May 18, 2022

Indiana University’s Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative Begins Project to Digitize/Preserve 12,500 Hours of Film

From Indiana University:

Indiana University holds one of the largest and most diverse collections of motion picture film at any university in the United States. Now, thanks to its continuing partnership with Memnon Archiving Services, a Sony Group Company, many of those films will be preserved for future study and viewing.

Officials with IU’s Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative have announced the initiation of Phase II: the digitization of approximately 25,000 film reels to be completed by 2020, the university’s bicentennial. This represents one of the most ambitious programs of film digitization anywhere in the world.

Phase II will inventory, catalog, digitize, store and provide access to IU’s most important and valuable film holdings. These items comprise 12,500 hours of film. Overall, IU’s extensive film collection numbers over 100,000 items covering a wide range of genres, purposes for which they are used and scholarly disciplines that use them. They come from a diverse range of areas, including:

  • Personal collections of filmmakers and collectors.
  • A large number of educational films that were rented to schools, libraries and colleges across the country from before World War II.
  • Home movies, amateur films, local Indiana advertisements, and commercial films and pre-production elements.


The Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative is now located in the Innovation Center on the IU Bloomington campus. In April 2017, the project had outpaced its own timeline projections, with more than 200,000 priceless audio and video recordings already preserved for future generations of scholars and students.

Preservation-grade copies — whether audio, video or film — are housed in the IU Data Center and made discoverable through the work of experts at IU Libraries, including extensive metadata creation and investigation of relevant copyright considerations. The media will then become digitally accessible, primarily though the IU Library’s Media Collections Online.

“Preservation is the oldest and perhaps most fundamental mission of libraries,” Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries Carolyn Walters said. “We are fortunate to have such excellent partners for this important work. Once digitized and described, sharing these extremely valuable films with researchers becomes, in some cases, possible for the first time. We can pre-empt deterioration and loss while at the same time increase lawful access and impact of the collection.”

Read the Complete IU Announcement

See Also: Indiana University Libraries Will Preserve, Share ‘Lost’ Orson Welles Radio Recordings (May 3, 2016)

See Also: Indiana University to Restore Media Collection (635,000 Sound, Video, Film Recordings)(November 8, 2015)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.