EMG Past Meetings

  • 2019, Uncasville, CT

  • 2018, Houston, TX

  • 2017, Chicago, IL

  • 2016, Montreal, Canada

  • 2015, Miami, FL

  • 2014, San Francisco, CA

  • 2013, Indianapolis, IN

  • 2012, Albuquerque, NM

  • 2011, Philadelphia, PA

  • 2010, Milwaukee, WI

  • 2009, Los Angeles, CA

  • 2008, Denver, CO

  • 2007, Richmond, VA

  • 2006, Providence, RI

  • 2005, Minneapolis, MN

  • 2004, Portland, OR

  • 2003, Arlington, VA

Electronic Media Group
AIC Annual Meeting 2002, Miami
Sunday, June 9, 2002
9:00 - 5:30
Related items of interest:
EMG Panel Discussion: Education Needs for Electronic Media Conservation (new!)
Abstracts from past EMG & EMSIG Meetings


Sunday June 9

Morning Session Chair: Hannah Frost, Stanford University Libraries

The Straw that Broke the Museum's Back? Collecting and Preserving Digital Art Works for the Next Century
Richard Rinehart, Digital Media Director,
Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archives,
University of California, Berkeley

Building the Archives of the Future: NARA's Electronic Records Archives Program

Adrienne M. Woods, Communications Specialist,
Electronic Records Archive,
National Archives and Records Administration


Dealing with Digital: The Effect of Electronic Media on the Preservation and Conservation Studies Program at the University of Texas

Karen L. Pavelka, Lecturer,
Preservation and Conservation Studies, The Center for the Cultural Record,
Graduate School of Library and Information Science,
University of Texas at Austin

Part II: The Effect of Electronic Information at the Preservation and Conservation Studies Program--The Student Experience

Marlan Green, PCS student specializing in the preservation of electronic information, Graduate School of Library and Information Science,
University of Texas at Austin.

Digital Imagery of Works of Art; A collaborative initiative from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Harvard University Art Museums

Ron Spronk, Associate Research Curator,
Straus Center for Conservation,
Harvard University

Question and Answer Session


Afternoon Session Chair:Mitchell Hearns Bishop, Getty Conservation Institute

Using the Digital Scanning Camera, Theory and Practice

Michael Collette, President, Robin Myers, Technical Consultant,
Better Light, Inc. San Carlos, CA,

Digital Documentation in Conservation Practice: Thoughts on Transitional Guidelines

Dan Kushel, Art Conservation Department,
State University College at Buffalo

Conservation Driven Laser Scanning, 3-D Imaging and Replication of Maya Sculpture

Barbara Fash, Research Associate, Hrdy Visiting Curator,
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology,
Harvard University


Permanence of Digital Printing Media: Update June 2002

Henry Wilhelm,
Wilhelm Imaging Research Inc.

Imaging Question and Answer Session
Tim Vitale, Preservation Associates

EMG Business Meeting

Outgoing Chair, Tim Vitale

Electronic Media Group

AIC Annual Meeting 2001, Dallas

Saturday & Sunday, June 2-3, 2001
9:00 - 5:30

Saturday, June 2

Preserving Websites
Session Chair: Jill Sterrett

Rushing Toward the Future: Views from the Preservation Fast Track
Mona Jimenez, Media Consultant and visual artist

Collections Care: Developing Conservation Strategies for Digital Media
Pip Laurenson, Sculpture Conservator of Electronic Media and Kinetic Arts


Coffee Break


Websites Preservation Panel Discussion
Case-Study: 01010:Art in Technological Times website (SFMOMA exhibition: March 3-July 8, 2001
Moderator: Jill Sterrett, EMG Program Chair

Mona Jimenez, Media Consultant and Visual Artist, New York City
Benjamin Weil, Curator of Media Arts, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Pip Laurenson, Conservator of Electronic Media and Kinetic Arts, Tate Gallery
Paul Messier, Conservator, Boston Art Conservation
Steve Dye, Media Technical Manager, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Lunch (on your own)


Digital Media as Tools of the Conservator
Session Chair:Will Real

JAIC Online: From XML to HTML via XSLT with lots of #@%* in between)
John Burke, Chief Conservator, Oakland Museum of California

Updates on Permanence of Digital Printing
Henry Wilhelm and Mark McCormick-Goodhart, Wilhelm Imaging Research Inc.

Imaging at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco
Bob Futernick, Acting Deputy Director, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco


Coffee Break


NCPTT's Efforts in Digital Information Preservation and Access
Mary Carroll, Information Management Director, NCPTT

On the Development of Two Conservation-Based Websites: Albumen Photography and Lorain City History
Tim Vitale, Preservation Associates, Emeryville and Oakland, CA


Business Meeting


Sunday, June 3

Digital Discussion Group
Session Chair:Tim Vitale

Having reached consensus at the 2000 EMG Meeting that documenting conservation treatment by digital means is acceptable conservation practice, this year's discussion will focus on the merits of the various file formats used for the preservation of text and images. Image file formats (JPEG, TIFF and PSD) are fairly fixed, but the PDF file wrapper will allow better housekeeping and application of metadata to those files. Holding text files over long periods is much more problematic. Best practice may be to convert text documents into components held in a database. When required, the components can be recombined into any number of possible report combinations. Talks will cover the use of PDF file wrapper and databases is in practice today by preservation professionals. We will hear from advocates and critics.

Overview: File Preservation Strategies
Tim Vitale, Conservator of Paper and Electronic Media, Preservation Associates

Use of the Database Format for Storing and Accessing Textural Data
Bob Futernick, Assistant Director, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco


Coffee Break


Use of XML, XSML and Databases for Conservation Documentation
John Burke, Chief Conservator, Oakland Museum of California

Use of PDF Format for Conservation Documentation
Mark McCormick-Goodhart, Wilhelm Imaging Research Inc.

Comparison of PDF and XML for Data Storage
Walter Henry, Lead Analyst, Stanford Library

11:50 until end (not more than an hour)
Discussion: Longevity of Digital File Formats

John Burke Chief of Consevation, Oakland Museum of California
Bob Futernick, Associate Director, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco
Walter Henry, Lead Analyst, Preservation Department, Stanford University Library
Mark McCormick-Goodhart, Research, Wilhelm Imaging Research
Tim Vitale, Conservator, Preservation Associates

AIC Annual Meeting 2000, Philadelphia
Sunday & Monday, June 11-12, 2000

9:00 - 6:00

EMG Session 1 Sunday, June 11
Session Chair: Will Real or Walter Henry

9:00-9:30 Sharing the Experience: The Building of a Successful Online/Onsite Exhibit
Scott Sayre
Ed.D Director of Media & Technology, Interactive Media Group, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Joan Gorman
Senior Paintings Conservator, Uppermidwest Conservation Association, Minneapolis, MN
9:30-10:00 Imaging Zapgruder: Film Conservation Issues in the Digital Age
Joseph Barabe
Director of Scientific Imaging, McCrone Associates Inc., Westmont, IL
Alan Lewis
Audiovisual Preservation Expert, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD
10:00-10:30 Tremendous Potential Meets Practical Problems: Saving Conservation Documentation Over Time
Howard Besser
UCLA School of Education & Information
11:00-11:45 Video Art: Origins, Practice, and Preservation
Mona Jimenez
Materia Media; Visual Artist and Media Arts Consultant, Brooklyn, NY;
Affiliated with Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC), San Francisco, CA
11:45-12:30 Audio Art: Origins, Practice, and Preservation
Steve Vitiello
Media Artist & Media Archivist, NYC
Formerly with Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), NYC

EMG Session 2 Sunday, June 11
Session Chair: Sarah Stauderman

1:30-2:00 Analog to Digital: The Current Debate on the Migration of Video to Digital
Jim Lindner
President Vidipax, NYC
Factors Associated with the Degradation and Failure of Magnetic Tape
Jennifer Hodgeman
Conservator, National Library of Australia, Canberra, Australia
Ian Gilmour
Manager, Research and Technical Services, ScreenSound Australia, Canberra, Australi
Digital Frontiers: Collecting in a Digital Age
Therese Mulligan
Curator of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
Identification of Iris and other Digital Print Formats
Martin Jurgens
Queen's University, Kingston, ON
Recent Findings on the Fading of Digital Prints
Henry Wilhelm
Wilhelm Imaging Research, Inc. Grinnell, IW
Mark McCormick-Goodhart
Wilhelm Imaging Research, Inc. Grinnell, IW

EMG Business Meeting
Meeting Chair: Paul Messier

Election Results
By-laws Changes
EMG's Role in the Membership's Data Storage
New Business from the Floor

