Preserving the rare and irreplaceable

The IU Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative will preserve IU’s rare and, in some cases, irreplaceable collections of audio, video, and film recordings housed in nearly 80 archives, libraries, and departments across all IU campuses. The 50 formats in which these recordings are made include CD-R, open-reel, VHS, and cassettes tapes as well as rarer formats such as U-matic videotapes, Betamax, lacquer discs, wire recordings, and wax cylinders.

IU is home to tremendously rich collections of audio and video recordings that document subjects of enduring value to the university, the state of Indiana, and the world. For close to 100 years, IU librarians, archivists and scholars have carefully selected, acquired, described, and preserved these often rare recordings. They document the growth of Indiana University, the state, and the world, and include treasures such as early recordings of incomparable Jacobs School of Music performances, ethnographic audio and video of cultures around the world, wax cylinder sound recordings of Native American music, and historic speeches of Indiana University visionaries like Herman B Wells and Hoagy Carmichael. Viewing and listening to these recordings will provide researchers with a rare depth of understanding and insight into the awe-inspiring, sometimes tragic, often deeply personal history of peoples’ lives and artistic accomplishments from around the world.

We are at risk of losing them to obsolescence and degradation. MDPI will not only preserve these national treasures through digitization, but will also allow people from around the world to experience them in their own locations, to the extent possible within the constraints of copyright law.

Our goals


MDPI is one of the largest undertakings of its kind.

More than 80 units across IU Bloomington contributed more than 250,000 audio and video recordings for preservation. These pieces do more than document texts, oral histories, and performance styles dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many stand as the official record of tradition for cultures long lost to history.


Media to be digitized by format