Thursday, April 9, 2009
The Digital Art collection at the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art is a eclectic mix of moving image art installations and interactive/visual art documentation that is in desperate need of both long-term preservation planning and immediate preservation action. The very nature of the materials already places it in a precarious situation in the way of long-term preservation. There is little that we know about how digital objects will behave in the future. The actions which are known to help safeguard these objects lay in the areas of documentation and migration. Many of the digital files included in the digital art collection are in file formats that may not last much longer. The files formats require constant research by a trained digital librarian. This very librarian could also take custody of creating a metadata document that documents all static elements of the objects in hopes of tracking any detrimental changes that may occur within the collection. The librarian need not be hired full time but grant funds could start a short term project that would lead to the education of staff members already in place. Immediately, the collection is in need of money to rehouse and properly store all of the physical media. Many of the original videotapes are in danger of become unplayable and the DVDs/CDs are in need of updates in their quality. A separate storage area must also be purchased to house the many copies of collection materials. These basic changes can make a large impact on this small collection. Many do not realize how little can be done to better the health of a collection. Your grant funds would impact this collection not only now but throughout the life span of the collection. Digital objects are becoming more and more prevalent in all collections but little is known about their preservation. The rehousing, storage, and documentation of the digital art collection at the Blanton Musuem of Art can be the first step for this type of preservation.