Indiana University holds large numbers of audio, video, and film recordings with high research and instructional value. Unfortunately, many of our audio and video recordings are on obsolete formats that are actively degrading, and we estimate our window of opportunity to take preservation action will close in 10-15 years. While film is comparatively more stable than audio and video, many film collections are showing signs of extreme color fade and degradation, which will make digitization much more challenging and costly in the future if not preserved now. 

Preserving Our History in the Digital Age

The Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative (MDPI) project is meant to rescue as many of those precious recordings as possible. Announced by IU President Michael A. McRobbie in October 2013, MDPI is charged with digitally preserving and providing access to all significant audio, video, and film recordings on all IU campuses by the IU Bicentennial in 2020.

MDPI has partnered with Memnon Archiving Services, a Sony company, to help with the gargantuan task. Memnon performs the lion's share of the digitization using parallel transfer workflows, where one operator simultaneously digitizes multiple recordings. IU has a smaller digitization facility to handle fragile formats and problem items using a 1:1 workflow. For film, Memnon is digitizing all selected reels. IU has an additional post-production and restoration suite to carry out specialized work for screenings, exhibits, and special events. Both groups work out of the Innovation Center on the Bloomington campus. 

MDPI requires a massive group effort and dedicated funding from all over the university. Funding comes from the Office of the President, Office of the Provost, and the Office of the Vice President for Research. Additional funding and in-kind contributions come from the IU Libraries, University Information Technology Services (UITS), and media-holding units.