WITNESS Media Archive Manager, Grace Lile, and I are attending the annual Association of Moving Image Archivists conference – held this year in Rochester, NY, the birthplace of Eastman Kodak. The conference, in its seventeenth year, draws over 500 media archivists, preservation lab technicians and others from around the world, and is an excellent forum to discuss with colleagues the myriad of preservation challenges our profession faces in this rapidly-changing world of media formats.

First up was the “Reel Thing,” a day-long session of presentations on technical innovations and archival projects from the field. This year’s topics included high quality playback of magnetic sound recordings afflicted with deterioration known as the “vinegar syndrome” (so-named for its characteristic vinegar odor); preservation of early motion picture color processes; and a presentation on the preservation of filmmaker Kenneth Anger’s films.

Thus far, I’ve attended sessions about E-bay and its implications for archives and collections; one on “Women in the Technical Professions;” a screening of Kodachrome films from archives around the world; and a screening of nitrate motion picture films (a particularly beautiful, but combustible, pre-1950 motion picture stock).

Tomorrow (Saturday) morning’s panels include one of particular interest and relevance to what we do at WITNESS – ‘Recording Retribution: Issues in the Curation of, and Access to, Actuality Footage of War and Atrocity.”

Check back in the coming days for more on our thoughts from that panel ….


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