News & events

VIAA archive continues to expand


In November 2016 we were happy to report that the contents of our archive amounted to more than 100.000 hours of audio and video. Together these materials made up 2,6 petabyte. Today the contents of different projects amount to 7,32 petabyte. How did we get there and what the does the composition of the archive look like? Read along.


The past months, the archive has been growing  at high speed and has doubled in size in less than 10 months. We are currently at a peak concerning the inflow of archive materials from several, parallel digitisation projects. On top of that, there are some other projects at the core of this growth as well:

  • The inflow of born digital material: audio or video that originated in digital form but risks becoming unreadable, just like  analogue carriers. VIAA preserves digital born materials for Focus-WTV, the Flemish parliament, VRT and the Province of Antwerp.

  • Digital materials coming from VRT are one of the main sources of the steep growth of the archive. VRT produces about 3 terabyte of audio and video each day, which is archived at VIAA. VRT also has an existing digital archive, consisting of digital born and previously digitised materials. Since mid-2016, VIAA has been copying this archive. This is a fully automatic process and amounts to an inflow of about 10 terabyte a day. We expect to complete this task in the spring of 2018.

  • The DOE!-project of Plantentuin Meise is less substantial in volume, but more challenging when it comes to sheer number of files. As a service provider, VIAA is responsible for the sustainable preservation of more than 1.300.000 scanned images. This project was recently wrapped up successfully.

Current digitisation projects

VIAA has been digitising vulnerable audiovisual materials, such as VHS, wax cylinders and audiocassettes since 2013. That results in a heap of digital files that  are inserted in the VIAA archive. Currently, the most common carrier types are the Betacam SP (44.965), the audiocassette (13.211) and the Betacam SX (13.127). Apart from large, bulky collections, we also digitise smaller and less known carrier types. Think of the 2 inch open reel video, of which we digitised 2 copies. There are seven ongoing digitisation projects.

What is the VIAA archive made up of?

As seen above, the composition of the archive is quite diverse:

  • 52.344 newspapers from the project News of the Great War

  • 721.644 video items

  • 128.312 audio items

  • 1.325.829 digitised plant photos from the herbarium of the Plantentuin Meise