Site menu:





Sharing the Video Metadata Love

by on February 28, 2012

Most archivists, librarians, and digital preservation folks love metadata — and we at the Archives are no exception.  Metadata is the sort of invisible information stored within or alongside a digital copy of something like a cool, older video about a NASA space flight.  Metadata allows us to keep track of things in a detailed way.  It will help us make preservation decisions in the future, and makes for a better search experience for researchers.  So we care about how it is entered and stored and how we can view it.











The National Archives digitization team along with contractors AudioVisual Preservation Solutions(AVPS) and members of the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative (FADGI) have developed resources related to metadata for digitized videos. We are excited to share them with the community of archives, libraries, galleries, and museums.  We hope they will find them useful and that other teams in the digital preservation field will continue to enhance the tools.

MediaInfo and AVI MetaEdit  are available for free download on NARA’s GitHub site while reVTMD is available for free download on

Why did we develop these resources?  Well, our staff has been “reformatting” or digitizing a good number of archival videos that are on tape and creating digital copies of them.  We wanted to be able to capture information (metadata) about the original video format like the make and model of playback and capture equipment.  Our team was also interested in how we could pull this embedded metadata back out of the digital files so we could compare or edit the metadata for numerous files at once.

What do the resources do?  The first, AVI MetaEdit, inserts essential metadata into selected video files such as information about how the file was made. The second, called reVTMD, is structure to organize important  technical information, such as how big the image is or how fast it should be playing, in a reusable XML format. Finally, reVTMD is now incorporated into an existing open source tool called MediaInfo. This new functionality allows you to view and export metadata from a wide variety of video files into the reVTMD organizational structure.

If you have any feedback, questions, or ideas related to the tools, or you build on their capabilities, we’d love to hear from you here on the blog, on our GitHub site, or at



John Keller February 29, 2012 at 9:48 am

Hi, We are digitizing analog video here at the Clinton Library on our digital video workstation. We would love to learn more about this AVI Meta Edit. It’s not clear from this blog how we go about downloading the correct files. We normally need our FOSA who is authorized to download software with IT approval to get any software on our workstations. In addition our digital video workstation is not on NARANet.

Kate March 1, 2012 at 11:38 am

Hi John,

We’ll add some more background information to help you and others better understand the install options. The file names describe the options. Basically, you need to decided if you want the Mac or Windows version. Then, 32 or 64 bit versions depending on your operating system. Finally, if you want the command line version (CLI) or with a built in installer (GUI). You may need to check with your FOSA before installing anything on NARAnet machines. For your production network, you can download to a jump drive and install it from there. IDS has the same setup and that’s what we do (following whatever permission protocols you have set up of course). Please contact me directly if you need more help or have questions. We are excited for Clinton to try the tools!

Subscribe to Email Updates