EMG Session 3 Monday, June 12
Session Chair: Paul Messier

Case Study: Image Services at the National Library of New Zealand
Mark Strange
Conservator of Photographs, National Library of New Zealand, Wellington, NZ
Paradigm Shift: The Relationship Between Bandwidth and Conservation of A/V Materials
Jim Lindner
President, Vidipax, NYC
Digital File Migration
Harrison Eiteljorg
Director, Archaeological Data Archive Project, Center for the Study of Architecture, Bryn Mawr College
Documentation Database Design and Implementation
Anna Stenstrom
Senior Conservator, Goldsmith Conservation Laboratory
Marc Reeves
Head Goldsmith Conservation Laboratory, New York Public Library
The Importance of Developing Administrative and Structural Metadata Standards for a Common File Storage Architecture
Merrilee Proffitt
Digital Library Development Specialist, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA
Digital Photography vs. Traditional Photography: Where Do We Stand in June 2000?
(Including digital camera and printer demonstrations by Mark and Henry)
Henry Wilhelm
Wilhelm Imaging Research, Inc. Grinnell, IW
Mark McCormick-Goodhart
Wilhelm Imaging Research, Inc. Grinnell, IW

Session Chair: Tim Vitale

Panel Discussion: Digital Documentation in Conservation
Andrew Robb
Anne Stenstrom
Dan Kushel
Harrison Eiteljorg
Henry Wilhelm
Jim Lindner
Mark Reeves
Mark Strange
Matt Biederman
Merrilee Proffitt
Paul Messier
Scott Sayer
Steve Dye
and more Conservators to be recruited

Cleaning Techniques Used in Videotape Restoration: A Preliminary Study:Mary Baker and Sarah Stauderman

Technological Challenges in the Museum: Installation and Maintenance of the Multi-Media Work of Tony Oursler at the Williams College Museum of Art:Monica DiLisio Berry

Photography Conservation Training Via Videoconference: A Project Report:Irene Brückle and Paul Messier

The Development of a Paint Cross Section Database:Bradford Epley

Using Radio Telemetry For Light, UV, Temperature and Humidity Monitoring:Martin Hancock

Working Digitally: A Photographer in the 90's:Stephen Johnson, Stephen Johnson Photography

Digital Techniques for Image Recovery Applied to Gelatin Glass Plate Negatives:Jill Koelling

Image Permanence and Care of Digitally-Produced Prints:Mark McCormick-Goodhart and Henry Wilhelm

Planning for and Costs of Digital Imaging Projects:Steven Puglia

Conservation Lessons Learned from the National Digital Library, Library of Congress; Preservation Implications of Large Digitization Projects:Ann Seibert, Mary Wootton, Alan Haley, Yasmeen Khan and Andrew Robb

Light Levels Used in Modern Flatbed Scanners:Timothy Vitale

Electronic Media Group
Inaugural Meeting,

St. Louis

Friday, June 11, 1999
8:30 - 5:30

H o m e |A b s t r a c t s |L i n k s & R e s o u r c e s

Related items of interest:

Abstracts from past EMSIG Meetings

EMG's Digital Discussion Group
Agenda for 1999

Mary T. Baker PhD., Polymer Chemist, Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education and Sarah D. Stauderman, Conservator, VidiPax

Cleaning Techniques Used in Videotape Restoration: A Preliminary Study

One of the most important steps in videotape restoration is cleaning. Conservation ethics demand that the least intrusive and reversible treatments be applied to original artifacts to return them temporarily or permanently to a restored state. Concerned about the efficacy and ethics of cleaning with polyester-based tissues, VidiPax™ worked with the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education (SCMRE) to determine the result of cleaning on original videotapes. 3/4 U-matic tapes supplied by the Smithsonian Institution were cleaned using the VidiPax™ technique and then examined using a Fourier Transform Infra-Red Spectrometer (FTIR) at SCMRE. Mary T. Baker, Ph.D., of SCMRE pioneered the application of this analytical technique. The results of this project indicate that the VidiPax™ cleaning method using tissues is a non-invasive technique which does not alter the chemical make-up of the polyurethane binder. This talk described the FTIR as an analytical tool, the results of the trial run, and implications for cleaning techniques generally used in the videotape restoration community.

Monica DiLisio Berry, Associate Conservator, Williamstown Art Conservation Center

Technological Challenges in the Museum: Installation and Maintenance of the Multi-Media Work of Tony Oursler at the Williams College Museum of Art

This paper discussed the exhibitionIntrojection: Tony Oursler Mid-career Survey, 1976-1999. The exhibition originates at the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and includes a collaboration with the newly opened Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and the computer animation firm Kleiser-Walczak in North Adams. The show will travel to three other venues through 2001. Over the last twenty years, Oursler has incorporated single channel video, performance, video projection, sculpture, drawing, painting, and most recently CD-ROM into his multi-media installations which combine humor and technological wonder with cultural commentary. Issues regarding loans, equipment, installation, maintenance, and security within the museum were addressed.

