May 21, 2022

University of Calgary Awarded $1.5M Mellon Foundation For Research Into Media Preservation

From the University of Calgary:

The University of Calgary has received a US$1,499,960 (C$1,967,391) grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a three-year media migration and digitization project focusing on the EMI Music Canada Archive, entitled Renewing Access to Culturally Significant Audiovisual Recordings.

The EMI Music Canada Archive, a donation to the university from Universal Music Canada, consists of approximately 5,500 boxes documenting the complete history of EMI Music Canada and associated music labels from 1949 to 2012. Included are over 40,0000 audio and video recordings in more than 40 different formats, ranging from master recordings and production masters to rare demo tapes.


EMI Music Canada was the record label that represented many of the top artists of the second half of the 20th century, recording or distributing work by a range of Canadian artists and major international acts. Capitol Records Canada, under EMI Music Canada, was the first label to release The Beatles and Pink Floyd in North America.

“The EMI Music Canada Archive is one of the most culturally significant collections of the last century to be acquired by a research library,” explained Vice-Provost and University Librarian Tom Hickerson, principal investigator of the project. “It’s tremendously exciting that now this cultural treasure will be digitized and made accessible.”

Last year, a planning project — also supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation — identified requirements critical to the development of digital migration and preservation management. Libraries and Cultural Resources created a reformatting lab in the Taylor Family Digital Library to initiate this research.

“The technological challenges are complex, but at the conclusion of this project, all of the EMI Music Canada audio recordings and a substantial portion of video recordings will be converted — extending their accessibility into the future,” said Annie Murray, associate university librarian for Archives and Special Collections and project co-investigator.

“Because the scale of the conversion and preservation problem is massive, and because much of the audiovisual record is commercially produced, it is essential for libraries and archives to form productive partnerships, especially with commercial recording companies,” said Donald J. Waters, senior program officer at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Read the Complete Announcement

*** Search and Browse EMI Music Collection ***

See Also: Learn More in this Backgrounder from U. of Calgary (2 pages; PDF)

See Also:U of Calgary’s New EMI Music Archive is a Treasure Trove of Canadian Music History (June 25, 2016)

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.