Tropix Digitalization Center of Excellence

Our Mission is to help our clients rescue past memories, so they can enjoy them, share them and save them for future generations.

Through the use of highly-advanced systems and technology, coupled with the vintage machines needed to play back vinyl records, 8mm and 16mm film, audio and videocassettes or the scanners needed to digitize photographs, posters and documents, we can provide our clients with the full range of services they will need to rescue, preserve, disseminate and/or commercialize their archival treasures.

At our Tropix Digitalization Center of Excellence, we provide digitalization services primarily for large scale audiovisual and photograph archives held by television and radio station networks (such as our current project digitalizing the entire radio and television archives of Cuba), museums, institutes and libraries. However, we also take great pride in offering our digitalization services for important archival material held in private collections.

To learn more about our Digitalization Center of Excellence, the Digitalization Process or our Digitalization Team Members, please see below.

Digitalization Center

In 2020, we completed the installation of the first phase of our new state of the art Digitalization Center of Excellence in Habana, Cuba. We also completed the recruitment and training of our highly- skilled work force of over 60 employees, including software engineers, systems analysts, technicians, operators, metadata specialists, quality control personnel, supervisors and general management. During this first phase, we expect to be able to digitalize over ___ hours of archival material per week (___ hours per month). In the second phase, we will install the remaining digitalization equipment that we have purchased and currently have in storage pending the availability of additional space. When installation is completed, we would expect to be able to digitalize over ______hours of archival material per week (_____ hours per month).


Our Digitalization Center features a wide range of high quality vintage machines so that we can playback a client’s analog content regardless of the format, i.e. VHS or Betamax formats, vinyl records, etc. We have also developed and tested our own proprietary software and systems to perform the accessioning functions, automate the entire digitalization work flow process, and store, search and retrieve digital content from our proprietary Media Asset Management System that includes a metadata module customized for Cuba and Cuban content.


Our Digitalization Center of Excellence is located at ( exact address), in the beautiful neighborhood of Miramar, Habana.

Steps in the Digitalization Process

Our Key Digitalization Team Members

Accessioning

Our process starts by our conducting an inventory of the physical assets to be digitized and a detailed evaluation of the condition of each asset using over 35 criteria. This process includes photographing the physical assets and their containers, and recording all written information associated with that asset. At the end of the process a barcode is affixed to the asset and its container and all information and data are stored in Tropix ‘s proprietary AMS+ DATABASE System. The barcode includes a GPS locator so we can keep track of the asset at all times.

Through accessioning, we are able to gain a preview of the type and condition of each asset before it arrives at the Digitalization Center. In that way, we can efficiently determine how each asset needs to be remediated prior to digitalization.

Archival Material Preparation

Each physical archival asset that arrives at the Digitalization Center must be specially prepared or treated prior to digitization so as to ensure the best possible outcome of the digitization process. In many cases, our work may require using special solvents to remove mold, or baking the asset in a specialized oven for multiple days in order to separate a roll of audio or video tape that has become fused, or to deal with “vinegar syndrome.”Preparation might also include repairing damaged or broken tapes, reducing scratches on phonograph records, removing spots on old photographs, and much more.

Digitization

Digitization is the process of converting analog wave forms to digital signals that can be read and processed by computers. In order to digitalize a physical asset, like a videotape or a phonograph record that produces sound and images through analog waves, you first need to start with a vintage machine that can playback the content stored on an analog medium. For example, to digitize a songs from a records you need to have a record player that can play records recorded at 78, 33 or 45 rpms. The problem is that these vintage machines are obsolete and hard to find in good working condition and of a
quality suitable for the digitization process. We at Tropix are proud of having painstakingly acquired hundreds of these vintage machines in all of their different formats so that we can playback the widest variety of analog content that Cuba has produced over the years.

Once we can get clear clean waves forms from the vintage machine, those waves go into a high resolution digital converter that transforms the analog waves into a digital signals stored in a digital file. At this point the content has been digitized. Specialists must then perform Quality Control tests to ensure that the signals from the digital files faithfully represent the wave forms from the original analog content.

Metadata Entry

The digitized files are then sent to our searchable media storage database, known as a Media Asset Manager (MAM), where trained metadata specialists view the content in real time and create a synopsis of the content and add as many descriptive keywords and identifiers as possible to enable different kinds of researchers to find that particular content in a search. In our customized metadata module we have created a variety of tools and shortcuts to enable our metadata specialists to efficiently apply key words to content, such as location data, potential items of interest that might be missed, and prompts to relate content to emotional cues, or contemporaneous historic events.

Carefully prepared Metadata thoroughly checked by our Metadata Quality Control Specialists, prevents valuable digitized archival material from being lost forever in some massive media storage database because of misspellings or the failure to include certain keywords in the digital files.

Once the Metadata has been attached to the new digital file, the file is complete. At this stage the client has multiple options available regarding what he may wish to do with his newly digitized content. Chart 5A and 5B present two of such options.

Client Retains Files

If the client selects this option, Tropix will arrange to return all of the client’s original archival material, together with the corresponding digital files containing the newly digitalized content enriched with metadata. We can make the digital files available in any format that the client prefers. The client may also elect to have a backup copy of the digital file maintained by Tropix in one or more of its long term digital storage servers.

Dissemination; Commercialization

If the client selects this option, Tropix will arrange to return all of the client’s original archival material, together with the corresponding digital files containing the newly digitalized content enriched with metadata. We can make the digital files available in any format that the client prefers. However, in this case, by prior written agreement with Tropix, the client would leave a copy of the digital file in Tropix’s Media Asset Management System” and specifically authorize Tropix to license, sell or otherwise
disseminate, or provide global access to, the client’s digitalized content for purposes of generating and sharing with Tropix the net revenues derived from the commercialization of such content.