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We have formed our first Strategic Media Access Resource Team (SMART) composed of graduate assistants Mike Lee, Anthony Guest-Scott, and Matt Hale led by Director of Media Preservation Services, Mike Casey. The purpose of SMART is to help units prepare their holdings for digitization and long-term storage. While the bumbling Agent 86 (often talking on his shoe phone) in the old television show Get Smart drew most of the laughs, we prefer to use the skilled and competent Agent 99 as the model for this work.

SMART work will focus on gaining basic physical and intellectual control over media holdings including tasks such as assigning unique numbers, adding barcodes, gathering basic descriptive and technical identifying information, and locating copies and accompanying documentation if they exist. This work will utilize existing metadata (such as shelf or call numbers) when available. Eventually, this team will also help with packing and transporting recordings to the preservation center as needed. We anticipate that units will vary in the amount and type of assistance they require from the SMART team.

Media Preservation Work at the Archives of Traditional Music

Survey Work at the ATM

First task for the team is to measure and count the holdings of the Archives of Traditional Music and Archives of African American Music and Culture for possible future transfer to the IU Libraries’ Auxiliary Library Facility (ALF). ALF provides a consistent 50°F and 30% relative humidity environment which will significantly extend the lifespan of magnetic tape materials. We are exploring the possibility of storing the audio and video holdings of a number of campus units in ALF—most of the motion picture film on campus is already there.

Shelves Ready for Storage at the ALF

Planning for ALF storage involves not only measuring and counting, but evaluating potential containers for each format in relation to available space in the ALF bays, determining how many items will fit in each container, and calculating how many storage bays are needed to house the collections. Preparing for an actual move into ALF would involve cataloging, boxing, banding, and barcoding, among other things. This work is done in close collaboration with ALF staff.

SMART will work with media-holding units on a variety of tasks via in-person visits, emails, and even phone calls. While we will use SMARTphones in our work, we promise to never use a shoe phone!

// Mike Casey

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