Expanding Audiovisual Preservation Education | BAVC

Expanding Audiovisual Preservation Education

The archival community is in agreement that the threat that obsolescence and degradation pose to at-risk media collections cannot be overstated.

The hands of a tape operator can be seen loading a half inch open reel tape onto a large deck

Even tapes kept in the most ideal storage conditions suffer from deterioration as they age. Additionally, the playback of tape-based media is dependent on specialized equipment that is no longer manufactured, and in most cases no longer supported by the original manufacturers (if those manufacturers are even still in business). Audiovisual preservation requires expensive equipment and specialized technical expertise which creates barriers for organizations to digitize their own collections. The result is that only a handful of organizations, often vendors and universities, have access to the equipment, knowledge and skills to perform successful operations. While universities and vendors with community-oriented missions contribute white papers and conference presentations to share their knowledge, there is a significant absence of training opportunities for those passionate custodians who have the responsibility of preserving material and making it available to the world at large.

With generous funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, BAVC is developing a series of tools and curriculae related to furthering education and equity in the field of audiovisual preservation. To address both the urgency of preserving higher volumes of audiovisual content, and for broadening the field of preservationists to make it more diverse and inclusive, our Community-Based Preservation Education and Training plan proposes to offer the following:

  • Online instructional videos
  • A fellowship program consisting of hybrid-online classes, hands-on workshops, and career development opportunities
  • One year-long fellowship to a post-graduate preservationist at BAVC. 

Three asian children wearing colourful jackets are ridnig a carnival ride. The ride is just out of frame.
BAVC plans to use this opportunity to develop a more diverse pipeline of preservationists – from beginner to advanced levels of training. Our experience in the field of training and supporting media makers has taught us the importance of inclusion, from the “ground up”. It’s essential for media makers and preservationists to reflect or have experience with the stories, cultures, and artistic practices that they are engaged with. 


Below is a collection of workshops and webinars that BAVC has held to further technical education in the field. Stay tuned for more information about our classes and fellowships!



DPS-575 Workshop: Understanding the device, how to use it, and creating audio terminal blocks

During this workshop Morgan Morel, BAVC’s Preservation Manager, will go over some of the main features and quirks of the unit, and then focus on one of the biggest hurdles to using the unit: The audio terminal blocks. Rather than having typical audio connectors like XLR or RCA, these units use audio terminal blocks. That means that in order to hook up the audio you’ll need to strip wires and customize-build your own connectors. With the correct tools and some patience anyone can do it, and we are holding this workshop to give you what you need to utilize these units in your own preservation lab!

Read more about the workshop and watch the video here



Intro To Soldering and Troubleshooting for AV Archivists

Square graphic that says "Intro To Soldering and Circuits

Replacing electronic components and tinkering with mechanical parts can be a tricky task, but if you have the tools, training, and some practice it can be done by almost anyone! As usual, the best way to get good at something is to do it with some guidance. BAVC has partnered with Memory Lab at the DC Public Library to create this video workshop to walk through the process of soldering a simple PCB kit. The kit we used is a "xr2206 function generator" that can be purchased for under $15 from various online vendors. During this workshop you'll learn how to solder and remove electrical components, how to test electrical components, and the basics of using an oscilloscope.

Read more about the workshop and watch the video here