Media and File Formats
We accept materials on virtually any analog medium: audio, video, documents,
photographs, etc. Label each object (tape, disk, notebook, photograph)
clearly. We recommend that you sort your materials by
language/date/genre/speaker (whichever is most salient in your collection)
and number each item consecutively. We must be able to relate each item with
its metadata record or we can not accession your materials.
Audio, video, images: We accept all popular digital formats: wav,
mp3, aiff, avi, wmv, qt, mp4, mpeg, jpg, tiff, etc. We strongly recommend that
you record in archival formats if possible; however,
we can convert almost any audio, video or image file to AILLA's formats.
Texts: We can read diskettes and zip disks, although digital texts
produced before 2000 may be difficult to read, especially if they rely on
Structured data: Databases, websites, hyperlinked documents,
programs. We can not preserve these in the form that you created. For
example, we can not maintain your interactive dictionary program in
perpetuity. We can archive the essential components: xml and/or html
files defining the structure and textual content along with a set of
media files. We can preserve tab-separated output from programs such
as FilemakerPro and Excel. We can not preserve proprietary formats
(eg FilemakerPro) or specific versions of open source programs (eg MySQL).
Please include a document explaining the relationships among these
component parts, the nature of the original implementation, and any other
notes that would enable future users to reproduce your resource using
We can digitize most analog recording media.
- Audio recordings: reel-to-reel tapes, cassette tapes,
mini-disks, DAT tapes, CDs.
- Video recordings: VHS tapes, DVDs, mini_DV tapes. We may not be
able to extract recordings from some PAL media; contact us before
sending videos in this format.
- Manuscripts: any paper materials: notebooks, articles, boxes of file slips, etc. Please
sort loose papers into coherent units -- eg, a set of field notes --
and place each such unit in a separate, labelled folder.
- Images: photographs, slides, negatives, illustrations, maps.
Digital archives distinguish three kinds of formats:
- Archival:best for preservation. Standard; non-proprietary; best
possible reproduction of the original.
- Presentation:easy to download (compressed); easy to use; free
- Working:easy to produce; common software tools; affordable
We will convert your materials to our archival and presentation formats.
||mini-DV, avi, mov, wmv
|digital text 1**
||html; xml; txt
||html; xml; txt
|digital text 2
||Word, WordPerfect, PDF
||xml; pdf/a; tab-separated text
* AILLA digitizes analog audio at 44.1 kHz / 24 bits. We recommend a
minimum recording standard of 44.1 kHz / 16 bits, which is standard CD
** We prefer text formats for things like transcriptions and translations
that can be accessed by non-specialists: plain text or archival PDF (PDF/A).
We accept preservable technical formats such as xml, but ask that you provide
a document describing your tagging and structural conventions.
Note: As of 2010, files in archival formats (wav, mpg, tiff) are
no longer instantly accessible online. Presentation formats should be
sufficient for most purposes. It is too expensive to maintain large format
files on web-addressable servers. They are now stored off-line, but can be
retrieved by request.
Please label everything that you send us clearly and consistently. We must
be able to associate resources (recordings, texts, photos, etc) with
metadata records or we can not accession your materials. We do not accept
any materials without metadata.
For analog deposits:
- Sort the materials by some logical criterion: language, year, place,
- Group related things together: eg, tape with recordings + notebook
- Number all the objects in order. Write the label on each object (tape,
minidisc, miniDV, notebook, folder, etc).
- Make sure that it is obvious that two things go together; eg, that tape
3 goes with notebook III. We do not have enough staff to study your
methods and materials. Make it easy for us. Use rubber bands or small
boxes to keep related things together.
- Use the same labels in your metadata catalog.
- We have some forms to help organize and catalog your collection.
Example: Tape 3 has 5 stories recorded on it. Notebooks 3 & 4 contain
the transcriptions. Your metadata catalog could look like this:
||7 mayo 1995
||Juan Maldonado, Julia Santangelo
||A story about a man who met...
||8 mayo 1995
||Juan takes a trip to...
||8 mayo 1995
||The history of the town
For digital deposits:
- Use folders to maintain your digital materials in good order.
- The top level can be language, year, place: whatever makes sense for
- The lowest level folder contains a set of related files -- a single
resource, such as a recording in both audio and video formats with a
transcription file and some photographs.
- We recommend the spreadsheet template for metadata for digital
collections. Use a separate sheet for each top-level division (language,
- Use the lowest level folder name as the resource identifier in your
- NOTE: do not create total file names longer than 124 characters
(from top to bottom, including all folder names). Long file names can
make it difficult for us to transfer your files into our file system.
- 060621_San-Cristobal_Alonso (resource identifier)