Every year, archivists and preservationists from around the world gather for the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) conference. This year it was held in Seattle at a hotel that looks out over the city’s famed monorail. Heidi Holmstrom, of the Motion Picture Preservation Lab, and Holly McIntyre, of the Motion Picture, Sound, and Video Archival Unit, represented NARA at the conference.
AMIA opened its first full day with a plenary focusing on disaster recovery in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The conference sessions were many and varied. Local archivists were on hand to provide an overview of film collections held by Seattle archives. Alumni of the AMIA/Image Permanence Institute internship program presented the results of their research into factors affecting acetate film deterioration. Heidi had the opportunity to present on the work of the digital motion picture subgroup of the External Reference Committee convened to support NARA’s recent Quality Assurance/Quality Control project.
A number of sessions addressed the challenges presented by born-digital media and the digitization of analog formats. Because moving image media files are so much bigger than text files (a scan of a single film can easily be several hundred gigabytes), they are even more difficult to manage and preserve. High-capacity networks and storage are needed to allow for files to be processed, moved, and secured. A digital asset management system designed for media files can streamline and simplify the tasks of moving, verifying, transcoding, and storing digital moving images. Learning about the systems and procedures that other institutions have in place can help provide guideposts for NARA as we work to preserve and provide access to the moving image records of the Federal government.
While AMIA sessions are a great way to learn about what others are doing, in the evenings attendees have a chance to show off their own institution’s holdings. This year’s conference featured two Archival Screening Nights, at which NARA presented a total of three films. The selections for this year were chosen from past programs by popular vote, and it was wonderful to see that NARA’s films have made an impression over the years. The NARA films shown were:
Curious Alice (ARC Identifier 5717248) – A trippy film using the Alice in Wonderland story to show children that drugs are bad.
How to Succeed with Brunettes (Item 330-DVIC-25147) – A dating etiquette film for Naval officers.
Effects of LSD-25 on Troops Marching (ARC Identifier 2123707) – This film is exactly what the title says.
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