A tidbit I learned participating in the event
One of the things I learned participating in the event

Information for this

list of free or low-cost tools and resources for video activists

is curated from those participating in our Live Video Archive Help – #AskMeAnything on Facebook.

Yvonne Ng, Senior Archivist at WITNESS, is hosting the event. Several of her questions motivated archivists to share the tools, resources, systems and video software that they have used or researched for archiving. We received a good array of responses, now compiled in this post.

You have until Friday to catch Yvonne live in the event to ask questions or share your knowledge of archiving.

Tools for Specific Purposes

Fixity is a free, open source application that can support organizations or individuals by providing automated review, documentation and reporting on the integrity and attendance of stored files.

MediaInfo is a convenient unified display of the most relevant technical and tag data for video and audio files.

The AVCC Cataloging Toolkit is a set of guidelines and forms to help organizations catalog their audio, video, and film collections quickly and efficiently with the goal of creating a minimal dataset that will help uncover hidden collections and assist in preservation planning.

ExifTool is a platform-independent Perl library plus a command-line application for reading, writing and editing meta information in a wide variety of files.

md5deep is a set of programs to compute MD5, SHA-1, SHA-256, Tiger, or Whirlpool message digests on an arbitrary number of files.

Cost of Inaction Calculator is a free online tool that helps organizations analyze the implications of varying levels of preservation actions when dealing legacy audiovisual collections. COI adds a new data point to ROI and helps articulate what stands to be lost or gained in terms of access, intellect and finances based on different scenarios.

Video Players / Converters

ffmpeg – a complete, cross-platform solution to record, convert and stream audio and video.

VLC player is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols.

Mplayer is a free software and open source media player.

Mpeg Streamclip is a free video converter, player, and editor.


Archivematica is a free and open-source digital preservation system that is designed to maintain standards-based, long-term access to collections of digital objects. Archivematica is packaged with the web-based content management system AtoM for access to your digital objects.

ResourceSpace open source digital asset management software is the simple, fast, & free way to organise your digital assets.

CollectiveAccess is software for describing all manner of things, and allows you to create catalogues that closely conform to your needs without custom programming.


NDSA Levels of Preservation are a tiered set of recommendations for how organizations should begin to build or enhance their digital preservation activities.

Digital Asset Management (DAM) is a term that was mentioned in one of the chats.

Storage Suggestions

What Hard Drive Should I Buy?

Drobo – BeyondRaid leaves the limitations of traditional RAID behind while unifying simplicity, enhanced protection, reliability, and unparalleled expandability. BeyondRAID will change everything you know about traditional data storage.

3 thoughts on “List of Free or Low-cost Tools and Resources for Video Activists

  1. Check out basic JBOD enclosure (SanDisk, OWC, Promise) for data storage. The Drobo is great, but its method of storing data is proprietary, so if the device fails, you can’t retrieve your data without another Drobo device to read it. The Drobo does use standard hard drives, so you’d think that you can just remove them and retrieve your data, but the special sauce that makes Drobo so useful and quick can also keep your data from you.

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