Irene Brückle, Assistant Professor, Paper Conservation, Art Conservation Program, State University College at Buffalo and Paul Messier, Conservator, Boston Art Conservation

Photography Conservation Training Via Videoconference: A Project Report

As is true for other areas of conservation education, the training of photograph conservators balances several areas of theoretical learning with various practical exercises and hands-on experiences. These latter skills, which include photograph identification and examination are usually integrated into an academic teaching schedule that allots extensive direct contact times between educators and students. While this format of conservation education is certainly not to be dismissed lightly, the current project considers the possibilities of using long-distance learning-long tried and proven useful in other education disciplines-via an interactive video conference system. During the past academic year (1998/99), students at the Art Conservation Department at Buffalo State College communicated with Paul Messier, photograph conservator in private practice in Boston and department consultant, for a number of video sessions. We assessed the limitations and possibilities of this form of teaching and considered its future uses. The talk also examined the practical realities of video conferencing including equipment options and striking a balance between image quality and cost.

Bradford Epley, Post-Graduate Intern, Hamilton Kerr Institute, University of Cambridge

The Development of a Paint Cross Section Database

Over the past 20 years the Hamilton Kerr Institute at Cambridge University has accumulated a collection of 4500 paint cross section samples generated through the treatment of paintings. A database project was designed to improve the access to these samples and facilitate their utilization as a study tool for both students of the Institute as well as other researchers. The database contains images of each cross section sample. However, as database searches based on the content of images are of a complexity beyond normal database development, a detailed verbal description of each sample is required. While the verbal conventions used to describe the subject matter of a painting may be generally understood, it is with considerably more difficulty that words have been used to systematically describe the appearance of paint as a material. Therefore, one of the main focuses of the project was to begin to develop a standardized set of notations for describing paint cross sections. The presentation focused on how problems of standardised terminology were addressed in a specific database. Additionally, the project was placed within the general context of the need for standardized terminology to effectively disseminate technical information throughout the profession and take full advantage of the opportunities presented by electronic media.

Martin Hancock PhD., Technical Director, Hanwell Instruments. LTD.

Using Radio Telemetry For Light, UV, Temperature and Humidity Monitoring

Whereas previously the monitoring of the environment in museums and archives has been undertaken using a variety of individual analog devices, the advent of analog/digital conversion technology and the increased use of personal computers has allowed for the development of remote telemetry monitoring systems. Such systems facilitate the gathering of real-time data from dozens or hundreds of individual sensors, all with alarms activated, so that out of specification conditions can be comprehended immediately by engineering, security or conservation staff.

Temperature has always been easy to measure and advances in humidity sensors have made long term humidity measurements reliable. Light (Lux) levels are simple to measure and cumulative light measure allows the understanding of the true effects of visible light and UV exposure on a sensitive object. UV measurement is often focussed on the percentage of radiant energy (mW/l, milliwatts per lumen visible light) from a lamp or skylight, which is useful for fixed lighting arrangements, but knowing the absolute amount of UV energy (mW/M2 , milliwatts per meter squared) falling on a delicate object gives an accurate measure of potential damage. Knowing the amount of visible light and UV radiation prior to mounting an object is central to building the case for limiting exposure of an object.

Jill Koelling, Head Digital Imaging Laboratory, Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center, Nebraska State Historical Society

Digital Techniques for Image Recovery Applied to Gelatin Glass Plate Negatives

Digital imaging is hardly a new topic in the archive, museum, and library field. The speed at which this technology has been incorporated into our culture rivals that of photography itself. For the past several years, many institutions have started impressive scanning projects or have plans to do so in the near future. Therefore, this session was not designed to rehash the technical aspects of digital image creation. Rather, it highlighted the unexpected and often unrealized benefits of this amazing technology.

Digital technology allows damaged negatives to be electronically recovered. A common malady found in photographic collections are negatives turned bright yellow due to mercury iodide intensification. These negatives are very difficult to print in the darkroom, because the yellowed areas on the negative are virtually transparent. Many institutions gave up on these plates years ago, forgetting about them or in some cases disposing of them completely. Digital imaging offers a new solution. The scanner can record the subtle differences between tonal values in the affected areas of the image enabling information retrieval.

