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Case 1: Challenges facing Archivists

This case displays audio-visual material of varying formats, demonstrating the urgent need for preservation, as well as material which was previously closed to access.

View the objects held in Case 1 

The Audio-Visual Preservation Challenge

One of the major collection management issues we face relates to material created by the various transitory methods which have provided storage and access to information in the electronic age.

Audio-visual preservation is regarded as increasingly urgent. Many experts estimate that by 2025 it will be prohibitively expensive to digitise magnetic carriers (such as DVDs, VHS, DAT, and Betamax).

If data stored on outdated media formats is assessed to be valuable enough to be preserved, it must be migrated to stable storage material to ensure continued access to the information.

Floppy Disk

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Floppy Disk previously belonging to Brian Patten. Includes drafts relating to New Age Old Age, The Sweetshop at the Corner of Baggot Street and ABC…

Casette Tape

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A cassette tape labelled "A Peter Corbett and Emma Roberts Interview".

Reel-to-reel audio tape

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EMI audio reel-to-reel recording of productions by Les Marottes French Dramatic Society, University of Liverpool.

U-matic tape

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U-matic tape titled 'Sir K Stowe 150th Anniversary Lecture Medical School'. Recording of lecture, 'Government and Health: Wisdom and Excellence',…

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Shelf showing floppy discs from the Brian Patten collection.

Think: What outdated media formats do you or your family possess at home? Tweet us your 'oldest' format @LivUniSCA

Closed Access Material

Material may be closed to access if it contains personal or sensitive information due to legal restrictions around data protection.

For example, for personal information and information linked to identifiable living individuals, The National Archives advocate a closure period of the ‘lifetime’ of the data subject. This assumes a lifetime of 100 years.

Closed periods are often straightforward to administer. However, it can be complicated by other factors such as the wishes of living donors and the somewhat subjective task of assessing whether material is “sensitive” or not.

File titled 'Downing Street Summit Part III'

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This file dates from the period when Lord David Owen was serving as British Foreign Secretary (1977-1979). Once containing sensitive information,…

Continue the story in Case 2: Survival in Special Collections...