This summer I was fortunate to work in Buffalo, NY with at-risk video housed at the Poetry Collection, a Special Collection at the University of Buffalo. The Poetry Collection houses the world's largest collection of Anglophone poetry first editions and other titles, including valuable audiovisual material from many regional organizations including the Just Buffalo Literary Center and the Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center. In partnership with the Poetry Collection and Hallwalls, audiovisual collections, mostly composed of video items, were cataloged and assessed, preservation priorities were created, tape selection was conducted, and selected items were migrated to digital files for archiving and access through the Migrating Media project. Migrating Media is a consortium project to preserve the independent video collections of nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Western New York and was organized to address the need for a community based collaborative video preservation and digitization model for independent collections held at non-profit organizations. Materials from the Just Buffalo Collection at the Poetry Collection at UB were used as an initial case study in the Migrating Media project. Additionally, an item level inventory for the Just Buffalo AV Collection at UB and Collection Assessment reports for both the Just Buffalo AV Collection and the Hallwalls Video Collection at UB were also created.
Partners in the project involved a range of people in the area. Dr. Michael Basinski, Curator, Poetry Collection, UB, James Maynard, Assistant Curator, Poetry Collection, UB, and Nancy Nuzzo, Director, Music Library & Special Collections, UB were instrumental to the project. Carolyn Tennant, Media Arts Director, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Tammy McGovern, Interim Director/Education Director, Squeaky Wheel: Buffalo Media Resources and Jeff Martin, IMAP Director were also key to the supervision of the project. Lauren Chopra, Graduate Student, UB Library Sciences, assisted with the inventory and will continue to process video collections at the Poetry Collection in collaboration with the Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center.