Dispatches, by Erin Baucom

Preservation as Risk Management

September 3, 2019

The best type of program is an interlocking system of policies, workflows, technical solutions, and efforts meant to keep digital objects usable in the long term. Digital objects are made up of bitstreams—sequences of 1s and 0s that require specific software and hardware environments to remain accessible. Some are born digital (those materials with no … Continue reading Preservation as Risk Management


Preservation Showdown: Environmental Edition

June 27, 2018

The debate was moderated by Kara McClurken, director of preservation services at the University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville. The panel took place as part of the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans Monday, June 25. As the debate opened, McClurken explained that some of the debaters had been asked to defend … Continue reading Preservation Showdown: Environmental Edition


Dewey Decibel Episode 23: Saving Lost Cinema

Dewey Decibel Podcast: Saving Lost Cinema

March 5, 2018

First, Steve Zalusky, manager of communications for the American Library Association’s Public Awareness Office, reports from the Mostly Lost film workshop at the Library of Congress’s Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia. Next, Phil Morehart, Dewey Decibel host and American Libraries associate editor, talks to AJ Lawrence, media conservation and digitization assistant at the … Continue reading Dewey Decibel Podcast: Saving Lost Cinema


What Is Access without Equity?

March 1, 2018

For community-based or other participatory archive models, digital technologies offer a way to meaningfully engage with materials. Yet what good is a digital archive if the community does not have internet available? How can an individual fully participate in using or shaping digital heritage resources if they do not have the computer skills, or even … Continue reading What Is Access without Equity?


To Preserve and Protect

March 1, 2018

As we observe Preservation Week (April 22–26), keep in mind that even our youngest students are eager to hear about cultural and historic preservation from the people most invested in it. Our learners realize that everybody has a story and that these stories make a difference. My own preservation journey with 3rd graders at Pilot … Continue reading To Preserve and Protect



During the tour of the Library of Congress Culpeper facility, guests learn about nitrate film decomposition from Nitrate Film Vault Manager George Willeman (center). Photo: Steve Zalusky

Crowdsourcing Cinema

June 22, 2017

Nearly 200 people had gathered for a labor of love and a test of their research skills and knowledge of film history June 15–17 at the Library of Congress’s (LC) Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia. The 45-acre campus is where LC acquires, preserves, and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive … Continue reading Crowdsourcing Cinema


Mary Miller assists with the rehousing of the Orange County (Fla.) Regional History Center media collection during the inaugural Preservation in Action (PIA) service project at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference. She is helping to preserve a film about the underwater "mermaid" performers at Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida. Photo: Jessica Bitely

Saving At-Risk Audiovisual Materials

March 1, 2017

Libraries have been collecting audio and video for many years, and audiovisual librarians well know the value of voices and moving images. Within the profession itself, Technical Services Manager A. Arro Smith—author of Capturing Our Stories: An Oral History of Librarianship in Transition (ALA Editions, 2017)—has been chronicling the oral histories of retired librarians on … Continue reading Saving At-Risk Audiovisual Materials


Crowley Imaging Services’s new 100MP digital back camera system

Saving Your Media

March 1, 2017

Document capture at Crowley Imaging Services The Crowley Company has been providing micrographic and digital archiving services for more than 30 years. Crowley Imaging Services uses equipment from its own manufacturing arm and other vendors to offer services to libraries and archives that don’t have an in-house digitization department. The company recently purchased two Phase One IQ3 … Continue reading Saving Your Media


David Walls, Jeanne Drewes, Tammy Zavinski

Preserving Endangered Documents

June 28, 2016

On Monday, the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services held a session on “Saving Collections, Sharing Expertise: The FIPNet Collaboration across Library Specialties,” which explored the efforts of the Government Publishing Office (GPO) to preserve government information in both tangible and digital format.


Seabiscuit with jockey George Woolf and trainer Tom Smith after winning the Pimlico Special, November 1, 1938. (Photo: Keeneland Library)

And They’re Off!

June 5, 2015

“This is the job of my dreams,” says Becky Ryder, director of Keeneland Library. Founded in 1939, the public research and reference library is one of the largest sources of equine industry information. It holds hundreds of thousands of thoroughbred-related books, articles, and photographic negatives, such as the Daily Racing Form’s archives and materials on … Continue reading And They’re Off!