Digitisation of the NFA collections is an important tool for making them available to experts and to the general public. It allows us to present some collections online and to offer some to researchers more effectively on our premises. By making digital copies available we protect the original materials that can be safely stored in our air-conditioned vaults.
When deciding on the scope and technical parameters of digitisation we attach the utmost importance to purpose for which digitisation is performed and the nature of the material which we digitise.
Digitisation of the NFA collections takes place in several departments, depending on the nature of the particular materials stored with us: in the NFA Library we digitise and make available books and Czech film periodicals; we convert the collection of sound recordings into a standardised digital format; we continuously digitise photos, posters and documentation of contemporary Czech cinema in the department of Special Collections; and, last but not least, we digitise and distribute Czech film in digital formats.
With a scope of 330,000 pages the NFA digital library ranks among the ten largest digital libraries in the country. Considerable expenditure in digitising the library collections is made on safe reformatting, including micro-photography, metadata creation, OCR, data installation and storage management. The digital library holds titles from the collections of the National Film Archive Library, with a focus on film published in the territory of today’s Czech Republic (Czech studies) in the period 1911-2000, in English and German. This are film periodicals, newspapers, bulletins, newsletters of professional film unions and associations, popular viewers’ magazines, correspondence, film yearbooks, and other articles and publications. Freely accessible on the Internet is part of the content totalling about 13,000 pages. Since contemporary digitised documents are subject to the protection period of the Copyright Act and are available in the National Film Archive Library and on the NFA intranet, only descriptive information (metadata) is freely accessible.
The collection of audio recordings contains two thousand items of various media types, which are digitised on an ongoing basis and converted into digital files in .wav and .mp3 format for easier archiving, access and handling. The two formats have a different quality and degree of compression and thus different application. Given the small scale of the collection (compared with the extensive film archive), we expect the digitisation to be completed in 2015.
The department of Special Collections has been digitising still photographs from Czech feature films and Czech movie posters for many years. It digitises selectively, mostly on the basis of current needs, archival materials from other collections. More than 100,000 still photos and 2,800 film posters are available.
The NFA digital lab, which was established in 2013, controls and archives native digital audio-visual works (largely contemporary cinema) supplied to us under the so-called Legal deposit and contractual deposit contractual deposit. The department is also responsible for migration from tapes and optical digital media to a standardised format suitable for long-term storage. The laboratory is not yet equipped with its own digitising device, but it monitors and stores transfers made by external contractors. Similarly, it provides long-term storage of digital restoration outputs.