Call for Proposals: Safeguarding and Activating Digital Video Information in Art Museums

In today’s digital media landscape, video has assumed an increasingly central role in supporting both the inner workings and outward-facing activities of many arts institutions. With regular users numbering in the hundreds of millions, video streaming portals like YouTube have particularly incentivized museums to generate content related to their exhibitions, performances, events and lectures. Sharing these videos online offers organizations the chance to reach new potential audiences while also fulfilling their educational directives. Meanwhile, digital media such as artist interviews and installation videos often serve vital functions within museums, providing staff with the tools they need to properly conserve and display complex artworks. While access to these materials is typically limited, they nevertheless hold great documentary value, at times containing otherwise unpublished information about the artists and artworks represented in museum collections. Whether intended for public or internal use, both these forms of digital video content represent fundamental components of institutional memory and deserve to be safeguarded for future access. But implementing effective storage and access infrastructures for digital video can prove daunting, especially for museums equipped with limited funding and staff. From navigating issues of copyright to weighing the costs of storage scalability in digital asset management systems, cultural organizations must contend with major challenges as they strive to activate and preserve their digital media. Hosted by the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) and organized in connection with the National Digital Stewardship Residency for Art Information (NDSR Art), this panel will provide a space for archivists, librarians, digital preservationists, and specialists in the field of audiovisual production to share their experiences working with digital video assets in the context of art museums and other cultural heritage institutions. Interested participants are invited to submit proposals for case studies, lightning talks, or presentations on any topic they believe to be relevant to discussion, but may consider the following:

  • Balancing the technical requirements for audiovisual preservation against institutional needs for low implementation and maintenance costs
  • Designing online access environments for digital video content
  • Building digital storage and access systems with multi-tiered access restrictions
  • Streamlining audiovisual production workflows for newly-generated museum content
  • Establishing best practices for appropriate technical and descriptive metadata
  • Methods for exerting control over the copying, downloading, and sharing of web-based digital media

The panel will be open to the public and held at METRO on January 31st from 4:00 to 6:00pm. To be considered, please submit a proposal of three hundred words or less by no later than December 17, 2018 to Jean Moylan, panel moderator and NDSR Art resident at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum: