Assessment and Prioritization: Part One – Preservation of Magnetic Tape Collections – Another Perspective

Assessment and Prioritization:
Recent and Current Research and Development Projects
Part One – Assessment
The Preservation of Magnetic Tape Collections – Another Perspective
Tanisha Jones, New York University



For the past several years, efforts have been underway to develop strategies for assessing magnetic media preservation needs, ranging from the work of the National Media Lab and the Smithsonian Institution to such projects as FACET and TAPE and, most recently, the IPI study. Informed in large part by these groundbreaking initiatives, New York University has embarked upon a related project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop methodologies for assessing the condition of archival magnetic media based on visual and playback inspection in order to prioritize the relative need and appropriate pathways toward preservation.

As was recommended by IPI, a preservation decision-making tool in the form of a database is being developed as a component of the NYU project. This presentation will focus on the design of the tool and the particular challenges it presented, explaining how prioritization ratings were devised and calculated, and presenting recommendations for reformatting decision-making based on data gathered using the tool. Finally, the preliminary results of research into the use of random sampling as a methodology for assessing archival audio/visual materials will be discussed.



Tanisha Jones is the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (MIAP) Research Fellow in the Barbara Goldsmith Preservation and Conservation Department at New York University (NYU) Libraries. She received her M.A. in 2005 from NYU as a graduate of the inaugural class of Tisch School of the Arts’ MIAP Program. Her professional experience includes internships at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York, NYU’s Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, WNET/Thirteen, and the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Ms. Jones worked as a research assistant for the Library of Congress’s National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP): “Preserving Digital Public Television,” a cooperative project with NYU, Thirteen/WNET, WGBH Boston, PBS, and the Library of Congress. Since 2005, she has been a board member of the New York based nonprofit organization Independent Media Arts Preservation, Inc. (IMAP).

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