This same technology makes it possible to capture information in deep shadow areas of glass plate negatives, for example, and pull out details that are virtually impossible to reproduce using traditional darkroom means. 19thcentury glass plates hold many more shades of gray than any modern photographic paper, making it impossible to reproduce with the fidelity of materials available. Today's scanners have the ability to see that information and make it available in a digital file. Using this technology, one can open the door of a settlement dwelling from the 19thCentury and explore its construction, and even its interior. Recovering information from gelatin glass plates heretofore not retrievable for researchers is now possible and affordable.

Steven Puglia, Preservation and Imaging Specialist, National Archives and Records Administration

Planning for and Costs of Digital Imaging Projects

This presentation focused on issues relating to the costs for digital imaging projects, including the various costs for projects, such as scanning, indexing, quality control, etc., and the costs to maintain digital data after the scanning is completed. The intent was to provide practical information that will facilitate the planning of digital conversion/access projects. Information about the National Archives' Electronic Access Project was also presented.

Ann Seibert, Mary Wootton, Alan Haley, Yasmeen Khan and Andrew Robb, Conservator Liaisons to the National Digital Library of the Library of Congress

Conservation Lessons Learned from the National Digital Library, Library of Congress; Preservation Implications of Large Digitization Projects

The National Digital Library Program is a largely privately funded program within the Library of Congress with a goal to digitize5 million primary source items and make them available to the public within a five year period. Thus far, the primary audience for the program has been the K-12 community of users. Heretofore, this user group has not been actively served by the Library, but they are high users of these materials on the Internet. The major concept which shapes the NDL program is that once users experience primary source materials in digitized form, they will be stimulated to go and search out the books that will tell them more about what they learned on the Library's Internet site. In reality, the response from life-long learners, researchers and the media has been impressive as well.

Access has evolved as the primary goal of digitization, although digitization as a tool for preservation, continues to be explored. Currently digitization as an emerging preservation strategy for materials that must be reformatted to be preserved, such as magnetic media is being undertaken by the Library.

Collections have been selected for conversion based on their intrinsic, historic and visual interest, However collection use, size, security and ease of handling by readers are also selection criteria. Collections representing the many formats held by the Library, currently are in production: autograph manuscripts, photographs, sound recording, moving film and microfilm. There are posters and prints and drawings and cartoons, sheet music and images of three-dimensional objects. Staff of the Conservation Division has been involved since the program began, to explore where digitization might serve the goals of preservation and to specify care of the Library's collections during all stages of the conversion process. It has been the task of Conservation to ensure that materials are physically prepared properly before the scanning and handled carefully to minimize the risks to original artifacts.

The aims of the National Digital Library Program and of the Preservation Directorate were not considered antithetical or competitive. We developed a relationship that combines the expertise and knowledge that we had to offer each other. Early experiences with American Memory, the precursor to the National Digital Library program, were the palimpsest for the way the work would progress. It has been a successful collaboration and one which continues to grow and change just as the technology continues to change.

This presentation explored the ways in which this relationship between the conversion operations and conservation were formed. Conservation has been actively involved in training NDL program and vendor staff and providing guidance for the handling of materials. In order to do accomplish test tasks, we have had to learn the basics of the digital technology. We examined how conservation needs and requirements were integrated into the specifications for contracts, evaluation of equipment and processes, and work flow of the National Digital Library. And finally we looked at what the future may hold for such relationships as we continue to evolve with new technologies and new approaches in preservation.

Timothy Vitale, Paper and Photograph Conservator & Preservation Consultant, Preservation Associates Oakland, CA; and Intermuseum Conservation Assoc., Oberlin , OH

Light Levels Used in Modern Flatbed Scanners

It has been said that scanning is equivalent to exposing an object to a day's, or a year's worth of sunlight. This was shown to be not factual, and is impossible. Typical scanning exposures for today's flatbed scanners range from 0.0000009 to 0.0000386 Mlx-hrs (million lux hours). A day on a museum wall, at 15 lux, is about 0.000600 Mlx-hrs; a years worth of sunlight ranges from 115 to 290 Mlx-hrs. Most sensitive works of art on paper have a predicted usable life of 4.5 to 10 Mlx-hrs. Seven different flatbed scanners were evaluated on the floor of the Seybold Publishing 98 seminar in San Francisco, 1998, with the help of several manufacturers representatives. The data was gathered at 1 second intervals using a time-based light measurement instrument consisting of an Extech light sensor connected to a notebook computer equipped with a Pico (UK company) analog to digital converter and Picolog software.

