Historical Context of Digital Preservation Technologies

In 2007, the Academy published a seminal report, The Digital Dilemma, which drew attention to the archiving and preservation challenges posed by the “digitalization” of filmmaking. As stated in that report,

“The Academy was founded to, among other things, represent the viewpoint of the actual creators of motion pictures and facilitate technological progress among the creative leadership of the motion picture industry. It is therefore the proper role of the Academy to spotlight this issue by bringing together the resources that produced this report, and to lead in the actions necessary to solve this dilemma.”

The report further noted that,

“As an organization historically concerned with the art rather than the business of motion pictures, the Academy is appropriately concerned primarily with the cultural consequences mentioned above. But because the business decisions that companies make about how to preserve their cinematic holdings, and about how much of them to preserve, have clear consequences for the art of motion pictures, this study falls very much within the Academy’s mission.”

Existing online forums, both specific to audiovisual materials preservation and in unrelated domains, are focused on different pieces of these conversations, but they are happening across different contexts. Thus, information useful to the motion picture industry’s digital preservationists is dispersed and difficult to corral. There is no single online resource currently collecting all this information in one place.

Digital preservation technologies and practices have undoubtedly advanced in the years since The Digital Dilemma’s publication. And as they continue to evolve, there is more work to be done. The Academy Digital Preservation Forum is here to support this work, and we invite your participation.