Stewarding Audiovisual Materials 

Archives and special collections hold huge numbers of analog and physical digital audiovisual (A/V) media, many of which are unique and/or of high research value. Changes in scholarship have led to an increased interest in A/V collections for the kinds of subjects they often document. But many of these collections are vulnerable, with only a short window of time before the formats will degrade and playback equipment will no longer be available, and the material will become impossible to access.

OCLC Research is responding to this expressed need with a program of work to better understand and address key challenges to stewarding, providing access to, and advocating for the A/V materials held in archives and special collections.

Our work so far

In Research and Learning Agenda for Archives, Special, and Distinctive Collections, OCLC Research identified addressing A/V Archives as a key priority of the archives and special collections community.

Then, in 2019, OCLC Research conducted a survey asking RLP partners about their most pressing needs related to work with A/V, and how we might help to address them. We followed the survey with focused conversations with RLP partners. Lessons from this work are summarized in a two-part Hanging Together blog post that shares the survey findings and discusses how we might address the major issues of scale and risk identified in our RLP community conversations

Webinars addressing A/V collection needs

Below are a series of webinars sharing work at RLP partner institutions that address some of the identified key challenges of working with A/V collections. By sharing the work of our colleagues, we support learning across the partnership and addressing these challenges together. 

Recordings of these live webinars are now available:

The nuts and bolts of conducting an efficient AV survey

The nuts and bolts of conducting an efficient AV survey

By Ben Harry

Audiovisual materials exist in just about every library and repository, yet many struggle with determining first steps to address the needs of AV collections. These materials require immediate action, but it is so easy to hesitate, especially when unsure of the technical specifics of your holdings. In this webinar, we will walk through the AV audit/assessment conducted in the BYU manuscript special collections, in which we tried to apply More Product, Less Process approaches to achieve maximum efficiency without sacrificing the most important data. Join us for a step-by-step overview of how we tried to make careful decisions as quickly as possible, while always keeping in mind the end goals of digital preservation and increased accessibility.

Topics: Works in Progress, Archives and Special Collections, AV Materials

Approaches to Processing Audiovisual Archives for Improved Access and Preservation Planning

Approaches to Processing Audiovisual Archives for Improved Access and Preservation Planning (video)

By Emily Vinson

This webinar explains University of Houston’s “enhanced for A/V” minimal processing mindset utilized to survey all A/V materials held by UH Special Collections, and ongoing efforts to create a standard practice for A/V materials in archival collections as they are acquired to ensure proper storage. The webinar concludes with a discussion of the impact this approach has had on continuing efforts to preserve and make available A/V collections at UH.

Topics: Archives and Special Collections, Works in Progress, Topics, AV Materials