Check-out my new article in Code4Lib Journal: Unix Commands and Batch Processing for the Reluctant Librarian or Archivist.
The Unix environment offers librarians and archivists high-quality tools for quickly transforming born-digital and digitized assets, such as resizing videos, creating access copies of digitized photos, and making fair-use reproductions of audio recordings. These tools, such as ffmpeg, lame, sox, and ImageMagick, can apply one or more manipulations to digital assets without the need to manually process individual items, which can be error prone, time consuming, and tedious. This article will provide information on getting started in using the Unix environment to take advantage of these tools for batch processing.
Update May 5, 2014: I am also teaching a workshop on this same topic at Metro NY Library Council – feel free to take it.