Dublin’s IFI beat off competition from White House and UK’s House of Parliament to win Digital Preservation Coalition Awards.

The ground-breaking innovation of the Irish Film Institute, Ireland’s national cultural institution for film, has been rewarded as its Archive team beats out competition from the White House Historical Association Digital Library and the UK’s House of Parliament Archives to win a prestigious prize at the international Digital Preservation Coalition Awards, held last week in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The award was presented to the IFI Irish Film Archive for its pioneering work on the IFI Loopline Project. The project, co-funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) and The Ireland Funds, focuses on cataloging and preserving the collection of Loopline Films, an Irish production company whose materials provide an unparalleled record of Irish history and culture from the 1990s to the present day, a period which has seen a number of seismic social and economic changes.

The collection, which will be free-to-view worldwide via the IFI Player from early 2019, also includes interviews with legendary cultural figures such as Martin Scorsese, Margaret Atwood, and Peter Bogdanovich.

The project required the creation of new custom tools, including a computer program that allowed the IFI Irish Film Archive to automatically identify where there were multiple copies of the same file, partial files, and fragments, and devising a way to appraise the 350,000 objects concerned, impossible otherwise.

These open source tools, known as the IFIScripts, have been shared widely with the preservation community worldwide and have been adopted by a number of institutions globally including the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University, and the University of South Texas.

Commenting on the prize, Ross Keane, Director of the Irish Film Institute, commented, 'We are delighted with this huge recognition of the work by the IFI Irish Film Archive. Over the last number of years, we have undertaken pioneering work in digital preservation, and are honored to receive this international award and global recognition for the immense contributions we have made to the digital preservation community worldwide.'

Over 2,000 hours of content is available on the IFI Player including newsreels, animation, home movies, travelogues, feature films, public information films, advertisements, and documentaries. The content on the IFI Player documents the fascinating evolution of Irish society and culture over the past century and reflects all aspects of indigenous amateur and professional production. Materials can be viewed for free worldwide on the IFI’s online platform, the IFI Player, and via the free IFI Player suite of apps available to download from Google Play, the App store, Amazon TV, Android TV, and Roku.

For more visit ifi.ie

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Here is a 2017 advert for the IFI Archives, starring Saoirse Ronan: