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Confronting the Crisis of Audiovisual Preservation Through Collaboration


Yvonne Ng, WITNESS, United States

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The primary records of the 20th and 21st century are audiovisual. We cannot conceive the history of the last hundred years without film, radio, television, recorded sound, and video. Today, around the world we are uploading 400 hours of AV content to YouTube every minute. And Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg predicts that in a few years, “the vast majority of the content that people consume online will be video.” What will be lost if we fail to preserve our past, present, and future audiovisual heritage? The challenge is vast, but the cost of inaction is high and time is running out. Experts estimate, for example, that we have 10–15 years to digitize content recorded on videotape. To meet this urgent need, new approaches and collaborations are required.

Author's professional CV

Yvonne Ng is the Senior Archivist at WITNESS, an international non-profit organization, where she manages its human rights video collection, and trains and supports activists using video to archive their media. Yvonne frequently speaks and writes on personal and community-based approaches to video archiving and archival ethics, including teaching a new course on Personal Digital Archiving at New York University in 2016.

She is also active with the Community Archiving Workshop, XFR Collective, and the Association of Moving Image Archivists. Yvonne holds an MA in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation from NYU.

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