Skip to main content

Program National Recording Preservation Plan

Preservation & Assessment Tools

Preservation Research Projects

The Library of Congress pursues preservation research with an aim to forward the National Preservation Research Agenda for the Human Record. Library staff members have published extensively on a wide range of research topics.

See our current and past research projects

Preservation and Assessment Tools

The following audio collection preservation and appraisal tools have been developed by university research institutions. Many are available for free online.


AVCC External is an open-source web application for the rapid inventory of physical film, video, and audio materials. Developed with funding from the Library of Congress’ National Recording Preservation Board–in addition to funding support from the Metropolitan New York Library Resource Council and New York State Documentary Heritage Program for previous versions of the tool–AVCC provides a series of inventory templates and quantitative reports that promote simple and fast documentation and analysis of collections of audiovisual materials.

FACET (Indiana University)

The Field Audio Collection Evaluation Tool (FACET) External is a point-based, open-source software tool that ranks audio field collections based on preservation condition, including the level of deterioration they exhibit, and the degree of risk they carry. It assesses the characteristics, preservation problems, and modes of deterioration associated with the following formats: open reel tape (polyester, acetate, paper and PVC bases), analog audio cassettes, DAT (Digital Audio Tape), lacquer discs, aluminum discs, and wire recordings. This tool helps collection managers construct a prioritized list of audio collections by condition and risk, enabling informed selection for preservation.

AvSAP (Illinois University)

"AvSAP (Audiovisual Self-Assessment Program) External exists to assist cultural heritage institutions with audiovisual materials in their collections and staff who have little to no training in audiovisual preservation. AvSAP is also an excellent tool for those with experience with AV materials and its informational and advisory components can help fill out areas where the AV preservation expert could use some refreshers. Our goal is to help collections managers develop a prioritized preservation plan as well as educate them on extending the lives of their collections with the resources at hand. The scope of material AvSAP covers are: film, videotape (open-reel and cartridge based; analog and digital), audio recordings (extending from cylinder grooved media to disc; analog and digital) and optical media such as CD and DVD. AvSAP does not address issues related to still photographic processes or prints."

Audio/Video Survey (Columbia University)

In 2005, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation generously provided support to the Columbia University Libraries to develop and test a survey instrument to inventory and assess the physical condition and intellectual control of audio and moving image materials.

The survey instrument External consists of a Microsoft Access relational database designed for use by librarians and archivists who are not experts in recording media. It is not necessary to be familiar with Access in order to use the instrument, nor is media playback equipment required.

ViPIRS (New York University)

NYU ViPIRS External is the Microsoft Access database tool designed to assist in the survey and preservation planning of audiovisual collections as part of Developing Principles and Methodologies for Moving Image and Audio Preservation in Research Libraries. ViPIRS is designed with a wide range of users in mind: from audiovisual novices to experts; from small institutions to large.

ViPIRS has been developed for magnetic media, which includes modules for videotape, audiocassettes, and 1/4" reel-to-reel.


Physicists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, with support from the Library of Congress and NEH, have developed imaging technology for non-invasive preservation and access to recorded sound collections. As the imaging systems do not physically touch playback surfaces, sound can be recovered from fragile and broken media that until now were considered irretrievable. A two dimensional (2D) imaging system dubbed IRENE (Image Reconstruct, Erase Noise, Etc.) External has been built to reformat sound encoded in laterally cut discs to capture as a standard digital audio file. This system provides close to real-time transfer, does not require expertise to operate, and does not contact the playing surface. A 3D imaging system has been developed for vertically cut media and also for profiling the complete surface of laterally cut media.

Preserving (Digital) Objects with Restricted Resources Tool Grid

This graphic-based tool grid that shows External, at-a-glance, the functionalities of over 60 DP tools and services and how they fit within an OAIS-based digital curation lifecycle.

 Back to top