I think there are two potential contributing factors. One may be that this vitally important work is only being seen on a project basis and not as a longer-term institutional investment.

Another, however, is the ability or lack thereof to add new full-time lines when everyone is competing for pieces of a pie that's not getting bigger, with the occasional hiring freeze to boot. Adding a full-time preservationist may come at the price of giving up another position. I believe my own current position was created in exchange for three graduate assistantships that the department had to give up. On the bright side, I can still occasionally can introduce myself with "Hi, I'm three graduate assistants!"

It can be done, but there has to be a lot of institutional/political will to make it a priority among everyone else's priorities.


-----Original Message-----
From: ARSC Library and Archives Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Richard L. Hess
Sent: Thursday, March 23, 2017 1:54 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: A/V preservation jobs

Hi, Nathan,

The vast majority of interesting projects that I see are either funded by re-release budgets or by grants. I THINK at least some organizations see A/V preservation as finite when the tapes are all done, there is no more job. I don't know for sure, but just my observations from being on the outside looking in for almost the last two decades.

Another perspective is that for many institutions, the preservation of their holdings does not have a matching revenue stream. In fact some archives I know are choosing (a) to digitize a limited amount of their holdings--those that would likely be requested or (b) to do adequate but not superior digitization efforts due to lack of funding.



On 2017-03-23 1:39 PM, Nathan Coy wrote:
> As an avid watcher of the job market in the A/V preservation world and 
> the library field at large I am curious on thoughts about why A/V 
> centric jobs seem to be primarily term positions while many other 
> fields of library work aren't. If there truly is no shortage of work 
> to be done in the same way there is no shortage of work to be done in 
> cataloging, why then are significantly more (and more professional 
> level) jobs that are permanent in the cataloging field as opposed to 
> A/V preservation work? Is this attributed to lack of advocacy on part of professional organizations?
> Managers involved in financial decision making? Organizations able to 
> get grant money for A/V and thus creating a cycle of term funding and 
> hoping from project to project and institution to institution? I am 
> genuinely curious about perspectives from individuals working in 
> several different capacities. It seems this is a problem in the 
> archival field (as I understand it an issue raised at the SAA 
> convention somewhat recently about generational advocacy) in general, 
> but is even more acutely present in A/V specific work as can be attested to through a survey of job advertisements.
> If this is the case, is promoting the field as a profession while not 
> supporting it organizationally problematic?
> Thanks,
> Nathan Coy
Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada                             647 479 2800
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.