Preservation is an ongoing task, which relies on good storage, constant migration of format and diligent collection management.This is particularly important for film and sound collections where technological advancements have always presented a threat to the preservation of audiovisual media.
The main threat to the ongoing accessibility of our collections is the number of collection items dependent on analogue audiovisual technologies, including VHS video, audio cassette, audio reel-to-reel tape, and traditional still photography.
To address this issue, we are engaging in a significant digitisation program to ensure the longevity of the information within the collection.
Preservation responsibilities include:
- preventive conservation
- maintaining storage and environmental conditions
- assessment and treatment of collection items
- preserving documentation associated with material
- assessment and preparation of collection items for digitisation and access
- providing preservation advice to staff and clients
- disaster planning - disaster prevention and control.
In keeping with internationally accepted best practice, we request that collectors lodge their original audiovisual materials for inclusion in the collection. This is in recognition that future technologies may enable enhanced retrieval of information from the original carrier, particularly in the case of analogue materials. We also recognise that original carriers, both analogue and digital, are valuable artefacts in their own right and may convey more information than their derivative copies, which only embody the audiovisual content of the original.
We also preserve a significant collection of historically and culturally important printed material, including newspapers, magazines, letters, journals, and posters. Paper and ink are also subject deterioration over time, particularly when exposed to moisture and light. We maintain climate controlled vaults to ensure the longevity of the original materials. Printed material is also a significant component of the digitisation program.