News & events

VIAA archive grew by almost one million items in 2018


Just as in previous years, the volume of material stored at VIAA increased dramatically in 2018: we expanded from 8 PB to 10.5 PB. The influx of such large quantities of material in 2018 is the result of lots of hard work: from registration by our content partners, via various suppliers’ digitisation projects, to the ultimately successful archiving at VIAA. Every item is closely monitored until it arrives securely in the archive. We use several graphs in this article to provide an insight into this growth.

The graph below illustrates this growth with the volume of archived TB per month.

This graph shows that the VIAA archive grew by 2.5 PB in 2018. An important contributory factor to this growth was finalising the import from the existing VRT archive, totalling 240 TB from January to March. And we also archived material from our own digitisation projects, of course. This means that importing items from digitisation projects (particularly VHS, film and Betacam) equated to around 100 TB per month throughout the whole year on average. New material from VRT is also being stored in the VIAA archive every day, resulting in a similar volume of 100 TB per month.

Shift to digital influx

A significant share of the growth in 2018 came from the introduction of existing digital collections into the archive. This is clearly illustrated when we look at the growth in number of items per month instead of terabytes:

The above graph shows how the growth in number of items largely comes from the digital influx. In addition to the growth from the VRT archive, projects such as the one run by the Industry Museum, the k.ERF Cultural Heritage Body newspaper collection and the daily influx from Focus-WTV also made significant contributions here.

At the end of 2018, we had 3,628,642 items in the archive. You can see the distribution of these items below.

Distribution of types of items in the archive, status at the end of 2018
Distribution of types of items in the archive, status at the end of 2018

Note: 'Images' refers to the scans of Plantentuin Meise that are kept by VIAA as a paying service.

Producing graphs like this used to take lots of time and effort. Digitisation and archiving involve a combination of complex processes: the various items need to be monitored very closely to prevent files being lost in the logistic chain, faults with the digitisation, or the digital end product not being archived correctly. A combination of reports, which we call end-to-end reporting – literally: from one end, the physical archive, to the other end, the digital archive – mean we can detect and correct any faults, and produce reports on our archived content, more easily.