January 17, 2022

A Race Against Time to Preserve University Media Collections

From Lindsey McKenzie at Inside Higher Ed:

In 2013, IU [Indiana University] president Michael McRobbie committed $15 million to the MDPI [Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative] to preserve some 325,000 audio and video recordings. Another $12 million was later added so that 25,000 film reels could also be preserved, said Cromwell.

The $27 million project, conducted in partnership with media digitization company Memnon, started in 2015 and is now more than halfway through its work. Cromwell said that MDPI is on track for completion by IU’s centenary in 2020. More than 92 percent of the audio and video collection has been digitized, as well as 19 percent of the film reels.


Many universities have recognized that their materials, “especially magnetic media,” are deteriorating and now at “significant risk,” said Ian Bogus, executive director of the Research Collections and Preservation Consortium. ReCAP was formed by Columbia, Princeton University and the New York Public Library and is the largest off-site library shelving facility in the country. Harvard University is also an associate member.

“There are libraries that aspire to go through all of their AV media systematically, but it is a daunting task,” said Bogus. Which items are most at risk can depend a lot on the temperature and condition in which items are stored.

“It’s not just older materials that are at risk; newer things like CDs, particularly rewritable ones, are a huge problem,” he said.

Read the Complete Article (approx. 1280 words)

See Also: Indiana University Libraries Will Preserve, Share ‘Lost’ Orson Welles Radio Recordings (2016) ||| Listen to Recordings Online

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) 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 Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.