Moving Image Archiving and Preservation

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MIAP Receives $ 500,000 Grant from Mellon Foundation to Study Video at Risk

The MIAP program was recently awarded $500,000 by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to explore the preservation issues associated with circulating video collections held in academic libraries. Over their six-year partnership, the Preservation Department of NYU Libraries and the MIAP program have done important research into the preservation of moving image and audio materials in research libraries. This research has produced principles and methodologies for assessing the physical condition of video holdings as well as an array of data describing their condition. This next phase will explore the daunting task of preserving the largely commercial circulating video collection held by NYU Libraries.

As noted by Paula De Stefano and Mona Jimenez in their article, Commercial Video Collections: A Preservation Survey of the Avery Fisher Center at NYU, which grew out of our first Mellon-funded project, when materials in a general circulation audio-visual collection have no artifactual value, replacement of an item is almost always less expensive than other preservation choices. On the other hand, where no replacement copy can be purchased, best practice would dictate finding a high-quality tape to use as a duplication master.

This grant will support MIAP and the Bobst Preservation Department in their efforts to document the scarcity and replaceability of a general circulation video collections holdings; test the market and other conditions surrounding the preservation of such video collections through replacement acquisition; research the intellectual property conditions defining our ability to create digital replacement copies of our commercial video holdings; establish guidelines for the replacement of video content to parallel those already in place for the preservation of paper-based materials; and experiment with the use of a digitization vendor to reformat circulating videos and establish a model RFP for use with such vendors.