Teaching Undergraduates About Media Preservation and Media Archives

A Case Study
Jeff Heinle

Assistant Professor
Communication Studies
Colby-Sawyer College


This course was taught at Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire (Spring 2003 semester). The syllabus and topics were constructed to follow the process of a donation entering a media archives. The class used films donated to the Cleveland Colgate Colby Archives for "hands-on" experience with media artifacts. A media preservation course for undergraduates helps students to:

  • Gain knowledge about media preservation.
  • Prepare for future careers in media restoration and transferring media documents to digital formats. (More jobs and careers will be created in this field due to digital technologies and the emphasis on the information economy.)
  • Gain exposure to the physical artifacts (various media formats) that comprise the mass communication discipline.
  • As future media producers, they will use information that has been recorded on older media formats in their media productions—so it would benefit students to know where specific media elements/collections are housed.
  • Discuss local and regional media artifacts which are generally ignored in favor of discussing national/mass media artifacts.

In addition, the course was an attempt to get students more interested in history. If students are part of media preservation projects they become responsible for the preservation of some aspect of history. In essence, students would have the opportunity to take ownership of history by helping bring the media artifacts to public attention through their preservation work and archival projects. After working with historical media images, it may encourage students to use archives and historical media documents in other curriculum research projects (outside of communication courses) and may encourage communication students to use historical media artifacts in their own video or multi-media productions.

 Course Overview

 With the advent of new digital technologies, some archivists are suggesting that media preservation is a profession for the future. Paolo Usai, director of the Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation at the George Eastman House, suggests that media preservation is the “most exciting cultural project of the new millennium [since it is] the preservation of the world’s audiovisual heritage. Because of digital technologies, there will be more career opportunities in media preservation, as well as more opportunities for media producers and the general citizen to access and use archival footage in their own media productions. The focus of this course is on learning the skills, issues and history of media preservation and the various management activities of media archives. In addition, we will examine media programs and artworks that incorporate archival footage and address the philosophical and cultural questions raised concerning how truth, history, nostalgia and memory are represented and reconstructed for audiences.

 It is imperative for us to recognize the importance of our visual heritage since these documents are a part of historical record. Because media preservation is the preservation of history, we will explore the notion that people who aid in media preservation projects at the regional and local level are performing a community service.

 It is especially important for future media producers to become aware of media preservation and media archives since so many media programs, such as Biography and American Experience, and entire media networks, such as TVLand, and Turner Classic Movies, use archival media artifacts.

 In addition to national media programming, this course will examine how local and amateur (small gauge) media programs and artifacts, such as newsfilm and home movies, can also serve as documents for cultural analysis and, as such, are extremely important artifacts for media preservation.

 In order to develop hands-on skills and understand the various steps involved in the preservation process from the initial donation to public screenings, the class will be working with Dr. Everett Woodman’s film and slide collection that are housed at the Cleveland-Colgate archives at Colby-Sawyer College. Using the Woodman media artifacts as a case study, the class will help preserve these films (and attempt to produce a media program using the archival footage). From 1952 to 1954, Dr. Woodman worked in Madras, India as a cultural affairs officer for the United States Information Agency, and for an interim as acting public affairs officer for South India. For the next four years he served as an attaché at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi and as director of the Educational Exchange Program under the India-U.S.A. Agreement of Public Law 48. In 1958, Dr. Woodman joined the Ford Foundation as an educational consultant to the Government of India's Ministry of Education until his appointment as President of Colby Junior College in 1962. Dr. Woodman’s film collection contains footage from these various locations.

 Practical topics and skills of media preservation will include:

  • The history of mass media archives and media preservation
  • Preservation principles and rules
  • Basic film and tape handling
  • Terminology and film gauges
  • Chemistry of media artifacts
  • Conservation of media artifacts and storage conditions
  • Management and curatorial issues
  • Archive activities and services— acquisitions, donations, cataloguing, inventory, database management, and stock footage services
  • The technology used in re-producing media artifacts (restoring the original versus public access copies)
  • Legal issues – copyright, acquisitions, deposits and donations
  • Grant writing
  • Public exhibition activities and accessibility to collections

In addition, to understand how media archives operate, there will be field trips to various media archives, such as the Northeast Historic Film archives in Bucksport, Maine.

