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IU Libraries hosts first international audiovisual preservation training in North America

Professionals from a dozen countries and the U.S. are training at IU’s world-class media preservation, storage, digitization and film screening facilities

For Immediate Release May 16, 2019

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana University Bloomington is hosting the first two-week comprehensive summer school in North America focused on educating professional archivists in audiovisual preservation. Fifty professionals traveled from 12 countries and around the U.S. to participate in the May 13 to 26 training.

The Biennial Audiovisual Archival Summer School, an initiative of the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive and the International Federation of Film Archives, is providing a comprehensive education on audiovisual archiving and preservation for the purpose of preserving humanity’s cultural heritage around the world.

Man uses film reel and handling equipment
Tim Wagner, a film archivist and projectionist from the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive, examines film during a film handling workshop at the Biennial Audiovisual Summer School.Photo by Eric Rudd, Indiana University

“So much has already been lost,” said Rachael Stoeltje, organizer of the summer school, director of the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive, member of the International Federation of Film Archives Executive Committee and chair of the Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations for 2018-19. “We are working together to save the world’s cultural heritage and to educate people on how to do that. The combination of IU’s facilities and programs, along with my efforts at IU and the International Federation of Film Archives, make a perfect marriage of interests, missions and opportunities to build and host this first two-week summer school in North America.”

Summer school participants are attending lectures and hands-on workshops on topics including film and video preservation and conservation, film restoration, audio and moving image digitization, disaster recovery simulation and cataloging.

In addition to faculty and staff from the Moving Image Archive and the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative, the summer school courses are taught by experts from The Media School, IU Cinema and the IU School of Education.

Recognized experts from other institutions are also leading courses, including Ken Weissman, former head of the Library of Congress Motion Picture Conservation Center and the Association of Moving Image Archivists’ 2018 Silverlight Award winner; David Walsh, summer school co-organizer, former head of digital collections at the Imperial War Museum in London and current training and outreach program coordinator for the International Federation of Film Archives; and Paul Messier, the founder and Pritzker director of the Lens Media Lab at Yale’s Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage.

Rachael Stoeltje
Rachael Stoeltje.Photo by Eric Rudd, Indiana University

“It’s exciting that there is a place in North America where people can come together around audiovisual preservation,” Weissman said. “What is so great about this event is the world view it offers. We can discover that there are people like us doing the things we do in other countries.”

The Moving Image Archive has a vast collection of nearly 120,000 items, and IU has one of the country’s best cold storage film vaults at its Auxiliary Library Facility. IU has also taken on an unprecedented mission through its Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative to digitize and provide access to 325,000 audio and video recordings and 25,000 reels of film by the IU Bicentennial in 2020. In addition, the IU Data Center offers large data storage capacity to hold the collections digitized through the initiative.

“Like the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative, hosting the Biennial Audiovisual Summer School is another example of IU’s commitment to our important mission of preserving knowledge,” said Dennis Cromwell, executive director of the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative. “MDPI staff are excited to engage with colleagues across the world to assist in media preservation work.”

Students listen to teacher
At center, Robert Byrne, a film restorer and president of the Board of Directors for the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, leads a workshop on digital restoration during the Biennial Audiovisual Summer School.Photo by Eric Rudd, Indiana University

The summer school also includes film screenings such as “Celluloid Man,” “In the Realm of Perfection” and “They Shall Not Grow Old” that will be shown at the world-class IU Cinema.  After the ticketed 3D screening of “They Shall Not Grow Old” on May 23, a panel discussion will feature IU President Michael A. McRobbie, Walsh, Stoeltje and Jon Vickers, IU Cinema founding director.

The following Biennial Audiovisual Summer School lectures are free and open to the public and will be held at Shreve Auditorium at the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies:

May 17

  • 9:30 to 10 a.m.: Digital Preservation, presented by Kara Van Malssen and Mike Shallcross.
  • 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: History of Audio Formats and the Current State of Audio Preservation, presented by Patrick Feaster and Mike Casey.

May 18

  • 11 to 12:30 p.m.: Quality Control for Media Digitization Projects, presented by Mike Casey.

May 20

  • 9 to 10:30 a.m.: Open Source Tools and Resources, presented by Dave Rice, Mike Shallcross and Brian Wheeler.
  • 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Project Management of Film Digitization, presented by Carmel Curtis and Andy Uhrich.

May 21

  • 9 to 10:30 a.m.: The Technology of Film Digitization, presented by David Walsh.
  • 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Practical Considerations for Managing Digital Content, presented by Brian Wheeler.

May 22

  • 9 to 10:30 a.m.: Photo Preservation and Conservation, presented by Paul Messier.
  • 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Overview of Historic Photographic Processes, presented by Paul Messier.

May 23

  • 9 to 10:30 a.m.: Born Digital, presented by Mike Shallcross.

May 24

  • 9 to 10:30 a.m.: Film and AV Preservation Strategies, presented by David Walsh.

May 25

  • 9 to 10:30 a.m.: Learning Collaborative Model, Assessment and Evaluation Phase and Sustainability Plan, presented by Ana Maria Brannan.
  • 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: The Way Ahead, presented by Rachael Stoeltje and David Walsh.

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