BAVC Media’s Preservation Program Announces NEH Grant to support QC Tools

Published On: December 16, 2015 |



San Francisco, CA: Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC Media) was awarded a $300,000 Preservation and Access Research and Development grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support the continued development of QCTools.

The NEH Division of Preservation and Access awards grants to projects which address major challenges in preserving or providing access to humanities collections and resources.  In 2013, in response to the decreasing ability to replay and digitize traditional magnetic tape formats, BAVC Media developed QCTools, free and open source software that assists archivists, curators, preservationists and other moving image professionals in identifying audiovisual errors by providing a robust set of filters and analytics that highlight potential problems during the preservation and transfer processes.  

Since its initial release, QCTools has grown into a unique and viable preservation aid, verifying the creation of consistent, high-quality digital files created from magnetic media. By utilizing QCTools, individual preservationists can cut the amount of time required to digitize and conduct quality control assessments on audiovisual material by more than half.  

Working with lead technical developer, Dave Rice, and partnering with the Indiana University Bloomington, BAVC Media will use the new NEH grant to expand QCTools to accommodate the sizeable workflows of large-scale institutions, increasing efficiency and reducing human error.

Says Mike Casey, Director of Technical Operations for the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative at the University of Indiana, “IU has a highly practical need for a preservation-oriented quality control application that can scale for large workflows and we look forward to further developing QCTools to meet this need.”

Working to integrate QCTools into the audiovisual preservation workflows of IU’s Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative (MDPI), BAVC Media hopes to develop a model that will be transferrable to other archivists and institutions. Through this grant, BAVC Media and partners will:

  • Integrate a database and index into QCTools to store collected data so that trends of digitization projects (and their errors) can be analyzed and compared,
  • Incorporate data visualization reports as a function that increases the ease-of-use and intuitiveness of QCTools, and,
  • Expand audio analysis features to report on clipping, maximum and minimum audio differentials and audio flatness.

The project’s goal is to use applied research to further develop free and open-source quality control tools for video preservation, which will reduce costs and improve standards, practices and workflows that play an integral role in preserving and providing access to humanities collections of all sizes.  

Since 1994, BAVC Media has served as a national hub for the preservation of magnetic tape media, ensuring the survival of and continued access to video art, independently-produced media, and video documentation of cultural and political events since the late 1960s. Previous preservation clients have included MoMA, National Museum of History at Smithsonian, San Francisco Public Library, SFMOMA, The Kitchen, Walker Art Center, the Center for Asian American Media, the Long Beach Museum of Art and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. BAVC Media has preserved works by Ant Farm, the Videofreex, Paper Tiger TV, Media Burn, Nam Jun Paik, Vito Acconci, Joan Jonas, Paul McCarthy, Doug Hall, Terry Fox, William Wegman, John Baldessari, Richard Serra, and many more.



Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this press release, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.