Mark McCormick-Goodhart, Old Town Editions, Inc., Alexandra, VA and Henry Wilhelm, Wilhelm Imaging Research, In.c, Grinnell, IA

Image Permanence and Care of Digitally-Produced Prints

An overview of digital printmaking technologies with discussion of the roles of inks and media in the permanence of images, primary modes of deterioration, and strategies for long-term preservation.

Stephen Johnson, Stephen Johnson Photography

Working Digitally: A Photographer in the 90's

Johnson's digital photography methodology will be discussed. The talk focused on qualitative and quantitative comparison between film-based and digital photography from the perspective of the photographer. Starting in 1989, Johnson has explored computers as new photographic and design tools. At present, he is finishing work on a major new endeavor, the digital national parks project With A New Eye, using digital sensors to make his photographs rather than film.

Art, Conservation, and the World Wide Web
Robert Futernick

The Universal Preservation Format for Digital Archives: 1stYear Progress
Thom Shepard

IBM's Experience Imaging Works of Art
Fred Mintzer

Document Handling for Preservation Scanning
Steve Chapman

Humidification, Flattening and Mending of Iris Ink-Jet Prints
Andrew Robb

The Media Alliance Survey of Video Collections
Paul Messier

Documenting Video Image Recovery and Restoration
Jim Lindner

Electronic Media Special Interest Group's Second Session

Arlington, Virginia
Saturday, June 6, 1998

H o m e |M e e t i n g s |L i n k s & R e s o u r c e s


Art, Conservation, and the World Wide Web

Robert Futernick

Chairman of Conservation, Director of Collections Imaging

California Palace of the Legion of Honor

Lincoln Park, San Francisco, CA 94121

Recent advances in technology afford new opportunities for cultural institutions. Breakthrough imaging solutions, higher capacity computer storage, powerful database programs, and the Internet work together to provide a level of access to collections not previously possible. Because of a strong aesthetic sensibility and technical background, the conservator may be uniquely positioned and qualified to guide the institution toward a policy of preservation and access. In fact, conservation leadership can yield new opportunities for collection care while meeting other institutional goals. This talk describes the development and implementation of a comprehensive collection management program that combines conservation information and art history with digital images and web access for a large (110,000-item) collection of art.


The Universal Preservation Format for Digital Archives: 1st Year Progress

Thom Shepard

UPF Project Coordinator


125 Western Avenue, Boston, MA 02134

Sponsored by the WGBH Educational Foundation and funded in part by a grant (97-029) from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission of the National Archives, the Universal Preservation Format initiative advocates a platform-independent format for the long-term storage of electronically generated media. Our project's central goal is to work with representatives from standards organizations, hardware and software companies, museums, academic institutions, archives and library science communities to produce and publish a Recommended Practices document.

On September 22, 1997, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers assigned the UPF an official Study Group (ST13.14). Titled Requirements for a Universal Preservation Format and chaired by Dave MacCarn, Chief Technologist at WGBH and the architect of the UPF, the group first met to establish an agenda and to hash out a statement of objectives. On December 9th, Dave MacCarn and I attended the first SMPTE work-study forum for both archivists and engineers. We reported on feedback from various conferences where we presented UPF concepts and from user surveys. We learned that many institutions with analog collections/ archives are seeking clear technical standards before they migrate to new storage technologies. A preservation framework must be robust, allowing for certain types of metadata to be embedded with the media.


Digital Imaging of Art: Some IBM Experiences

Fred Mintzer

Manager, Image Library Applications

IBM T.J. Watson Research Center

P.O. Box 218, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598

Through partnerships to build digital libraries for the Andrew Wyeth collection, the National Gallery of Art (U.S.A.), the Vatican Library, the Hermitage, and other cultural institutions, IBM has accumulated a significant body of experience on digitally imaging art collections. Although each collection is truly unique, some shared challenges have emerged.

In this talk, the speaker will discuss some of those experiences and the issues they have uncovered, which include:

  • advantages of digital imaging for some specific situations,
  • methods for achieving high color fidelity,
  • protecting the original materials during capture, and
  • increasing capture volume.

Document Handling in Preservation Scanning

Steve Chapman

Preservation Librarian for Digital Initiatives

Preservation Center, Harvard University Library

Holyoke Center 821, Cambridge, MA 02138

This talk will outline issues related to adapting flatbed and book scanners for preservation scanning. When scanning flat paper and bound materials, document handling is as important as image quality and production. The speaker will describe Harvard's efforts to negotiate with scanning manufacturers to modify existing scanners for library applications. He will also review the handling guidelines that have been specified and followed in several relatively large-scale scanning projects.

