Cinema Studies
For Students:

Kristin MacDonough, Bobst Library - Video At Risk, Funded by the Mellon Foundation, Spring 2012

The Video at Risk project developed from a previously Mellon funded survey of the circulating video collection conducted between the summer of 2005 and the summer of 2006. It addresses the key concerns in the preservation of circulating video collections broached by the previous study. Specifically, to research the risk of scarcity and the ability of libraries to replace these items as well as develop best practices from a legal standpoint. The main internship responsibility was searching items deemed uniquely held by the NYU Avery Fisher Center on the OCLC WorldCat database. Their uniqueness was determined by the title's availability through other universities or institutions in VHS format. Thus far, only about one third of the titles searched for have come up as uniquely held by AFC. In many cases, the AFC titles were incorrectly described as 'unique' since the title was available in other locations under the same OCLC call number. In other cases, the NYU listing was the only item under the call number but subsequent searches of the distributor, a similar title, or contributors yielded other results under different OCLC numbers, not making them as unique as first thought. This raises the question as to why these items are considered uniquely held by AFC when many of them clearly are not.


Other internships tasks with this collection included the editing of a Video at Risk legal document regarding guidelines for reformatting circulating video collections. While the copyright document was complete, the purpose editing it was to break up the information and make it more approachable for those unfamiliar with legal terminology. The lawyer contracted to write the document recommended a quantifiable study to assess risk of deterioration due to age and use. Writing up the methodology behind the study, which would measure dropout was another assignment.