Indiana University Bloomington

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Indiana University Bloomington is home to at least 3 million sound and moving image recordings, photos, documents, and artifacts. Well over half a million of these special holdings are part of audio, video, and film collections, and a large number of them are one of a kind. Indiana University Bloomington has organized a comprehensive effort to preserve its vast audio, video, and film holdings, the Media Preservation Initiative.

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.

Media Preservation  Initiative ReportTo 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.

The Task Force has now embarked on its third year of planning and is working to enact the recommendations of the 2011 report. This includes a start-up pilot project that leverages existing campus resources to begin the work of preserving and conserving audio, video, and film collections. Representatives from the Archives of Traditional Music along with other media-holding units on campus are working diligently to solve the challenges of media preservation for the IU Bloomington campus.

More information about the Media Preservation Initiative as well as copies of the survey report and the preservation planning report can be found at the website for the Media Preservation Initiative: