The Project

The project's objective is to provide technical solutions and integrated systems for a complete digital preservation of all kinds of audio-visual collections.

Institutions traditionally responsible for preserving audio-visual collections (broadcasters, research institutions, libraries, museums, etc.) now face major technical, organisational, resource, and legal challenges in taking on the migration to digital formats and the preservation of already digitised holdings. Technical obsolescence and physical deterioration of their assets imply widely concerted policy and efficient technical services to achieve long-term digital preservation. The principal aim is to build-up preservation factories providing affordable services to all kinds of collection's custodians in order to manage and distribute their assets.

The 20th Century has provided a new kind of heritage through audiovisual technology. Key events were recorded, and audiovisual media became the new form of cultural expression and an expansion of humankind memory. These historical, cultural and commercial assets are much more fragile that conventional artwork (paintings, paper documents, monuments …), and are now entirely at risk from deterioration. The UNESCO estimate of the world audiovisual holdings is 200 million hours and about 50 million in Europe. All audio, video and film recordings are endangered within the next 20 years. This is a main challenge for local and national archives but also for universities, libraries, museums and enterprise or personal collections.

Audiovisual contents are disseminated and archive owners are heterogeneous in nature and size: institutions, enterprises, regional and local communities... Up to now, the economical cost and the technological complexity prevent these stakeholders from elaborating and managing their own patrimonial policy, and they have to wait for public rules and subventions in a centralised way.

Although large Broadcasters have already begun to digitise their huge holdings, with very high costs and using complex technology, the necessity is now to introduce a preservation factory approach with the objective of providing an integrated semi-automated solution, to reduce the costs so that the small-to-medium collections can also be saved through common standardised services. The services will be tailored to the realities of the wide variety of audiovisual collections: economic and social models, storage and software costs, and human resources costs as well as the policies and practices applied by stakeholders.

The way to achieve the goal of ‘preservation for all collections’ is with an integrated approach, to produce sustainable assets with easy access for larger exploitation and distribution to specialists and general public. The key idea is: an accessible item is more valuable than an item stuck on a shelf. An integrated process provides this access, generating revenues that will fund the activity and developing resources to finance collection maintenance.

Previous European Projects like PRESTO developed efficient preservation technology for broadcasters, and demonstrated that saving 50% of preservation work can be achieved through a semi-automated assembly-line, with each operator running multiple ‘preservation chains’.

Access requirements involve: addressing to whole documents or excerpts with the adequate metadata and rights clearance and rights management, quality restoration where needed and effective delivery systems for commercial and public access. There are unsolved problems of digitisation, metadata extraction, restoration, storage, network bandwidth, secure interaction, and end-user delivery. Partial solutions exist, but in general they are not robust, scaleable or affordable – and definitely not integrated end-to-end within a sustainable commercial and legal model. Today many initiatives are funded on a project-by-project basis that provides a poor basis for long-term strategic pan-European collaborative efforts in the field.

In order to enable any European archive owner, from small collections to the largest, to manage an autonomous and realistic patrimonial policy, including preservation and exploitation of digital assets, PrestoSpace will push the limits of the current technology beyond the State of the Art, bringing together industry, research institutes and stakeholders at European level to provide products and services for bringing effective automated preservation and access to Europe’s diverse audiovisual collections.

For more details

European Commission 6th Framework Programme for Research
Thematic priority : IST ( Information Society Technologies )
Call : FP6-2002-IST-1
Type of instrument: Integrated Project
Strategic objective:
Technology-enhanced learning and access to cultural heritage
Project Name: PrestoSpace
Project Number: FP6-507336
Duration: 40 months
Expected Start: February 1st 2004
Co-ordinator name: Daniel Teruggi
Co-ordinator organisation name: Institut national de l’audiovisuel
Co-ordinator email:
Co-ordinator fax: +33 1 49 83 25 82
Last modified 22/11/04
© PrestoSpace Consortium - 2004

Back to the graphic version