About Us

Preservation Unit 
425 Library, MC-522
UIUC Library
1408 West Gregory Dr.
Urbana, IL 61801

Conservation Lab 
Oak St. Library Facility
OSLF, 2nd Floor
809 South Oak Street
Mail Code 527
Champaign, IL 61820

Media Preservation

Media Preservation banner image 2

About Media Preservation at UIUC

The Media Preservation Program at the University Library is a new undertaking that seeks to expand the Preservation Unit’s traditional book and paper focus to include audiovisual material in a variety of formats. Sound recordings, motion picture film, and video tape formats are found throughout the holdings of the University Library and the University Archives. These valuable research materials are often at high risk of loss due to inherent instability of the recording media and obsolescence of the playback technologies.

The goal of the Media Preservation Program is to locate and assess the condition of these materials in order to prioritize them for preservation action. Once the priorities have been established, action can be taken to improve storage environments, clean and re-house original recordings, and digitize recordings for improved access and long-term protection of the originals, among other options.

Although the primary focus of the Media Preservation Program is the development of a strategy for audiovisual recordings on obsolete and/or deteriorating media, the care and handling of more modern formats is also a priority. Working together with collection curators throughout the library system, the Media Preservation Coordinator will develop policies to protect and prolong the useful lives of audiovisual items from the oldest technologies to the newest. Outreach and education initiatives will also be a priority as the program becomes more established.

For more information about the services offered by the Media Preservation Program please refer to our service statement.


Illinois Media Census

A collaboration between the University Library and the Center for Multimedia Excellence (CME), the University of Illinois Media Census aims to collect data on the time-based physical media held on the UIUC campus.

  • Phase One:  conducted spring 2011, collected valuable data and identified departments holding analog and digital media across the UIUC campus. Census Survey questionnaire available here.  Phase Two uses this data to begin a deeper examination of these and other currently unidentified collections.
  • Phase Two:  beginning summer 2012, the Media Preservation Program began oversight of Phase Two, focusing on time-based media held on physical carriers such as film, video, audio-tape, and optical media including CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays. More information about Phase Two of the Media Census is available at this link.


The work of the Media Preservation Coordinator is independent of the AvSAP Project currently being undertaken by the Conservation Unit, but the two efforts complement each other and allow for a productive interchange of ideas among the associated staff members.


Josh Harris, Media Preservation Coordinator
217.244.8555 office