IU Digitization Initiative Moves to Second Phase

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Memnon Archiving Services will use film digitization scanners to preserve IU's film collection. (photo courtesy Indiana University) Memnon Archiving Services will use film digitization scanners to preserve IU's film collection. (photo courtesy Indiana University)

Indiana University has begun the second phase of its Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative. In collaboration with Bloomington-based Memnon Archiving Services Inc., IU plans to digitize about 25,000 film reels by 2020 in what the university calls "one of the most ambitious programs of film digitization" in the world.

IU says it will inventory, catalog, digitize, store and provide access to 12,500 hours of film. The university's film collection includes more than 100,000 items, including the personal collections of filmmakers and collectors, educational films rented to schools, libraries, and colleges from before World War II, as well as home movies, amateur films, local Indiana advertisements, and commercial films and pre-production elements.

"Through the digitization of IU's unique, invaluable and irreplaceable film collections, we will ensure that these historic and rare materials remain available to the broadest possible audience and that they are preserved forever," IU President Michael McRobbie. "These collections contain material from a wide range of academic disciplines and genres, and they represent an investment in research and scholarship at IU, spanning many decades, by the state of Indiana, foundations, businesses and the people of our state."

McRobbie says the initiative with strengthen IU's position as a "major center" for media digitization and preservation work. McRobbie created the initiative in 2013 with the goal of digitally preserving all of the university's significant audio and video recordings by IU's Bicentennial in 2020. The project began in 2015.

The initiative is taking place at the Innovation Center on IU's Bloomington campus and, to date, has completed the preservation of more than 200,000 audio and video recordings. The digitized copies are housed in the IU Data Center will be made digitally accessible through the IU Library's Media Collections Online.

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