Capturing and Replaying Streaming Media in a Web Archive – British Library Case Study

This article was written for and accepted by iPRES 2010, which took place on September 19 – 24, 2010 in Vienna, Austria. It details how the British Library web archiving team met the challenges of archiving sculptor Antony Gormeley’s 2009 public arts project website, http://www.oneandother.co.uk, which is now the only surviving online record of this live art work.

It is slightly sad to realise that:

  1. Despite the work being carried out in 2010, the way of archiving streaming media has not progressed much and it remains a challenge. I am not aware of any quantum leaps which make doing it easier or scale up.
  2. My co-authors have all left the British Library.

Author
Helen Hockx-Yu,  Lewis Crawford,  Roger Coram,  Stephen Johnson

Abstract

A prerequisite for digital preservation is to be able to capture and retain the content which is considered worth preserving. This has been a significant challenge for web archiving, especially for websites with embedded streaming media content, which cannot be copied via a simple HTTP request to a URL. This paper describes the approach taken by the British Library in capturing and replaying streaming media in a web archive. A working system is now in place which will lead to the development of more generic tools and workflows, contributing to addressing a common challenge for the web archiving community. The British Library recently archived a large scale public arts project website, http://www.oneandother.co.uk, which contains 2,400 hours of flash videos, streamed over Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP). The case study also presents an overview of the nontechnical issues relevant to archiving this high-profile website.

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oneandother

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