UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage - Archives at Risk: Protecting the World Identities

The World Day for Audiovisual Heritage is celebrated internationally on October 27 to raise awareness of the need to preserve audiovisual assets in our collections for current and future generations.

The theme for this year is “Archives at Risk: Protecting the World Identities”. Visit the official website to see how collecting institutions around the world are acknowledging this day.

At State Library of Queensland, we have original film, video and audio items that reflect the culture and history of Queensland. The fragility of analogue audiovisual formats makes it critical to preserve as much of the collection as possible via proper storage, treatment and transfer of content. There is an ongoing program of transferring analogue content to digital formats to provide access to the content and for preservation purposes. Significant collections or at-risk collections are identified and prioritised for digitisation as part of this program.

As part of this year’s program, a 16mm film, City For Sale was chosen to be transferred to digital format. Directed by local artist and film maker, Wendy Rogers, the film depicts the changing Brisbane cityscape in the lead up to Expo 88. A range of our other digitised movies is also available on One Search.

https://vimeo.com/143218600

City for Sale is a short film about the demolition of buildings in the Brisbane CBD in the lead up to EXPO 1988, and includes short anecdotes about buildings and areas by several people affected by the demolition. (State Library of Queensland)

City for Sale is a short film about the demolition of buildings in the Brisbane CBD in the lead up to EXPO 1988, and includes short anecdotes about buildings and areas by several people affected by the demolition. (State Library of Queensland)

Taken from City for Sale (film) 1988. State Library of Queensland collection

Taken from City for Sale (film) 1988. State Library of Queensland collection

Preserving audiovisual heritage extends beyond digitisation of analogue formats and caring for the physical items. An important aspect of managing your audiovisual material is knowing what is in your collection so that you can prioritise or plan preservation work. Too often, audiovisual material are stacked away in a corner and forgotten. A spreadsheet with fields for format, title, date and description would often help to gain intellectual control of your collection. AVPreserv, an audiovisual consultancy firm in the US has provided a free tool for up to 2500 records, AVCC, for collecting and analysing physical audiovisual collections at an item level. The idea for having such a tool or even a spreadsheet is to gain knowledge of your collection on an item level, so that you can plan for preservation and accessing content in future.

Similarly, digital files have to be managed and not just stored and forgotten in computer hard drives and servers. Digital files need to be checked at least once a year, backed up, and migrated as required.

You can do your part for World Day for Audiovisual Heritage. Locate your audiovisual items that might have been forgotten and make a start by caring for your collections. Here are some links to guides to preserving your collection, to ensure that your heritage materials are accessible in the future.

Swee Cheng Wong - Audiovisual Conservator, State Library of Queensland

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.
We also welcome direct feedback via Contact Us.
You may also want to ask our librarians.

Be the first to write a comment