New Video: Digital Preservation at the Library of Congress’s Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation

We produce occasional short videos  related to digital preservation. These videos address such topics as personal digital archiving, adding descriptions to digital photographs and the K-12 Web Archiving program, to name a few.

Our newest video profiles one of the Library of Congress’s most magnificent treasures: the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation, located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Culpeper, VA.

This state-of-the-art facility resides inside Mt. Pony, a high-security facility formerly occupied by the Federal Reserve Bank. The facility was completely rebuilt and optimized for the preservation of material and digital audio and visual items.  David Packard’s Packard Humanities Institute funded the renovation, in large part.

The Packard Campus opened in 2007 . It houses the Library’s vast collection — nearly 5 million items — of motion pictures, audio recordings, television and radio broadcasts, videos and video games; many are in obsolete formats.  The material items in the collections date from the late 19th century onward.

Our new video showcases the Packard Campus as a world leader in the preservation of born digital and digitized collections. It shows how the Packard Campus gathers born-digital collections shipped on drives, ripped from CDs and DVDs, transferred over networked cable and captured from live broadcasts.

The video also shows how the Packard Campus digitizes material collections.  For example, SAMMA robots digitize videotape in batches around the clock, specially designed machines digitize rare old paper film and the IRENE system uses lasers to map the grooves of fragile recordings without risking further damage of the grooves through contact with metal record-player styluses.

In the last step of the digital-file journey, high-capacity servers pull in the digital collections and transfer them to backup drives and tapes for storage. The repository is designed to anticipate large-scale expansion of the digital collections, as well as power and cooling needs of the server hardware.

The end result is not just long-term digital preservation; it’s remote access as well. The Packard Campus serves some digital items from its repository over the network to researchers at A/V stations 70 miles away at the Library of Congress’s Audio Visual reading rooms in Washington, DC.

Watch the video now Camera

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