Military-Grade Awesome

Archiving History

AF Archive March ARB

Towering over a man are the US Air Force archives at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, CA. Volumes upon volumes of film are stored at the Defense Imagery Management Operation Center. Soon, that film will be available to everyone via the series of tubes we call the innerwebs.

Sitting in a plain white room, Steve Gunby of T3Media watches seven video feeds stream by. Converted in real time by a system called SAMMA (System for Automated Migration of Media Archives), Gunby’s job is to keep an eye on things plus be able to enter information into the database for each video. That database will then allow users to search for videos containing, say, Elvis Presley.

It’s an incredible undertaking — one that will take at least 5 years to catalog the some 550,000 films. It’s also an important undertaking. Film degrades over time, so digitizing these treasures of our nation’s history makes it a worthwhile endeavor.

Ed. Hat tip to Batshitbox for sending in the article from the Riverside Press-Enterprise about this effort. Thanks!

[Image Credit: Terry Pierson/Press Enterprise]

  • I sure hope Mr. Gunby is compiling a blooper reel. There's got to be an hour or two's worth of Mil Spec Comedy Gold in there.

    • Tiller188

      Agreed, and hopefully complete with wonderfully dry, classic-documentary narration.

      <Scratchy, AM-radio-ish Transatlantic accent>

      "Sadly, despite promising initial concept studies, the bat-delivered incendiary bomb program had its share of setbacks, including an unfortunate incident wherein they took roost under a fuel tank at Carlsbad Army Airfield Base. The program was discontinued before the bat-bombs ever saw combat deployment."

      (I actually didn't know about the Carlsbad base mishap until now…unfortunate way to prove the method works!)

      • Right! Someone who could match the earnest bamboozle of the Jam Handy reels made for GM.

  • cruisintime

    Archives that will never be referenced.
    A trillion bits of nothing.
    All is saved , but never seen again after that.

    • "Oblivion, n. The state or condition in which the wicked cease from struggling and the dreary are at rest. Fame's eternal dumping ground. Cold storage for high hopes. A place where ambitious authors meet their works without pride and their betters without envy. A dormitory without an alarm clock." Bierce, 1911.

      • cruisintime

        I read your book and seem interested,but it is an act.