Just wanted to quickly add that there's a new Digital Library Federation (DLF) working group that is focusing on labor issues in digital libraries, archives, and museums - These are exactly the kind of issues that this group will be engaged in discussing, but it is just now organizing and they haven't met yet. If you're interested in joining the discussion, much of it will happen in the Google Group -!forum/dlf-labor-working-group. 

Many of us are or were in grant-funded, finite positions, some that led to permanent employment and some not. I'm particularly interested in the set of ethics statements that we can hopefully get DLF to endorse and push to library administrators so that they do consider the unique issues around contingency and precarity.


Sandy Rodriguez
Digital Special Collections Coordinator
University of Missouri-Kansas City
326C Miller Nichols Library | 5100 Rockhill Road | Kansas City, MO 64110-2499
p: (816) 235-2229 | f: (816) 333-5584 | e: [log in to unmask]

-----Original Message-----
From: ARSC Library and Archives Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Nathan Coy
Sent: Thursday, March 23, 2017 2:36 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIB] A/V preservation jobs


  "I THINK at least some organizations see A/V preservation as finite when the tapes are all done, there is no more job"

I think this is a really useful observation about ways we talk to decision makers about the work. Clearly recordings are still being made, maybe even more widely so, so if that's case it's a matter of it not be done but just but also just another format type to add to the list of preservation intervention. Also, it sure seems like there are a lot of tapes to still do, with people interested in that area. More than machines, parts, and repair people to keep them going. I'm not sure the incentives exist though for people to enter the analog machine repair field? That is another aspect I've been thinking about a lot lately (Not as a personal career path, but as a need for the field).

the gig economy

historically part of media production but not libraries, although, outsourcing to vendors is part of historical library process (binding, etc).

I also am of the position that if we go with the gig economy, it needs organized labor, gig economies needs to potentially pay more  (or some other benefits) than the permanent positions due to job insecurity and associated relocation costs, etc. But if the gig economy provides less, to employers it provides the allure of cheap work that has ramifications for fields tied to it. If senior and previous generations actively are engaged in devaluing labor in the fields they manage, they are actively harming subsequent generations and perhaps any associated fields. This is one of the things I personally find sad about our current time and the differences that are appearing in the workplace between generations in the workplace at least partially as a consequence of management philosophy. It seems many of the people working media preservation either go the library school or MIAP route, neither of which seemingly advertise the associated fields as a gig field, or the professional organizations for that matter, but I stand to be corrected on this generalization. In libraries I see a lot Gen Xers (and
prior) being in permanent positions (for quite some time, perhaps at entry to the field) but millennials not being offered the same opportunities.

I also am willing to admit to being susceptible to a certain amount of Wishful vs. Is thinking. That said I don't think it invalidates some of these positions.


On Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 11:54 AM, Richard L. Hess <[log in to unmask]>

> 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.
> Cheers,
> Richard
> 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.