Almost daily, my position involves cataloging of some kind. I am currently caught up with the backlog of most of the traditional media for cataloging although new items come in regularly. Cataloging at the moment mostly focuses on the thousands of archived videotapes in storage. Most of these are Betacam SP or Digi-Beta videotapes but there are also a large variety of other video formats. Besides the various video formats to deal with is the problem of having masters, dub-masters, sub-masters, and the video elements for each of them.
Once I can arrange for a shipment of 3 pallets of materials from our out-of-state storage facility, I will be cranking out cataloging on several hundred video items per week depending upon the amount of distraction from other duties. A cloud of uncertaincy hangs over this project, however, as I stated in my last post. Only time will tell how this plays out. Since I don’t know how or when “the powers that be” will decide on the fate of the videotape archives, I will have to proceed as previously planned. Hopefully, the matter for discussion will not be shelved and left hanging as has frequently been the situation in the past.
A side note is that I learned when I first began that our television studio has masters and dub-masters but no protection masters kept off-site in case of a disaster. Although I have addressed this issue with management, there seems to be no earnest desire to create a disaster plan. The IT Department does provide off-site back-up data storage, however. It’s hard to understand not wanting to protect the organization’s intellectual property considering the enormous resources it took to create. Of course, it comes down to immediate costs to management.
Thinking about the non-traditional media in our collections which one day must be organized and cataloged makes my head spin. Since it is not easy, will require significant time in planning, and there has been no management pressure to address these areas to date, I have put off this area of planning for some time but it must eventually be addressed. Two major areas are our 1) photographic print, contact sheet, negative, and CD-stored images and 2) our gift premium/memorabilia collections.
When I do have time to address these areas of our collections, I will conflicted over where to start first. I have no experience or training in non-traditional item cataloging. On-line research seems to show no unified way to handle the classification of these kinds of items. It appears that many libraries and museums use different types of accession numbering systems created uniquely for their institutions. Do do so seems quite time and cost intensive–good thing I don’t have to deal with it today.