Netia CMS Plays Big Part in Archival Project

The Netia User Interface
LIÉGE, BELGIUM—Sonuma is a publicly funded subsidiary of Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF), the Walloon region of Belgium, and the FWB (Federation Wallonie-Bruxelles), with a goal to archive, preserve, and protect francophone audiovisual content. We are dedicated to the digitization, preservation and commercialization of the rich diversity of assets within the RTBF archives (among others), an audio and video collection that comprises more than 120,000 hours of content on all variety of media, including VCR tape, DAT tape, LP, MD, and 16 mm film.

We began our work on the Sonuma project in the spring of 2009. To manage digitization of the tens of thousands of hours of RTBF archive content, we implemented the Netia content management system (CMS). We chose to work with Netia, not only because the company has a long history in audio production and management, but also because the company's suite of media asset management solutions is highly focused on handling documentary content and metadata appropriately, and it offers convenient tools for preserving and enriching these audio and video assets.


Integrating seamlessly into our existing environment, the Netia CMS has enabled us to leverage previous technology investments to realize a highly automated workflow from ingest through delivery. The system simplifies the task of preserving, managing, and accessing content within our rapidly growing digital library. The Sonuma library, in turn, supports hundreds of journalists from RTBF and other media outlets, allowing them to order and import content, facilitating and automating the delivery of archived media to RTBF.

When digitizing RTBF content, we use an internally developed process for consolidating metadata from various metadata sources and formats, along with metadata collected through segmentation.

Both metadata and media—high-resolution and a low-resolution proxy created via a Carbon Coder transcoder—are ingested into the Netia system, where search tools and a powerful Thesaurus subsequently aid archivists in performing fast searches of stored content. The archive itself is a StorageTek SL3000 from Oracle, with hierarchical storage management duties performed by a SAM-QFS file-system.


In managing this workflow, the Netia CMS organizes media management processes, harmonizes exchanges between different applications, handles prioritization across the system, and automates content distribution processes. The system brings efficiency to content delivery, as well supplying tools for content packaging, metadata tagging, and rights management, with workflow-supervision guiding these processes. As a result, RTBF journalists, directors, and producers can all gain access to archived RTBF media via their DaletNews news and production system, as well as other archiving applications conceived by RTBF. And potentially in the future, our archivists will be able to make media available to the public via the Sonuma Website.

The volume of content within the Sonuma archive grows steadily, and effective and highly automated media management workflows are essential to our ability to share this unique content. As we move forward, the power, flexibility, and scalability of the Netia CMS will be essential to the maintenance and expansion of what has already become a valuable large-scale operation.

Eric Denis is IT manager at Sonuma. He may be contacted at

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