Reel Priorities: Creating a Film Preservation Plan

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While general opinion is that every movie is available on one streaming service or another, librarians and archivists know all too well how many film reels are waiting in the wings to be preserved and eventually made accessible. Thankfully, many institutions are looking to preserve their material, but how do you confidently know which element to choose if there is not a dedicated film archivist on staff? How does one learn if a print is unique and therefore warrants preservation? If given the preservation green light, where should you start? This presentation will provide a basic understanding of film elements as well as supply a preservation plan to help kick start any “one day” projects, especially for those often-overlooked genres of industrial, educational, and other non-commercial films.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this class, students will be able to:

Identify film bases, gauges, format, and common defects
Describe film production elements and generations
Explain the history of film preservation as well as current practices
Outline how to find funding opportunities, as well as research steps to submit stronger grant proposals


Rachel Del Gaudio is the Film Preservation Manager for George Blood LP. She worked for the Academy Film Archive before shifting to the moving image section of the Library of Congress for 12 years. As chair of the Association of Moving Image Archivists’ Nitrate Committee, she is an authority on nitrate film and its surrounding regulations. A proponent for uplifting ignored aspects of film history, Rachel is the founder of the newly organized Faded Shadows, which among other things oversees a Flickr page dedicated to identifying Unidentified Films. is the founder of FromThePage. In 2005, he began developing one of the first web-based manuscript transcription systems. Released as the open-source tool FromThePage, it has since been used by libraries, mus

State library and/or archives agency; Network/consortia; Public library; Academic library: 4 year and graduate; Special Library; Museum; Academic library: 2 year; Government library; Archives; Historical Society/Site; Special collections
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