Humidification, Flattening and Mending of IRIS Ink-Jet Prints

Andrew Robb


Conservation of Photographs

922 N. Ivy St, #2, Arlington, VA 22201

The ink sets used to make IRIS ink jet prints are known to be sensitive to moisture. Typical treatments involving moisture include humidification, flattening and mending with wheat starch paste and Japanese paper. These treatments were conducted on IRIS ink jet prints supplied by artists currently using the medium. The treatment outcomes will be compared and discussed.

Media Alliance Survey of Video Collections

Paul Messier, Conservator

Boston Art Conservation

60 Oak Square Avenue, Boston, MA 02135

Over the course of several days in July and August 1997, a preservation survey was conducted at six video and media arts collections in New York State. The shared characteristic among these sites is that their collections are stored almost exclusively on magnetic tape, a seriously flawed storage medium with preservation problems emerging in as little as ten years (depending on storage conditions and other factors). The survey presented a series of unique challenges as an attempt was made to apply traditional conservation survey protocols to collections of machine-readable media.

The most significant challenge to conventional survey practice was the fact that almost no direct assessment of video image quality / deterioration was made. This limitation is the result of many factors (which will be examined in the talk) and will likely emerge as a characteristic of future surveys of media arts collections. Aside from the disconcerting reality of conducting an art conservation survey without the ability to actually see the art, many points emerged where contemporary art conservation practice is directly applicable to machine-readable media, including issues regarding collections management, storage environment, etc. Further, the project resulted in numerous avenues by which the media arts field as represented by curators, collectors and artists can help refine and implement future conservation endeavors. Through this type of engagement, the professional practice of media arts conservation will gradually develop, thereby attracting the resources and expertise required to preserve the unique cultural assets like those examined at the six survey sites. This project was developed and administered through the Media Alliance and was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts through the Heritage and Preservation Program.


Documenting Magnetic Media Restoration

Jim Lindner, President


450 West 31st Street - 4th Floor - New York, NY 10001

Vidipax has developed a documentation system for it's magnetic media restoration process. The process has been used in actual production for more than 5 years with over 1000 jobs and tens of thousands of hours of media restored. This presentation will show the documentation process that is used as well as explaining some of the aspects of magnetic media restoration. We hope to solicit input from AIC members on our documentation process as well as enlightening attendees about some of the unique aspects of magnetic media restoration.

Video Art and The Chimera Complex - Salvation or a Curse?
Carol Ann Klonarides

An Institutional Approach to the Collections Care of Electronic Art
Jill Sterret & Justin Graham

Conservation Considerations for Electronic Media from the Collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum
James de Young

Shared Resources for Conservation Documentation
Michael Skalka

Preserving Electronic Data - An Active Archival Process
Harrison Eiteljorg

Preservation of Electronic Media - Where Are the Standards?
Franziska Fry

Electronic Media Special Interest Group's First Session

San Diego, California
June 13, 1997

H o m e |M e e t i n g s |L i n k s & R e s o u r c e s


Video Art and The Chimera Complex - Salvation or a Curse?

Carole Ann Klonaridesis an independent curator and producer of experimental documentaries on the arts. From 1991-95 she was the media arts Curator at The Long Beach Museum of Art in Long Beach California which houses a collection of over three thousand works of video art spanning a twenty five year history. She is currently teaching the history of video art in art schools and universities in Southern California and is working on public projects in urban contexts utilizing video art.


Since its origins as an art form, video art has been the unclaimed offspring of the art & technology movement and commercial television. This unique position offered a reprieve from the overbearing pressures of the commercial art market and television programming demands, enabling artists to work unhindered in the pursuit of experimental work. But with this freedom from the conventionality of the establishment video art remained marginal due to lack of recognition and validation. The chimerical effect of video, which initially attracted artists, has generally diminished with the onset of newer interactive technologies. Ironically, video art has become sanctified by museums and galleries - just as the pioneers of the medium are moving on. The ignorance of its history and seemingly absence of memory underscores the need for education and preservation of this important art form. It this ephemeral medium being reborn or on the brink of obsolescence?

Preserving Electronic Data - An Active Archival Process

Harrison Eiteljorg IIis a classical archaeologist specializing in the architecture of Athens. His major publications have been concerned with the archaic entrance to the Athenian Acropolis. Mr. Eiteljorg began using computer-aided design programs more than a decade ago and has since worked to expand the use of computer technology in archaeology, founding the Center for the Study of Architecture to archive CAD models and starting the Archaeological Data Archive Project to archive archaeological files.

Archaeology as a discipline is based on the careful recording of conditions found in the process of excavation. The records made on site determine our ability to understand the artifacts unearthed. Computers have become standard for record-keeping in the field, replacing paper, and record-keeping processes have become more sophisticated. However, the records have become not more secure but less, because computer files are so easily rendered useless. The Archaeological Data Archive Project is a response to the problems that threaten the utility of electronic data. An archive - using the Internet so that it can be a distributed one - has been established, but the work has just begun, both because so many records are still without a permanent home and because this archival process must be an active, on-going one.

Preservation of electronic media - where are the standards?

Franziska Freyis a research scientist at the Image Permanence Institute at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She holds a Ph.D. degree in Natural Sciences (Concentration: Imaging Science) from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. She worked for several years on a research project dealing with the digital reconstruction of faded color photographs. She is currently working on an NEH-funded project called Digital Imaging for Photographic Collections; Foundations for Technical Standards.

One of the major obstacles to the long-term preservation of electronic media is the lack of standards. Existing industry standards tend to be distillations of vendor responses to the imperatives of a competitive marketplace. As such, preservation is seldom a priority. Recently, however, a number of organizations have initiated responses to the need for electronic media standards designed to help assure future access. For example, the American National Standards Institute and the International Standards Organization (among others) have begun to address this challenge formulating committees to deal with such issues as image reconstruction the stability of digital hardcopy materials. The promise of broadly accepted standards is that institutions charged with the preservation of cultural material can embrace new technology while managing the inevitability of equipment and file format obsolescence.

Shared Resources for Conservation Documentation

Michael Skalka
Conservation Administrator, National Gallery of Art

Aneed exists to preserve treatment information held by private conservators and institutions. Such records provide working files and archives for conservators, curators and visiting scholars. Despite a reluctance to accept electronic media for creating permanent records, it is inevitable that conservators will increase their reliance on electronic record keeping. Preservation of these valuable records is a concern as the volume of material grows in terms of both quantity and technological complexity. Networked computers, such as the Internet and intranets, may offer a cost effective, practical solution to the dissemination and ultimately the preservation of these records.

An Institutional Approach to the Collections Care of Electronic Art

Jill Sterret &
Justin Graham
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Justin Graham is the Media Arts Program Assistant at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He is responsible for the research, installation and maintenance of the Media Arts artworks and programs.

Jill Sterrett is a paper conservator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She is one of the many conservators at SFMOMA who contributed to the discussion about care of the museum's media arts collection.

Collecting electronic art involves a number of unique preservation dilemmas. While it is important to study the preservation of videotape, it is critical to understand that the electronic artwork comprises more than a given video format - it includes other components such as monitors, projectors and playback units, to name just a few. The life of an electronic artwork can be understood as a fluid one - one that evolves as video formats change and/or components deteriorate or become obsolete due to age or market fluctuations. Conserving media works questions the degree to which they need to be maintained as much as reconstructed to a faithful state each time they are to be shown.

What is needed is an institutional memory which can recall a detailed account of the look, feel and intention of the piece and the institutional foresight to anticipate the future trajectory of its ongoing technological evolution. Preparing for the change and obsolescence of components, acknowledges that any steps taken are inherently temporary, and committing to a process of constant reassessment is central to the long-term care of such collections. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has already established a collections care program that can serve as a guide for other institutions who seek to preserve and exhibit electronic artworks.

Conservation Considerations for Electronic Media from the Collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum

James de Young
Senior Conservator Milwaukee Art Museum

James holds a bachelor of science in art from the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh with majors in painting and radio, television and film. For the past twenty years, he has been at the Milwaukee Art Museum where for the past 15 years he has held the title of Conservator specializing in the conservation of paper. He has received fellowship support for advanced training, notably studying at the Upper Midwest Conservation Association and with Keiko Keyes.

Electronic media is most often defined as magnetic and optical storage formats. The Milwaukee Art Museum has a collection of about 30 light sculptures comprised of what could also be defined as electronic media: neon, florescent, and incandescent lights, delay switches, light sensors, motors, wire, and speakers. The nature of these materials and their use results in consumption necessitating replacement. Obsolescence and manufacturer's modifications often lead to the sculptures being in a permanent state of disrepair or having the artist's intent seriously compromised. Examples of this evolution are presented and several options, including artists' and manufacturers' collaborations are discussed.