This project is in the process of being archived, The software described was produced as a proof of concept and not supported as a stand alone project (though it's source is available, the project is not a full free software platform meant to be downloaded and installed independently). Information about future releases will be published here. The Roadmap and other planning information on this page should be considered out of date.
Constant started the Active Archives project in 2006 with the observation that most digital archives fall into the traditional model of "we" (the institution) transmitting information to "you" (the visitor). They recreate the physical archivists' box, prioritizing preservation and integrity of the single object over the link-ability and potential for multiplication through sharing that digital collections could thrive on. They are certainly not presented as a means for creating derivative works.
If we understand the web not simply as a means of distribution, but a space for (collaborative) writing, prototyping, and development of ideas, how can archives take part in this active net-nature? How can archives be active beyond preservation and access? What would it take to give material away and receive it transformed? How would files be enriched by different connections, contexts and contradictions?
The Active Archives Video Wiki inverts the paradigm of uploading resources into a centralized server and instead allows resources to remain "active", in-place and online. Caching and proxy functionality allow (light-weight) copies of resources to be manipulated and preserved even as the original sources change or become (temporarily) unavailable. Strategically, the project aims to clarify some of the "cloudy" aspects of Web 2.0 regarding issues of licensing, sharing, ownership, access, and longevity of online material. Designed to break open the "black box" of online video, users are encouraged to write with video, creating new compositions made from collages of disparate (online) elements.
- AA is distributed as opposed to "classical" preservation (self-contained object as artifact, to preserve). Rather than there being a centralized AA server, the software platform is designed to be installed in specific places (institutions, personal).
- AA is portable; an archive can travel on a USB stick, and easily move from person to person, in addition to being accessed online via the Web.
- AA is practice-based and developed in relation to specific (evolving) use-case scenarios.
- AA is radically modular and works in a pipeline fashion; modules can be implemented in multiple ways allowing for a flexibility of kinds and scales of uses, and for maximum possiblities for collaboration / input from different/unexpected kinds of use.
- Q+A: Questions and answers
- VJ12: Online video program
- Writing with video (Syndicated Essay: F+M: Working with Archives)
|Q+A||VJ12||Writing with video|
|AAWiki||Writing of the questions||Any Mediawiki||Proposal of themes||Aawiki||M uses AA to annotate Crockford video with comments.|
|Publishing the questions (as RDF) – How to mark something as “to be shared” / Or work with someone else\'s question list.||Any Mediawiki||Gathering materials, tagging with (proposed) themes||Export to blog / Exbed to wordpress||M export/embeds the video+comments in his blog.|
|?||Filming of the interview||Mediawiki/AA||Mediawiki imported to AA||F reads blog post on M\'s blog, and embeds the same object in her blog + writes a blog post around it.|
|AAWiki||Digitization/Encoding the interview||AA||Reconsider / adjust themes / retagging||In M\'s archive, F\'s blog post shows up as a new resource (unless explicitly rejected).|
|admin||Annotating the interview (timing + Question/Speaker tags)||AA/Mediawiki||Selection of material (some are dropped / some added)||N reads M\'s blog, and can see link to F\'s blog post (as a kind of pingback to the video).|
|Export to HTML||Exporting to a “QNA” page.||AA / other sources (wikipedia)||Annotation of material (texts / descriptions imported / edited from online sources like Wikipedia)|
|Viewing the QnA application to view videos by questions / speakers||AAWiki||When the program is ready – Guided tour text is written (with links to films)||OR Imagine a simple example: Embedding videos and seeing “webring” like where this video is also playing lists (ipv related videos)...|
|Export to PDF / Export to HTML||Published as paper / online as website|
|Viewers could propose new videos / comments to videos|
Resources that can be added: (via import modules available for interpreting specific sources / kinds of resources / metadata):
Legend: Implemented, Partially implemented, Planned
- Flash playable formats (flv, h264/mp4, mp3)
- OGG (with native audio/video tag support: Firefox, Chrome, and Opera)
- YouTube, Vimeo, Blip
- Images (jpg, png, gif)
- WebM (Google's open source video codec/container)
Non-web media via transcoding / proxy
Many audio, video, and image formats cannot be easily viewed online, because of:
- being in a format that are not directly viewable / embeddable in a web page and/or
- using a bitrate that makes them to heavy to view/work with given the bandwidth of a connection.
AA offers a transcoding module to create/present proxy versions of these resources in formats/bitrates that are browser-friendly.
- Other video formats (mov, avi, ...)
- Other sound formats (wav, ...)
- Other image formats (tiff, pdf, ps ...)
(Structured) Text / Other APIs
- Blank pages
- Apache (directory listings)
- Archipel API
Each resource can have multiple timed annotations. Annotations can be marked up using Textile markup and html. These annotations can be exported to .srt, a 'standard' subtitle format that can be used in most major players.