Data Migration, Our Frenemy

This presentation has been delivered twice, in different flavours, at:

  • No Time to Wait! Open Media, Open Formats, Open Archives at Österreichisches Filmmuseum in Vienna, Austria, on 9–10 November 2017 (focus on CELLAR’s standardisation work);
  • The Reel Thing XLII at the AMIA Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, United Stated of America, on 29 November – 2 December 2017 (focus on the data transformations).


This is a presentation on the bright side of data migrations!

It discusses how data migrations can be used efficiently for modifying, where necessary, the archive’s containers, codecs and metadata. During the two dozen data migrations we actually realised, we could fix errors in the structure and metadata of the archive, and we transcoded obsolete or endangered formats into current ones. Therefore we actually have updated the data and maintained the archive. En passant, there is a little on the future directions of EBML, Matroska, FFV1 and FLAC as well.


  • The presentation’s slides (PDF, 2.0 MB)


Having graduated in mathematics and computer science, Reto Kromer became involved in audio-visual conservation and restoration more than thirty years ago. He was head of preservation at the Swiss National Film Archive, and lecturer at the University of Lausanne and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

He has been running his own preservation company, AV Preservation by, and lecturing at the Bern University of Applied Sciences. His current research includes colour spaces, look-up tables and codec programming and emulation.