For more than two decades, IU has been developing and implementing leadership, expertise, and technical structures in media archiving and media preservation. In 2013, understanding that many of its media collections were at risk of deterioration, obsolescence, or both, the university capitalized on these competencies to implement a comprehensive plan for the digitization of audio and video recordings across all campuses.

IU President Michael McRobbie announces the Media Digitization & Preservation Initiative


  • 1998
    Vice President and CIO Michael A. McRobbie forms the Digital Library Program, a pioneering collaboration between UITS, the IU Libraries, and the School of Library and Information Science.
  • 2000
    IU Scholarly Data Archive implemented (currently offers 40+ petabytes of storage).
  • 2001
    EVIA Digital Archive Project, a collaborative endeavor to create a digital archive of ethnographic field video for use by scholars and instructors, launched.
  • 2005
    The Archives of Traditional Music receives the first of three NEH-funded Sound Directions grants with Harvard University to support audio preservation.
  • 2006
    Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the Digital Audio Archives Project supports the creation of an audio preservation digitization studio in the Jacobs School of Music and Cook Music Library

    2007 Indiana University and Harvard University publish Sound Directions: Best Practices for Audio Preservation, regarded as one of the seminal works for audio preservation.
  • 2007
    Michael A. McRobbie appointed President.
  • 2009
    IU Libraries Moving Image Archive established, with more than 100,000 educational, documentary, and other unique films created, distributed, or collected by IU.

    Findings in the Indiana University Media Preservation Survey Report kickstart a new era of preservation and access for media holdings at IU.
  • 2010
    Media Preservation Initiative Task Force created and charged with:
    • Developing plans for a campus media preservation center
    • Establishing strategies for preservation prioritization
    • Exploring media access issues and analyzing IU's technology
    • Investigating how the results of preservation work would aid research and instruction
  • 2011
  • 2012
    IU releases RFI; five companies respond.
  • 2013
    President approves MDPI proposal and $15M funding.

    IU signs contract with Memnon Archiving Services; President announces MDPI in State of the University address.

    Avalon Media System released; destined to play a key role in providing access to recordings digitized through MDPI.
  • 2015
    MDPI facility in IU's Innovation Center renovated.

    Testing, small-scale and full-scale digitization begins.

    Further development of Avalon Media System; copyright determination process begins.

    IU receives NEH grant to develop HydraDAM2 digital preservation repository system.
  • 2017
    MDPI hits milestone of 200,000 items digitized.

    Film preservation phase announced.

    Film scanning moves to production.
  • 2018
    The first 2500 reels of film preserved.
  • 2019
    Substantial completion of the audio and video phase of the project.

    Completed digitizing 6,643 wax cylinders with major support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

    150,000 digitized files made accessible in Media Collections Online.
  • 2020
    Global pandemic slowed progress.

    Began to digitize the rare 2-inch video and Magnabelt formats.

    Combined wax cylinder recorded pairs to create oldest known stereo recordings.
  • 2021
    The MDPI project ended on June 30. A total of 236,396 audio recordings, 97,395 video recordings, and 23,821 reels of film were digitized.

    Project completed.