We Can Build That: Custom Python Applets for Digital Preservation Processing
When processing digitized and born digital collections many archivists and librarians are faced with two potential pathways 1) using open sources tools, many of which require intermediate to advanced technical skills or 2) using specialized software, most of which are not tailor made to digital preservation use cases. The Digital Scholarship Unit (DSU) at the University of Toronto, Mississauga Library faced this same dilemma when digitally preserving the EP Media Fonds, which is comprised of both analog videotape and born digital video. While digital video converters abound, neither out-of-the-box commercial nor open source solutions quite fit the bill. Software like Adobe Media Encoder was not capable of converting formats such as XDCam and alternatives like FFmpeg were too complex for some staff to utilize effectively. For this reason, the DSU sought to develop custom applets using Python that streamline the preservation process by providing a simple graphical user interface with a custom back-end that allowed novice users to utilize libraries like FFmpeg and Bagit to convert, create preservation and access copies, and package digital media for preservation purposes without requiring any knowledge of command line interfaces or video transcoding. This presentation will review the development process and how similar tools can be developed for use by student and non-technical staff in libraries and archives.