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The Inter Organisational Group on Archive at Risk


Many national archives, broadcasters, libraries and museums, but especially small and medium sized archives, responsible for audiovisual collections currently face major technical, organizational, financial and legal challenges in preserving their collections. Technical obsolescence, physical deterioration, the lack of adequate cataloguing and the extensive amount of material demand widely accepted policies and efficient technical services in order to accelerate – and, in some cases, even start – preservation efforts.

The goal of Archives at Risk is connect those archives with potential funders and resources, but also to provide access to information, tools and colleagues around the world.


Audiovisual archives act as a navigator for users looking for access to their cultural past, ensuring they get reliable information. The range of audiovisual materials acquired by an archive must be driven by the needs of its users, upon the extent of its activities, and upon its particular responsibilities. This also applies to the means of providing access. In many countries, providing access to audiovisual materials and associated equipment is vital, as oral and visual expression continue to play a primary role in communication.

There is a continuing need for information resources concerning the management of traditional film, video, sound and still image collections, alongside information on the growing challenges encountered in the digital domain. Resources here and in the Links section focus on both analogue and digital guidelines and procedures.

  • collection_development

    Collection Development

    Collection development is the process of building an archive’s holdings through acquisitions activities. It includes creating a collection policy, defining selection criteria and actively acquiring and accessioning collections. All archives should have a collecting focus; this may be defined by a specialist committee within an archive; it may be mandated by a country’s laws; it […]

  • cataloguing


    Audiovisual materials have characteristics that demand specialist cataloguing practices. Each archives’ cataloguing practices should support the choice of shared and recognized standards and use common rules for subject indexing. Differentiated “access points” for audiovisual materials should be considered. Catalogue systems contain content descriptions, physical carrier characteristics and its location in the archive. Catalogues can be […]

  • preservation


    Preservation is one of the central responsibilities of an archive. UNESCO CCCAA defines preservation as “the totality of the steps necessary to ensure the permanent accessibility – forever – of an audiovisual document with the maximum integrity”. Both passive and active strategies (including digitisation) are employed to maintain and ensure accessibility to an archive’s content […]