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Wake up and smell the vinegar: a guide to collection condition surveys Annual General Meeting of The Society of California Archivists Genevieve Maxwell.

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Presentation on theme: "Wake up and smell the vinegar: a guide to collection condition surveys Annual General Meeting of The Society of California Archivists Genevieve Maxwell."— Presentation transcript:

1 Wake up and smell the vinegar: a guide to collection condition surveys Annual General Meeting of The Society of California Archivists Genevieve Maxwell & Mahnaz Ghaznavi April 2013

2 Presentation overview Project background, goals and objectives Identifying, selecting and using preservation assessment tools Overview of survey tools Audiovisual preservation and formats Survey tool walk-through Project findings and next steps Q & A

3 Background: Institution

4 Background: Archives & Special Collections

5 Background: University Archives

6 Goals & Objectives Goals Assess the health of the University Archives Test the usability of an automated survey tool Objectives Focus on at-risk audiovisual material Identify preservation priorities Research tools and resources for assessment Collect data to inform future projects

7 Tools AVDb: Columbia University Survey Instrument for Audio & Moving Image Collections AvSAP: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Audiovisual Self-Assessment Program ViPIRS: NYU Visual & Playback Inspection Ratings System Calipr: California Preservation Program NYU Condition Survey Database Tool

8 NYU Survey Database Tool Modified version of a Mellon-funded tool developed by Columbia University, 2003 Requires Microsoft Access (Windows OS only!) Applies to a variety of material formats and collections at various levels of processing Can import records from Archivists Toolkit

9 Negatives

10 Moving Image Film

11 Audio

12 Record Creation Walk-Through

13 Data entry form

14 Material Record Tabs for different material (e.g. Loose paper, Photos, Still Film, Magnetic, Realia, etc.) that might be housed in each unit (box)

15 Moving Image Material Record

16 Condition Rating (1)= Due to mold or extreme fragility, materials are unsuitable for access by researchers or handled by staff. (2)= Materials may have some losses, structural damage or surface dirt. Deterioration is likely should items be handled further. (3)= Materials are generally stable and in decent condition with no visible losses or structural damage. May have some surface dirt. (4)= Materials are pristine with no losses, structural damage or surface dirt.

17 Additional Condition Rating Tools A-D Strip were used to provide more specific condition ratings

18 A-D Strip Ratings

19 Findings Under-stuffed boxes and inappropriate housing Vinegar syndrome Contamination of materials, enclosures and boxes Tape pack problems

20 Under-stuffed Boxes/Inappropriate Housing

21 Vinegar Syndrome

22 Audio Tape Pack Problems

23 What’s next? Build on findings Weigh options for expanding to other special collections Tie in with university assessment and development goals Fit with digital initiatives Share with professional communities

24 Resources FACET Format Characteristics and Preservation Problems ViPIRS: manual for audiocassette Film Forever National Film Preservation Foundation guide to vinegar syndrome Image Permanence Institute: User’s Guide for A-D Strips NYU Condition Survey Manual

25 Other Resources Jean-Louis Bigourdan: Vinegar Syndrome: An Action Plan https://www.imagepermanenceinstitute.org/webfm_send/30 8 Sound Directions FACET audio preservation assessment tool ndex.shtml Indiana University Media Preservation Initiative

26 Other Resources NYU Barbara Goldsmith Preservation and Conservation Department California Preservation Program Film Forever

27 Final Thoughts Using automated survey tools is an easy and practical way to assess the health of audiovisual collections Condition surveys can be a rewarding internship project for students interested in preservation There are a variety of tools to look into, depending on the needs of your collections Data from survey can inform preservation planning, deaccessioning and digitization


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