My internship at the Barbara Goldsmith Preservation and Conservation Department Media Preservation Unit at NYU Bobst Library during the Fall of 2011 provided me with hands-on supervised experience in film inspection and preparation. The Media Preservation Unit handles all preservation and conservation needs for the unique film, video, and audio materials in the Library’s Special Collections. This semester, most of my time was spent processing film materials from the Larry Rivers collection at Fales Library and Special Collections.
The Larry Rivers collection’s film elements are composed of 16mm short reels of acetate and polyester film. The films were on 2” cores or metal reels containing broken splices and not placed in cans or containers. Many segments on the reels were taped together with old paper tape. The films were taken off their reels, stabilized, and rehoused in archival cans. The collection is complicated in that it contains sensitive information through the nature of Rivers’ artistic style. Because of this, the collection was also screened for content during inspection; any possible sensitive content was flagged to be consulted in more depth by the curator or archivists at Fales. The internship provided me with experience in learning about the workings of the NYU library and the place of the Media Preservation lab. The position allowed for an interaction with the Preservation Staff, the staff at the Special Collections in the library, with outside film and video preservation vendors, and with general library staff.