About Media Preservation at IU Bloomington

By virtue of a singular history guided by the late IU President and University Chancellor Herman B Wells, the Bloomington campus of Indiana University possesses unusually rich special collections. Particularly vulnerable are collections of unique or rare time-based media--audio, video, and film--held by a number of archives, libraries, and other units on campus. Many of these units have achieved national and international prominence from these holdings.

The 2008-09 IU Bloomington Media Preservation Survey identified more than 560,000 audio and video recordings and reels of motion picture film owned by Indiana University and stored on its Bloomington campus. The subsequent report, published in August of 2009, demonstrated that large portions of these holdings are seriously endangered due to degradation of the media and format obsolescence. It is now widely recognized that audio and video holdings must be digitally preserved within an estimated 15- to 20-year time window if they are to be available to future generations of researchers. Many campus holdings are highly significant for research, documenting subjects of enduring value to the university, the state of Indiana, the United States, and the world.

To address the challenges laid out in the survey report, the IU Bloomington Provost appointed a Media Preservation Initiative Task Force and initiated a year-long preservation and access planning process. This effort was funded by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, University Information Technology Services, the IU Libraries, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Office of the Provost. This planning process resulted in Meeting the Challenge of Media Preservation: Strategies and Solutions, a report published in September 2011. This report details

  • preservation principles to guide campus work,
  • factors that impact the decision to build in-house digitization capabilities or outsource,
  • a build plan for a central digitization facility named the Indiana Media Preservation and Access Center,
  • the "Indiana Approach" to audio and video digitization,
  • strategies for film preservation and access,
  • a process for prioritizing campus media holdings for preservation treatment,
  • access principles to guide campus work,
  • existing applicable technological infrastructure along with gaps and future needs,
  • preservation pilot projects to test technical choices and validate workflows.

The Task Force has now embarked on its second year of planning and is also working to enact the recommendations of the 2011 report. This includes a start-up pilot project that leverages existing campus resources to beign the work of preserving and conserving audio, video, and film collections. You may follow our progress on our forthcoming blog.

Media Collection Examples


ARCHIVES OF AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSIC AND CULTURE
Unique recordings documenting African American musical idioms

ARCHIVES OF TRADITIONAL MUSIC
Unique recordings of music and languages from around the world

IU BLOOMINGTON LIBRARIES

  • WILLIAM AND GAYLE COOK MUSIC LIBRARY
    Unique recordings of faculty and student recitals and concert events
  • LILLY LIBRARY
    Primary audiovisual research material in film and television
  • LIBRARIES HISTORICAL EDUCATIONAL FILM COLLECTION
    One of the largest educational film collections in the country
  • UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES
    Unique recordings documenting Indiana University events, faculty, leaders, student organizations, and others

RADIO AND TELEVISION SERVICES
Local and regional public radio and television programming, unique recordings of world renowned classical musicians