IP-Based Satellite Infrastructure for Access of PIA’s AV Collection
Belina SB Capul
Philippine Information Agency
My presentation this morning will discuss the VSAT-based Satellite
Transmission Network of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) and how this digital
infrastructure is changing the landscape of AV archiving in the Agency.
This session will be divided into three parts. The first part will be a short
background on the Philippine Information Agency and how AV archiving is being carried
out in the Agency. Part II will then describe the Transmission Network, how it is
enhancing the Agency’s mandate and the eventual access to the Agency’s AV collection.
The latter part of the presentation will be on the issues and concerns confronting the
archive under this new set-up.
The Philippine Information Agency and its AV Archive
The Philippine Information Agency (PIA) is the major information arm of
the Philippine government. It is mandated to provide timely and relevant information to
the public to aid them in decision-making that will help improve the quality of their lives.
To carry out this task, PIA documents events, people and places, and packages and
produces materials in various formats that are appropriate to the different target audiences
nationwide. These materials are disseminated through the various PIA regional offices,
the print and broadcast facilities of sister agencies in government as well as through
linkages with the private networks.
In 1999, the Philippine government established the Philippine
Administrative Network Project ( PANP), under the Philippine-French Protocol Financial
Arrangement. This provides for the IP-based Satellite Infrastructure of PIA designed to
augment and integrate the government public information network for the dissemination
of news, information and programs to the general public.
The Agency’s AV Archive consists of PIA’s production outputs on film,
video, audio media format which are usually rare and considered to be of historical,
cultural, political and social significance. As such they represent the Agency’s and the
nation’s collective memories.
The working and edited materials used in production are kept by the
different PIA Units in their respective libraries using their own system of cataloguing and
storage. On request, these are made available to PIA and other institutions for research,
production and information dissemination purposes.
Last year, the Agency created the Management Information Systems
Division (MISD) and integrated the function of managing the multi-media collection of
the Agency (films, video, audio tapes, texts) into this division.
The MISD serves as the Agency’s central information resource center
servicing the management and the general public’s information requirements using
information and communication technology ( ICT) in providing access to information
within the Agency and the general public. With this development, the AV Archives
becomes an integral part of IT-based services..
IP-based Satellite Infrastructure
The PIA, together with the Philippine Broadcasting Service (PBS), the
government-owned radio broadcast network, and the Philippines News Agency (PNA),
the government-owned news wire agency, comprise the government information and
communication network running on the ICT infrastructure of the Philippine
Administrative Network (PANP).
The PANP is a Satellite Network fully compliant with Internet Protocol
(IP) standards. It carries simultaneous transmission of data, voice, broadcast and video
signals utilizing Multi-Frequency-Time Division Multiple Access (MF-TDMA )
technology. The network is running on C-band and at present uses 6 MHZ of satellite
transponder space from Mabuhay Philippine Satellite Corp. (MPSC), a Filipino-owned
regional satellite service provider.
PANP has a star topology network wherein the central hub is located in
the Central PIA office in Quezon City, and the secondary hub is located in Malacanang,
Manila. A total of 28 Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) remote earth stations are
geographically distributed nationwide.
The PBS nationwide hook-up broadcasting and Internet audio-streaming
system rides on this infrastructure as well as the PNAs nationwide data gathering and
PIA as the lead agency utilizes the PANP infrastructure for its 24x7 public
call center operations under Project GAWIN 1345, central PABX telephony system, Web
Services and other Intranet / Internet applications, online system for nationwide news and
situationer monitoring and reporting by PIA regional and provincial information centers.
For its newly-formed Management Information System Division (MISD),
the PANP serves as the LAN/WAN platform for the various Information Systems being
developed and the resulting Databases that will eventually be managed.
One of the Information Systems that will be developed is the Library and
AV Archiving System (LAVAS), which will be integrated into the flagship Information
System -- the Enterprise Content Management System (ECMS).
