Management: Preserving, Maintaining, and Weeding Materials
Once the collection is in place, it's time to think about maintenance, preservation, and de-selection.
Preserving the Collection
Preservation has become an important consideration in maintaining effective technology-rich collections. Films, audiotapes, and videotapes produced more than a few years ago are already showing signs of wear. Many old films and television programs are lost forever because people weren't aware of the importance of preservation. While digital technology won't experience the same problems as film and tape technology, other preservation issues exist. For example when a website goes down, is the information lost forever? Without standards for digital archiving older documents may be exist, but they may not be able to be retrieved. Could you open an old VisiCalc spreadsheet created on an old TRS80 computer? Probably not.
Whether you're concerned about developing an archival collection or just want to maintain your current holding, explore the following links pages to learn more about this important area of media librarianship.
- Video Preservation from CoOL, a project of the Preservation Department of Stanford University Libraries - links
Preservation by the PARS Recording and Photographic Media Committee
of the American Library Association - links
- Film, Preservation and Cultural Organizations from National Film Preservation Board, Library of Congress - links
Maintaining the Collection
Maintaining a vital audio and video collection requires ongoing attention. Explore Nonprint Media Preservation: A guide to Resources on the Web by Katherine Pennavaria from C&RL News, September 2003, 64(8).
If you circulate lots of videotapes or DVDs, you might consider a professional level video cleaning machine. For example, you might want to explore the RTI videotape cleaning & analyzing equipment. There's also an RTI machine for DVDs.
Audio and Videotape Repair and Replacement
Video and audio cassettes wear out. They can easily be wrinkled or crunched in the tape player. Too much tension can shut down the player and break the tape. Cassette players and tapes should be cleaned periodically. You can buy video head cleaners for your player at video stores or online suppliers such as Brodart.
As VHS collections mature, repairing videotapes becomes a growing issue. If you find that a videotape has snapped, you need to decide whether to repair or replace it. First, consider a repaired videotape a temporary solution or an option for tapes that are rarely used.
First, determine whether the tape is worth repairing. If it's simply snapped or unwound, you may want to repair it. NEVER tape it together using scotch tape! The adhesive with melt and ruin your player! You should use a professional tape splicing kit. These kits have specially formulated repair tape to fix magnetic Mylar tape.
Second, locate the place that needs to be repaired. If the cassette contains screws, open the case. If there are no screws, it's better to try to repair the tape without breaking the case. If the case breaks, you can buy a videotape replacement shell. Bring both ends out of the door opening.
Third, use a videotape slicing kit to repair the tape. It's important that you place the slice on the side of the tape that will NOT press directly on the roller.
Finally, it's really better to replace rather than repair a tape. If you repair the tape using a splicing kit, we recommend you only run the repaired tape through your player once and copy it to another cassette. Every time you play the video, you're using the risk of damaging the video heads on your player.
Use the following links to locate audio and videotape splicing kits:
- Splicing Tape & Blocks for Audio and Video Repair from Tape Center
- Videotape Repair Care Products from TekMedia
For people in Indiana, try suppliers like Central Indiana Marketing, Columbus and B&A Electronics, Terre Haute for more information and assistance.
CD and DVD Issues
Many people advocated a move away from tape toward CD and DVD technology because of durability issues. However, some libraries are reporting problems with DVDs after only a few uses. Although these may be scratches, a new trend is toward DVDs that can only be played on a limited number of players before "self-destructing". This trend has many implications for libraries.
Generally, CDs and DVDs are very durable. Handle discs by their edge and center hole only. Clean them with a soft, clean, lint free cloth. Water or disc cleaner can also be used. Wipe out from the center to the edge. For severe problems, try the CD/DVD/Game Doctor.
and Handling of CDs and DVDs from the National Institute
of Standards and Technology (NIST) - report examines the
life-span of the medium, best practices for storage, environmental
conditions affecting them (not including your patrons' children
and dogs), and cleaning techniques.
Deselecting audio and video materials is an important part of collection development.
The skills used to weed a book collection are similar to a media collection. However keep in mind that media collections often require special equipment. When the equipment is no longer available, it's difficult to justify keeping the media.
General Weeding Materials
- Weed It!
- Weeding Library Collections: A Select Annotated Bibliography from ALA
- Weeding the Collection
- Weeding the Library Media Center Collections
Skim CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries. How can this be applied to media collections?