Preserving the Colorado General Assembly’s Sessions II

Preserving the Colorado General Assembly’s Sessions II

Challenges of the Freedom System Manager (FSM)

We are currently wrapping up the first phase of the project, which encompasses converting all viable recordings from the compressed codec to WAV PCM. Part of this process included creating an inventory of all recordings with associated metadata. Our initial hope was to pull all FSM metadata via an API. We were unfortunate to discover that FSM does not have an API, which meant going with Plan B. Plan B was a 3 step process of capturing a screenshot of the FSM recording display, importing the screenshot to a PDF, and finally exporting the PDF to Excel. This process was not the most effective in terms of data integrity as digital artifacts are potentially added during each step of Plan B. As such, the last step of this process was to conduct data cleanup in Excel to ensure artifacts were removed. While Plan B is adequate for our initial inventory, we are interested in developing a means for extracting the raw metadata from FSM.

Our team of archivists, while very comfortable with current digital technologies, lack the programming expertise to develop a solution on our own. We are investigating a partnership with Colorado State IT to develop a solution to extract the FSM raw metadata. We are encouraged as they have experience working with FSM as they previously developed a patch that allows the software to run on Windows 7 as opposed to the original operating system of Windows XP.

It is our hope that this collaboration will result in more direct access to the legislative recording metadata. In the next phase of the project we will ingest the FSM audio recordings and associated metadata into our content management system, Re:discovery. During this phase of the project we will investigate integrating a web accessible discovery layer to Re:discovery to aid and improve public access to the legislative audio content. This phase of the project is slated to wrap up in the summer of 2018, at which point the Colorado General Assembly’s 2002-2012 audio recordings will all be accessible online.

A version of this post appears as an article in the Society of American Archivists Recorded Sound Section Summer 2017 Newsletter. It was written by Eamon Smallwood and may be viewed: Here