This will involve a complete cycle of digitization process, starting from
selecting the appropriate format and digital storage, designing an automatic indexing,
documentation and retrieval system, creation of a meta database, preservation and
eventually providing access via an in-place distribution system such the PANP
A parallel development is proposed on the PANP expansion to prepare for
the additional bandwidth requirements of the various Information Systems under
development. More VSAT earth stations spread nationwide would provide a wider
platform of distribution and greater accessibility for the users. And the application of an
IP-based Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) and video confererencing technology would
guarantee a seamless integration from end-to-end.
Integration of AV Archiving with IT
Enhanced Access to PIA Collection
Presently, all the materials that come from the different offices are being
catalogued using a prescribed standard under the Arkibo Information System -- a system
developed by colleagues in the profession for managing AV collections. The Catalogues
are now being computerized which will then be made available to the public through the
Internet. Browsing files will be created for viewing or selection purposes. The collections
will be digitized according to priority and will be stored in a digital mass storage system
(DMSS) which would have the capability of lossless and automatic migration to new
digital format. Files of high resolution quality could then be made accessible through the
archive server These files could be selectively shared within the network depending on
the access policy of the archive and on copyright. External users who may wish to view
in full or secure a copy of the material itself will have to make arrangements with the
Unlike before when access was limited to those who would visit the
archive one at a time, access to the PIA AV Collection under the new set-up would now
be multiple, simultaneous and as remote as possible for as long as one is connected to the
network. This is not to mention, access to files of high resolution quality.
Issues and Concerns
There are a number of issues that need to be addressed to enable the
traditional AV archivists to maximize the opportunities and respond to challenges posed
by the new information technology in ensuring the continued survival and accessibility of
1. There is lack of awareness on the new role of the archivists under the
new set-up and many did not have the knowledge and skills to confidently handle a
computer. So much so that many expressed the desire to go on early retirement for fear
that they would not be able to handle the job.
Since there are technical staff in MISD to handle the techniques, the
archivist should be able to guide the technical staff in terms of content perspective in the
development of the appropriate information system. For example: To be able to
communicate with the IT staff and be in a position to evaluate proposed solutions for AV
archiving vis-a vis rapid hardware and software obsolescence , the archivist would need
a working knowledge on IT including concepts on scalability, interoperability etc..
2. The need to ensure a minimum level of appreciation and political
commitment for program stability. Maintaining this kind of infrastructure is resource
intensive and therefore would require the full support of heads of government in the
information sector at all time. The rapid changes in the appointments of government
officials at the information ministry had affected the progress of the project at some
Some Strategy for Preservation and Access
To address the issues and concerns, PIA intends to pursue the following
1. Reorientation Briefings / Training and Continuing Education for AV
Archivists and Internal Users
With the shift from the analogue to the digital domain, there is a need
to reorient archive staff on the new scenario, roles and tools to work with in
the digital environment. Linkages with the National Computer Institute has
been established through a MOA to provide skills training on computer
operation and internet literacy, other IT courses, as well as participation in
briefings and orientations on digital technology.
2. Regular promotion of the program among the heads of the agency and the
office/ministry it belongs to in order to raise the profile of the program and
level of appreciation and commitment among government officials;
3. Although the digital domain will be preserving primarily the content of the
collection more than the carrier , the Archive will still preserve and hold on to
AV materials on legacy format until practicable. Because of the new media’s
fragility, there might be a need to go back to the original source when
something untoward happens to the files.
4. The new digital technology offers opportunities for publicizing and expanding
access to PIA’s AV archives. With greater collaboration among IT
professionals and AV archivists, new practical ways can be developed to
multiply the usefulness of these archives.
5. The ongoing design and development of MISD Information Systems relating
to PIA’s AV archives affords us the opportunity to “embed” into the Systems
Design itself the relevant body of knowledge and professional standards of an
archivist. This will allow the automatic capture of relevant archive
information from beginning to end of the life cycle of an AV material.