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Moving Image and A/V Preservation at NYU: An Introduction

To kick off Archives Week 2010, we have a post introducing our Media Preservation Unit in the Preservation and Conservation Department.
Being a university research library, the collections housed at Bobst are in constant use, which wears away the material. It is the role of the Barbara Goldsmith Preservation and Conversation Department to make sure that collections at Bobst are accessible to the public—and that it stays that way. Our goal is to maintain the long-term sustainability of the intellectual value and physical properties of our collection, which is accomplished in a myriad of ways. The Media Preservation Unit’s role is to extend the usable life of the Library’s film, video and audio collections through preventive and remedial treatments, training, research, and select preservation reformatting.

This is the Video Preservation Lab. In this room, we transfer video from legacy formats such as VHS, ¾” U-matic, Betacam, DV, to preservation formats such as Digibeta and other uncompressed digital files. We also create DVD access copies and have the ability to create web content by request. Here we have done the preservation of everything from oral histories of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade from the Tamiment Library to the video art of downtown art from the Fales Collection.
Across the hall from the Video Lab is the Film Preservation Lab. It is here where we assist library staff with the development of preservation and access plans for film material. This includes film inspection, the identification of vendors, outsourcing work orders and quotes, shipping and tracking of materials, and quality control. Recent work done here was preservation of the lost film of Henri Cartier-Bresson.

In the newly completed Audio Preservation Lab, we create audio preservation masters and high quality access copies from 1/4″ open reel, cassette, CD, and DAT sources. Currently we are working on the inspection of the audio for CPUSA and the cleaning of the records from the Mick Moloney collection at the Archive of Irish America.
We work closely with the Archives Preservation Program to coordinate preservation efforts for all collection repositories at Bobst. Any questions or comments, do not hesitate to ask, visit us in the library, or at our homepage.
–Ben Moskowitz, Media Preservation Lab Manager

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