Last week, the Open Media Foundation and the Internet Archive announced a significant development in the Open Media Project, the open-source effort designed to enable more community participation and control over community media organizations. The Internet Archive Drupal Module, which was the final deliverable in OMF’s 2008 Knight News Challenge grant, was improved to provide complete, automated encoding for any participating Community TV station.

Denver Open Media, the Public Access TV station managed by OMF, has moved all web-based Video-On-Demand (VOD) to Archive.org, leveraging Archive.org’s bandwidth for all video on the denveropenmedia.org website. DOM also turned-off their automated video encoding system, now sending raw files to Archive.org, where web-ready mp4 and ogg files are generated, in addition to a broadcast-quality Mpeg2. That file is then transferred back to DOM, where the files are played back on DOM’s three cable TV stations, working seamlessly with broadcast servers from both TelVue and Tightrope Media Systems.

“It’s a great example of nonprofit partnerships”, said Brian Hiatt, OMF’s Director of Technology. “Utilizing this open-source software in combination with Archive.org, any community media station can eliminate internal encoding and VOD solutions” Hiatt said. The service is free, and while initial setup of the open-source OMP tools generally requires the support of expert Drupal developers, Hiatt added that “these costs are partially off-set by the savings realized in reduced staff workload, lower bandwidth & storage needs, and avoiding proprietary software and hardware encoding solutions.”

“The Internet Archive is dedicated to preserving and serving all media and culture in digital form. Therefore, we ally strongly with the missions especially of PEG media and communities since they have some of the most culturally valuable and interesting programming in the world,” said Brewster Kahle, Founder of the Internet Archive.  

“The long-term vision of the Open Media Project focuses on establishing a true network of PEG stations that can share the top-rated content across thousands of community media stations across the globe,” explained Tony Shawcross, OMF’s Executive Director. “Each community media website can serve as a portal, not only to local content, but also to a second-tier of content from hundreds or perhaps thousands of Access stations. Thanks to this collaboration between Archive.org and OMF, this vision is now possible,” Shawcross said.

Stations interested in participating must have the open-source Drupal module installed, and are required to follow shared metadata structures and creative commons licensing that enable automated sharing. At present, only three stations have committed to taking this approach, but OMF and Archive.org plan to continue improving the tools in the hopes that more community media organizations will participate.  While some dotcoms might come and go, we plan to have the content we store and value archived forever, like a ‘forever library’,” added Tracey Jaquith, Web Engineer for the Internet Archive.

About the Internet Archive:

The Internet Archive is a 501©(3) non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library. Its purposes include offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format. Founded in 1996 and located in San Francisco, the Archive includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages, and provides specialized services for adaptive reading and information access for the blind and other persons with disabilities.

About the Open Media Foundation:

The Open Media Foundation (OMF) is an innovative media and technology nonprofit organization dedicated to putting the power of the media in the hands of the people, enabling everyone to engage in their community and bring about the change they wish to see in the world. OMF provides affordable, high-end media and technology services, as well as training and tools to enable everyone to represent their own voice in the media conversation.