Awards 2018

The IFI Irish Film Archive team accept The Award for Safeguarding the Digital Legacy at the Digital Preservation Awards 2018

Hosted by the DPC and introduced by the Chair of Judges, Steve Daly, Head of Technology for BBC Archives, the evening celebrated the achievements of those people and organisations who have made significant and innovative contributions to securing our digital legacy for the long-term. In a year which saw the greatest number of nominations received to date, those selected as finalists faced tough competition from entries across the world.

We are absolutely delighted to see that the Digital Preservation Awards has once again recognised organisations from around the world, working collaboratively towards a common goal of securing our digital legacy. Our winners are truly worthy of their awards this evening.
Juan Bicarregui, Chair of the DPC Board and Head of Data Division for STFC

The Award for the Most Outstanding Digital Preservation Initiative in Commerce, Industry and Third Sector made a return this year and was deservedly won by Crossrail and Transport for London, after beating tough competition from Stichting Omroep Muziek (Dutch Broadcast Music) and ICKAmsterdam and Motion Bank, with their ambitious work to preserve a heavily interlinked dataset covering all phases of Europe’s biggest infrastructure project.

The innovative ePADD project from Stanford University Libraries scooped the highly competitive Award for Research and Innovation, while Jennifer Allen, Matthew Farrell, Shira Peltzman, Alice Prael and Dorothy Waugh by shared the Award for Teaching and Communications for their truly open and collaborative ‘Archivists Guide to Kryoflux.’  Anna Oates who completed her thesis at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign took the prize for the Most Outstanding Student Work in Digital Preservation with her work on the PDF/A standard.

2018 also saw the return of the DPC Fellowship Award which was presented to Barbara Sierman who will be known to many in the digital preservation community for her work with the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of the Netherlands) and Open Preservation Foundation, as well as the development of the ISO standards 16363 Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories and ISO 161919 Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of candidate trustworthy digital repositories as well as many other digital preservation projects. The award recognises Barbara’s sustained personal contribution to digital preservation, her generously shared insights and ongoing collaboration for the widest possible benefit.

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