There are two services currently offered by UTEL:

1. Creating an institutional digital archive

2. Providing a service to staff and students to digitise their tapes from various analogue formats to digital (DVD or USB). 

Creating a Digital Archive

One of the priorities within UTEL is the creation of a digital archive of video, audio and photographs. A huge collection of analogue video material is held in the former AV archives and elsewhere in the University, and slowly becoming unusable as new technologies no longer support them. Deteriorating tapes and scarce playback devices led UTEL to begin the process to digitise and convert over +5,000 video tapes in its archive into a digital formats, using restoration processes to preserve quality.

These digital assets are indexed,  catalogued and archived, and published in digital format.

The process has various stages :

1. Cataloguing

With the assistance of the Library, an experienced cataloguer went through the AV tape archive, catalogued and indexed all tapes.  Metadata and keywords were captured where possible.

2. Ingesting and Digitisation

UKZN has several collections that need to be digitised, and UTEL started with materials it produced and the Library Special Collections.  It is now working on the AV and CRD collections, and will continue with photographs from both AV and CRD.  

  • Tapes are put through a cleaning stage to remove mould and dirt, and release any faulty mechanism. 
  • They are then spooled and cleaned again.
  • Playback is performed using professional playback machines via digital timebase correction to ensure stable reference signals.
  • Professional analogue to digital devices are used to digitise materials at the highest possible resolution.
  • Digitised material are put through a process to correct signal levels, colour imbalances and other imperfections before being edited to remove irrelevant sections and to correct audio levels.
  • Files are rendered and exported into a usable format, using the correct aspect ratio.
  • Metadata information is captured and digital assets are tagged.
  • Final assets are stored on UTEL’s digital content server.

3. Publishing and Distribution

Digital copies are made available for client viewing, published through Kaltura MediaSpace after obtaining relevant permissions.  End users can use a search engine to gain easy access and find relevant items using keywords and tags.