AMIA Conference Offers Diverse Look at Media Preservation

The Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) will bring new breadth and depth to the discussion about the complexities of moving image preservation and access by focusing on the need for diversity in every aspect of the field. Not only through panels, but in a special day devoted to the diverse collections in Pittsburgh that is open to the public, AMIA leads the way in making film preservation tangible and relevant. From Nov. 8-12 at the Omni William Penn Hotel, over 600 professionals and supporters will gather to set new standards of involvement and collaboration through the most recent developments in archival technology, sustainable ways of preserving film, and the simple tools being used to save some of the most at-risk moving images around the world. 

The conference features four curated streams of programming with two days of pre-conference workshops and tours, along with exhibitions, screenings and hands-on instruction. Representatives from technology companies, libraries, universities, regional archives, public broadcasting, corporate archives, post production facilities, studios, and broadcasters will contribute their views. They will travel from places like Africa, Argentina, Uruguay, the Netherlands, Canada and the UK, among other places. Organizations from the medical community, such as Johns Hopkins, Wellcome Library, National Library of Medicine, as well as the Pittsburgh Police Department, are also participating.

Conference themes will include digital preservation, the environmental impact of archives, and how best to address questions of diversity, inclusion and equity in the field. There will also be a strong outreach program focused on community and grass roots needs that includes a free day-long symposium aimed at artists, independent media, and community archives.

“AMIA celebrates 2016 in our field by looking at the latest technologies and perspectives,” says AMIA President Andrea Kalas. “All of us want to share our collections and our expertise, and we’re so grateful that Pittsburgh has welcomed us with such open arms.”

Highlights of the AMIA conference include:

  • Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek – Two studios came together to celebrate the milestone of this fan favorite earlier this year. The panel will journey through the remastering of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and go behind the scenes of the collaboration between CBS and Paramount as they prepared to celebrate the iconic series. Attendees will gain an understanding of the challenges faced with a shared rights catalog.
  • Archiving the history of music television – This session will look at how Viacom is transforming the production source tapes, master tapes and audio source tapes of the MTV Vault, to leverage the value of the content and preserve the legacy of that culturally significant era.
  • Videotape turns 60 – Launched in 1956, 2-inch quad videotape became the dominant broadcast format for more than two decades. Networks were the first adopters, but local stations were also taping their own programming—everything from documentaries to breaking news to performances by local musicians. This session will give a technical and historical overview of the format, and showcase a diverse array of newly-discovered programming that originated on 2-inch tape from stations across the country and how the content is being preserved.
  • Discoveries in early widescreen cinema – The forerunner of today’s IMAX system, Paramount Pictures introduced Magnascope with the 1926 release of “Old Ironsides.” Magnascope was long assumed to have petered out after a handful of releases. New research indicates that the process lingered on for two decades. Renewed interest in this variated and localized exhibition history will bring together scholars, archivists, and repertory programmers to discuss managing these titles.
  • Planning for preservation in public media – In this session, a panel of American Archive of Public Broadcasting National Digital Stewardship residents will present on their work developing preservation infrastructures at seven public media stations around the country.
  • Maturation of a DAM system – The Smithsonian’s Enterprise Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) represents a mission critical component of the Smithsonian’s digitization initiatives and strategy. Currently serving over 40 Smithsonian units across museums, archives, libraries, and the zoo, the DAMS is entrusted to store, manage, preserve and deliver over 8 million assets as it continues to grow and evolve.  This presentation will cover the building and integration phases as well as asset delivery components of the system.
  • Apps and Accessibility – How the National Association of Records and Administration (NARA) collaborated with Historypin on a project to digitize content for multiple audiences. Now NARA is launching an app to deliver moving images and photos to museums, teachers, and coders. Attendees will learn about the process and see the app that has been built.

AMIA will also host a Hack Day in partnership with the Digital Library Federation (DLF). The event is a unique opportunity for practitioners and managers of digital audiovisual collections to join with developers and engineers for an intense day of collaboration to develop solutions. Additionally, Poster Sessions throughout the week give attendees 1:1 access to the people in the trenches of audiovisual preservation.

Other annual AMIA events will also have presentations at the conference, including The Reel Thing, a technical symposium that explores recent restoration projects, and AMIA’s Digital Asset Symposium (DAS), which examines case studies from a variety of institutions dealing with the latest approaches to digital archiving.

Visit the AMIA Conference website for full details and the complete schedule: