Preservation Terms and Definitions:  Publications, Resources and Links

Video Preservation Terms

Video Preservation: Glossary of Terms  by Rebecca Bachman
Originally published in 1996 for Playback 1996: Video Roundtable, a symposium organized by the Bay Area Video Coalition, the glossary was also published as part of Playback: A Preservation Primer for Video, Bay Area Video Coalition, 1998. To order this publication, see the BAVC  web site.

Obsolescence Ratings by Sarah Stauderman
A section of the Video Format Identification Guide. Terms such as "extinct", "critically endangered", and "threatened" are defined, and assigned to tape formats from 1956 to the present. The site is a project of the Electronic Media Special Interest Group of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

Magnetic Tape Storage and Handling: A Guide for Libraries and Archives. Dr. John W. Van Bogart Washington, DC: The Commission on Preservation and Access, June 1995. Appendices include a bibliography, glossary. The paper was a joint project of and can be ordered from the Council on Library and Information Services  (CLIR), Commission on Preservation and Access, and National Media Lab.

Glossary of Video Preservation terms

Glossary for Preservation Terms, assembled by IMAP

Consulting and Treatment Services

The following list of terms is adapted from the chapter "Definitions of Terms for Consulting Services and Treatment Services" in the Magnetic Media Preservation Sourcebook,  published by Media Alliance in 1998. Co-editors Mona Jimenez and Liss Platt defined common terms used for preservation/conservation to clarify how they had organized the entries. A description of the Sourcebook can be accessed on the web. To order a copy of the Sourcebook, contact Media Alliance.

Consulting Services
Appraisal - an evaluation of the value and/or use of a collection.

Cataloging - systems for arrangement and description of collections or tapes; or a means of logging visual/audio information contained on the media.

Collection assessment/surveys - assessments of the conditions and situations in which materials are stored and the physical characteristics of the objects themselves, with recommendations about preservation actions and priorities.

Collection management - consulting on how the collection is organized and cared for, may include systems for description, tracking, storage, handling, access and preservation.

Environmental surveys - assessments of the physical environment in which media are stored and handled, including such areas as temperature and humidity, air quality, environmental pollutants, and shelving.

Grant development/consultation - assistance in identifying funding sources for preservation, and in developing a fundable project, and/or developing or reviewing funding proposals.

Preservation project planning and development - assistance in developing an ongoing preservation program in the context of an organization's overall goals, activities and structures. May include such areas as budgets, work plans, procedures/manuals, and disaster planning and recovery.

Preservation project management - guiding, managing and/or carrying out a preservation project for an organization.

Preservation training - the design and/or delivery of training on preservation issues.

Storage facilities consultation - assistance with the design, construction and/or management of a storage facility.

Treatment services
Cleaning - treatment of the media to remove or reduce such things as dirt, dust, mold and other contaminants.

Inspection/evaluation - assessment and/or description of the physical characteristics of the media before or during the preservation process; may include assessment and the prioritization of strategies for a set of objects.

Re-mastering - reformatting a tape that exists in an obsolete or endangered format, recorded on obsolete/rare equipment, or is beyond its shelf life, to a contemporary format. Does not include standard duplication of contemporary formats, even when there is a format change.

Repair/restoration - treatment of the tape or housing, such as cracked or broken cases, problems with wind, treating crinkling, creases, or broken splices.

General Archival Terminology

Glossary of Archival Terms
Preserve, Inc publishes Dance Archives: A Practical Manual for Documenting and Preserving the Ephemeral Art which includes a glossary.

National Collection of Screen and Sound Glossary of Terms at ScreenSound Australia

Definitions of Conservation Terminology  describes typical terms used by conservators, defined by the AIC.
A/V Media Appraisal Nomenclature and Glossary. ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Resources Database, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY (1993).

Starting an Archive. Elizabeth Yakel. Chicago: Society of American Archivists and The Scarecrow Press, 1994. Designed for institutional administrators, archivists, and records managers. Provides both theoretical and practical approaches for the establishment of an archival program and discusses managerial, financial, and administrative implications involved. Includes descriptions of archival activities, samples of important archival policy documents and forms, and a current bibliography.

News Media Libraries: A Management Handbook. Barbara P. Semonche, ed. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1993. Includes chapter on television news libraries.


The International Association of Sound Archives (IASA)
IASA is a non-governmental organization affiliated with UNESCO and plans the publication of a Glossary of Technical Terms.

Association for Recorded Sound Collections
ARSC hosts a discussion list to facilitate the exchange of information on sound archives and promote communication among those interested in preserving, documenting, and making accessible the history of recorded sound. The list is sponsored by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) as a service to ARSC members and the archival community.

Sound: Theory and Practice A Narrative Glossary by Elisabeth Weis and John Belton, eds.
Provides historical definitions of sound-on-disc, sound-on-film (single system and double system), recording, and stereophonic technologies.

Media Reformatting

The Relationship Between Digital and Other Media Conversion Processes: A Structured Glossary of Technical Terms
Includes definitions of video and other electronic media as originals, storage mediums, and distribution and presentation technologies. It was published in August 1990 as part of an exploration of how emerging technologies can be used for preservation and access of other materials, such as paper and photographs. The glossary was written by M. Stuart Lynn and The Technology Assessment Advisory Committee to the Commission on Preservation and Access.

The Association of Cinema and Video Laboratories (ACVL) Handbook: Recommended Procedures for Motion Picture and Video Laboratory Services Glossary. Association of Cinema and Video Laboratories, compiler. Indexes to SMPTE test materials and SMPTE-sponsored standards and recommended practices, and a list of ACVL-member labs.