IU to Restore Massive Media Collection

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Examples of deteriorated media that could be restored by the IU Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative. Photo courtesy of Indiana University. Examples of deteriorated media that could be restored by the IU Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative. Photo courtesy of Indiana University.

Indiana University says it will preserve its “irreplaceable” collections of 635,000 sound, video and film recordings as part of its Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative. The collections are currently stored in 50 formats and are housed in 80 units across the IU Bloomington, IUPUI and regional campuses.

The formats include cassettes tapes, CD-R, open-reel, VHS, U-matic videotapes, Betamax, lacquer discs, wire recordings and wax cylinders.

IU says some of the recordings include language, music, audio from Orson Welles’ famed Mercury Theatre radio performances and interviews with female newspaper editors in the 1970s.

"This event celebrates the opening of an initiative through which Indiana University is preserving for future students and scholars not only films but also a vast collection of audio and video recordings that are of major cultural and historical importance," IU President Michael McRobbie said. "These collections contain material from a wide range of areas in the humanities, the arts and music, the social sciences and the health sciences -- areas of great traditional strength at Indiana University."

School officials say the initiative will receive $15 million over the next five years from the offices of the president, the provost and the vice president for research. It will be led by Carolyn Walters, Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries; and Brad Wheeler, vice president for information technology and chief technology officer at IU and interim dean of the IU School of Informatics and Computing.

IU says the goal is to digitize, preserve and make the media universally available by 2020.

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