Bash Scripts for Audio-Visual Preservation

The paper was accepted for inclusion to the 54th IASA Conference & 4th ICTMD Forum in İstanbul, Türkiye, from 11 to 15 September 2023.

Table of Contents


Our conservation and restoration lab uses a set of Bash scripts daily for audio-visual preservation. These small programs are designed to be used individually and jointly chained to each other, as required for different workflows. In 2020 we were proud to announce the first release of these scripts under a 3-Clause BSD License for the community.

In the meantime more scripts have been added and the existing ones improved. The set currently includes scripts for handling various checksum manifests, the BagIt File Packaging Format, as designed by the Library of Congress and standardised under RFC 8493, audio-visual file generation and technical metadata extraction. All the scripts come with a short embedded help message and a comprehensive manual page (“man”), which is also available on the website. They have been used successfully on modern x86_64 and AArch64 (ARM64) architectures under various Linux distributions, macOS and Windows running Terminal or Subsystem for Linux.

The presentation outlines a few workflows that have proven to be effective.


  • scripts
  • slides, PDF, 6.6 MB
  • recorded presentation, MP4, 45.4 MB


Having graduated in both mathematics and computer science, Reto Kromer became involved in audio-visual conservation and restoration thirty-seven years ago. He has been running his own preservation company, AV Preservation by, and also lecturing at the Bern University of Applied Sciences, the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and the Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola in Donostia (San Sebastián). His courses cover the conservation and restoration not only of audio-visual content but also audio-visual carriers, usually with a focus on technical issues and motion picture film. His current research is mainly focussed in the digital domain and includes colour spaces, look-up tables and codec programming and emulation, as well as methods to also restore actual files and the so-called raw data they hold.