Stewarding NYPL’s Audio and
Moving Image Collections
into the Future
Ann Thornton and Evelyn Frangakis
CNI Fall Meeting December 9, 2014
Now We Know
• NYPL has one of the largest and most significant AMI
collections in the worId
• The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded a comprehensive
assessment of this collection’s physical state, storage
conditions, cataloging needs, and preservation needs
• The data-driven assessment identified the scale and scope of
the challenge and outlined strategies by which to address it
• As a result, NYPL is developing a systematic and integrated
approach to preserve the most essential material
Stewarding NYPL’s AMI Collections
Where We Started
• Elevated profile of Library’s
AMI collections in 2010
• Ticking Clock: identified
AMI as an at-risk collection
• Wanted to be proactive;
began talking with the
Mellon Foundation
Stewarding NYPL’s AMI Collections
Building an Integrated Internal Program
• Historical lab investment in three
curatorial units
• Many needs across Library not
being addressed
• Reorganization consolidated labs
into single unit to serve entire
• Technical specialists reporting to
Library’s central preservation
• Turned individual labs into a team
• IMLS Fellows rotated through labs
Stewarding NYPL’s AMI Collections
Environmental Scan and Partnerships
• Investigated other institutions’
• Modeled our approach to Indiana’s
• Allowed us to beta test MediaScore
• Modeled executive sponsorship,
AMI Working Group, guiding
principles, and project management
• BROAD involvement across NYPL
with multiple curatorial,
administrative, technical, and IT
Stewarding NYPL’s AMI Collections
Mellon-Funded Assessment
Ambitious 12-month time frame
Chose AVPreserve as contract partner
Phase 1:
• Surveyed curators, individual physical formats, and spaces
• Generated format-level inventory of all AMI materials
Phase 2:
Analyzed data and developed recommendations
Phase 3:
Assessed facilities, equipment, and workflows
Stewarding NYPL’s AMI Collections
Stewarding NYPL’s AMI Collections
Labor Hours
Stewarding NYPL’s AMI Collections
Life-cycle Costs
Stewarding NYPL’s AMI Collections
Findings - Collections
• Over 800,000 AMI items in 9
curatorial units across 3 of
NYPL’s research libraries
• 60 formats
• 4 asset types
• 1/3 of collection determined
high priority for preservation
(unique, rare, mission
• Cost of inaction
Stewarding NYPL’s AMI Collections
Cost of Inaction (CoI)
• CoI is a model aimed at helping organizations make wellinformed decisions regarding digitization of legacy physical
AMI media and also understanding implications of their
• To date there has been no consistent way for organizations
to quantify the financial and intellectual cost of inaction (to
supplement traditional arguments and bridge
communication gaps between caretakers and budget
• Cost of Inaction addresses issue and offers platform to
enable productive discussion and decision making
Stewarding NYPL’s AMI Collections
• Scenarios developed for status quo, increased
outsourcing, fixed budget, and no loss
• Considered 15-year window of opportunity
• Scenarios included costs for: reformatting, cataloging,
physical storage, and digital storage
• Recommendations made for policy changes in acquisitions
and life-cycle management
Stewarding NYPL’s AMI Collections
Immediate Next Steps
• Reallocated vacant positions to create head of digital
preservation, head of AMI lab, audio engineer position,
cataloging/processing positions
• Further centralized processing staff to maximize capacity
• Still to come: further curatorial engagement for deeper
prioritization to ensure that collections that need
reformatting get into the workflow
• Developing focused fundraising strategy
Stewarding NYPL’s AMI Collections
Sharing Approaches and Progress
• The tools and methods used for and refined during project
can assist other institutions in addressing common needs
for AMI collection life-cycle management and preservation
• NYPL’s summary report is online
• NYPL will continue to share its progress through:
Stewarding NYPL’s AMI Collections
From Preservation Week 2014
80 Years of Bizet’s Habanera in one Stunning Rendition
Stewarding NYPL’s AMI Collections

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