At our current rate of preservation, the Smithsonian is facing an estimated total loss of 190,000 audiovisual assets by 2034. In order to stem the tide of irreparable loss, the initiative is focusing on five main goals to enhance the public’s access to the Institution’s audiovisual collections. To learn more about the Initiative's goals, explore the AVMPI Strategic Plan

Goal 1. To develop a centralized space dedicated to the conservation and preservation transfer of Smithsonian audio, video, and film collections

  • Secure space for, design, outfit, and manage the creation of both an interim and permanent state-of-the-art facility. 
  • Support the overall treatment of audiovisual collections through the creation of specialized AVMPI spaces, to include a conservation laboratory, temporary collection storage, and digitization suites. 
  • Strengthen existing SI laboratories through equipment acquisition, software development, and increased staffing for rare format specialization. 


Goal 2. To prioritizaudiovisual collections for preservation based on format degradation and content value

  • Utilize data from the 2019 Audiovisual Preservation Readiness Assessment (AVPRA) to focus preservation efforts on the highest priority collections across SI units.  
  • Collaborate with unit curators and content specialists to determine SI-wide needs for preservation and subsequent access. 
  • Partner with existing and new institutional initiatives to support efforts to highlight Smithsonian collections that tell a unique and diverse viewpoint.  


Goal 3. To create standard, pan-institutional workflows for the management of AVMPI to maximize the use of resources

  • Establish a minimal set of administrative and descriptive metadata to support an efficient digitization workflow. Support descriptive cataloging by making all digitized files available to unit staff via the Smithsonian’s Digital Asset Management System (DAMS). 
  • Develop and/or utilize software systems to support the capture of descriptive and technical metadata, digitization transfer, facilitate quality assurance and control, and track physical collection movement. 
  • Use both a 1:1 digitization workflow and parallel transfer stations, as appropriate, to support AVMPI goals. 
  • Develop protocols and standards for AVMPI staff and for working with external vendors for the physical conservation and digitization of rare formats.  


Goal 4. To ensure institutional preparedness for digital preservation and increased storage needs

  • Determine network connectivity requirements, maintain existing file standards, convey storage needs, and ensure long-term digital preservation. 
  • Maintain current best practice standards for the digital transfer of audio, video, and film collections. 


Goal 5. To promote the overall mission of the Smithsonian Institution by increasing access to digitized audiovisual collections  

  • Develop new solutions for providing access to audio and moving image files to support the increase and diffusion of knowledge.  
  • Work with existing Smithsonian initiatives, such as the Open Access Initiative, the Smithsonian Transcription Center, the American Women’s History Initiative, and the Latino and Asian Pacific American Initiative, to support collection engagement and access. 
  • Consult with individual units, along with source communities, artists, and community-based scholars, in defining protocols for addressing collection-related inquiries and concerns. This can include the generation of cultural documentation, culturally appropriate collections care and handling, and the potential source community interest in digital return and repatriation.