THE EUROPEAN Parliament is one of the world’s younger legislatures, but even so it has quickly developed a complex set of requirements for archiving its activities. To make its work accessible to the European population and beyond, the EP has its own audiovisual (AV) unit, which is responsible for providing internal and external feeds of the legislature’s sessions. Additionally, the AV unit is responsible for overseeing the parliament’s media archive, which is maintained for the legal and historical record as well as for the use of legislators, journalists, and scholars. Despite its commitment to making materials readily available to this very wide audience, a lack of consistency in storage formats had for a long time created headaches whenever the AV unit’s staff sought to find, identify, or retrieve specific content. Meanwhile its library of
videotapes was aging. Unless something was done quickly, irreplaceable and historic content was in jeopardy of being lost. To ensure that the historic
record would be preserved, the EP’s AV unit determined that some 12,000 hours of the legislature’s legacy media content must be migrated from storage on videotape into a managed digital environment. To accomplish this, the EP AV unit and Broadcasting Centre Europe (BCE) — after following a public call for tender — selected solutions from Front Porch Digital including the DIVAdirector media asset management (MAM) application, DIVArchive content storage management (CSM) and SAMMAsolo encoding systems. Six Front Porch Digital SAMMAsolo systems were arrayed in a set-up with legacy VTRs and interfaced to an existing Sony Flexicart system.
A user interface is being used by EP archivists to issue queries, browse archived content, and generate shot lists
SAMMAsolo is a semi-automated system that performs realtime, simultaneous encoding of content from videotape into multiple digital files, and then manages their ingest into the digital workflow. The SAMMAsolos’ flexibility enabled the archive staff to
work in tandem with the legacy FlexiCart systems, reducing overall project costs. An essential aspect of the
project’s cost-effectiveness and its ultimate success was the SAMMAsolo’s flexible capability of interfacing with the audiovisual unit’s existing
system. Likewise, the SAMMAsolo device has the unique capability of realtime migration of content into multiple digital file formats, enabling the project to meet and in some cases beat its deadlines. With the migration component, EP’s centralised MAM and