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Program Audio Visual Conservation

Preserving the Collections

From hands-on "boutique" copying of rare and fragile materials to streamlined robotic digitization processes, the Packard Campus provides for significantly increased preservation capabilities and capacities. The facility brings together the craftsmanship of traditional photochemical film-to-film preservation along side a digital acquisition and preservation system capable of archiving multiple petabytes of audiovisual content every year.

The Packard Campus is designed to optimize a variety of preservation workflows, including those for obsolete formats such as wire recordings, wax cylinders, and 2" videotape. In fact, the Campus is fully equipped to play back and preserve all antique film, video and sound formats, and to maintain that capability far into the future.

The Packard Campus allows the Library to complete the transition from analog to digital preservation for many of its audiovisual collections, making it the first archive to preserve digital content at the petabyte (i.e., one million gigabytes) level. The entirety of the Library's recorded sound and videotape holdings will be digitized, some using a hands-on, one-at-a-time approach, others—3/4" videotape, initially—as part of a high throughput, robotic operation. We will make digital access copies of these files simultaneously with preservation masters, allowing us to provide researchers with playback on demand in our Capitol Hill reading rooms.

The creation of so much digital information required the Library to develop a sophisticated archival system for long term storage. Our digital preservation solution incorporates the backup and recovery capabilities of the Legislative Branch Alternate Computing Facility, a remote and secure disaster recovery facility. A real time link ensures that an additional copy of every archived file is made simultaneously with the original.

The digital archive is based on the concept of continual migration and verification. Migration to progressively higher density storage—meaning progressively greater storage capacity—will continue indefinitely into the future. Our datatape storage media is permanently mounted so it can be automatically checked on a periodic schedule, rather than stored on a shelf where material might go unchecked for a long period.

At the same time, our film laboratory's ability to preserve the Library's unparalleled collection of 35mm nitrate film onto new safety film stock will quadruple with the addition of new processors and printers. In addition, for the first time we will be able to preserve color film.

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