Library and Archives Preservation in the Digital Age

Current faculty: Mark Roosa

Description: The role of library and archives preservation has changed dramatically since its inception in the 1960s. While cultural institutions continue to provide care for physical objects, they are increasingly seeking ways to make representations of physical collections available to wider audiences via digital platforms. This class examines from a theoretical and practical perspective how preservation programs are responding. Students will critically examine ways in which both traditional and emergent preventive and remedial preservation approaches are being applied to protect and provide sustained access to collections and how these approaches have fostered new collaborations, workflows, and concerns.

Through, readings, discussion, site visits to select cultural institutions in the Los Angeles area, and presentations by visiting practitioners, students will become familiar with ways in which institutions are managing preservation of collections; key criteria used for selecting items and collections for digital conversion; and technical approaches used to carry out preservation and conservation work.

Topics to be covered include, the role of the conservator and the conservation lab in the digital era; preservation guidelines, standards and approaches for media preservation; preservation guidelines for digital conversion; the role of science in preservation; new directions in preserving sound recordings; environmental management of purpose-built preservation spaces; contracting out for and evaluation of third party preservation services; and strategies and sources for funding preservation activities. Students will also learn how to align preservation concerns with organizational priorities, including methods for gathering and presenting evidence to support development of a well-balanced, sustainable preservation program.

Years taught: 2015, 2018