Required Text Books

Kattelle, Alan. (2001). Home Movies: A History of the American Industry, 1897 – 1979.

Slide, Anthony. (2002). Nitrate Won't Wait: A History of Film Preservation in the United States.


4 25 point Exams 100 pts.
1 Archive presentation 015
1 Catalogued media artifact 075
1 Group grant writing project 050
1 Group Exhibition project 050
Class participation 010

Additional readings selected from the following Texts and Web-Sites

Boyle, Deirdre. (1993). Video Preservation: Securing the Future of the Past. Media Alliance.

Davidson, Steve & Lukow (editors). (1997). The Administration of Television Newsfilm & Videotape
Collections: A Curatorial Manual.

Eastman Kodak Company. (1983). The Book of Film Care

The Moving Image: The Journal of the Association of Moving Image Archivist. University of Minnesota

National Film Preservation Board
“Preservation Without Access is Pointless”
“Redefining Film Preservation: A National Plan”
“Television Video Preservation Study/ Report 1”

O’Connor, John (1990). Image as Artifact: Historical Analysis of Film and Television.

United States Library of Congress. (1996-1999). Archival Moving Image Materials - A Cataloging
Manual. (1996-1999).

Usai, Paolo. (2002). Silent Cinema: An Introduction

Home Movie References
Becker, Snowden. (2002). “Family in a Can: The Presentation and Preservation of Home Movies in
Museums”, The Moving Image: The Journal of the Association of Moving Image Archivist.

Citron, Michelle. (1999). Home Movies and Other Necessary Fictions. University of Minnesota Press.

Chalfen, Richard. (1987). Snapshot Versions of Life. Bowling Green University Press.

Collins, Douglas. (1990). The Story of Kodak.

Journal of Film and Video. (1986). Summer / Fall, #38. Special Issue devoted to Home Movies.

Jacobs, David. (1981). “Domestic Snapshots: Toward a Grammar of Motives,” Journal of American
Culture 4 (1): 100.

Kaslow, Florence and Friedman, Jack. (1977/01). “Utilization of Family Photos and Movies in Family
Therapy,” Journal of Marriage and Family Counseling. (pp. 19-25).

Kissel, Laura. (2002). “The Research Value of Amateur Films: Integrating the Use of Amateur and Found
Footage into a Film Production Course”, The Moving Image: The Journal of the Association of Moving Image Archivist.

Lesy, Michael. (1976). “Snapshots: Psychological Documents, Frozen Dreams” Afterimage V4 #4, pp. 12 13.

Lesy, Michael. (1980). Time Frames: The Meaning of Family Pictures. New York: Pantheon.

Milgram, Stanley. (1977/01). “The Image-Freezing Machine,” Psychology Today (pp. 50 –54; 108).

Neumann, Mark. Home Movies: On Freud’s Couch. The Moving Image: The Journal of the Association of
Moving Image Archivist

Serota, Herman. (1964) “Home Movies of Early Childhood: Correlative Developmental Data in the
Psychoanalysis of Adults,” Science 143, March 13, (3611): 1195.

Stewart, Doug. (1979). “Photo Therapy: Theory and Practice,” Art Psychotherapy 6 (1): 41-46.

Zimmermann, Patricia. (1995). Reel Families: A Social History of Amateur Film. Indiana University Press.

Anthropology and Ethnography References

Visual Anthropology Review.


University of Adelaide Library. Visual Anthropology: A Guide to Library Resources


Worth, Sol. (1976 ). “Doing Anthropology of Visual Communication,” Working Papers on Communication and Culture 1 (2): 2-20). Department of Anthropology, Temple University.

Worth, Sol. (1980). “Margaret Mead and the Shift from Visual Anthropology to the Anthropology of Visual Communication,” Studies in Visual Communication 6 (1): 18


Media Preservation & Archive Websites*

Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA)

Internet Archive


Journal of Film Preservation


L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation

National Anthropological Archives / Human Studies Film Archives

National Center for Film and Video Preservation (American Film Institute)

National Film Preservation Board

National Film Preservation Foundation

Northeast Historic Film

Prelinger Archives

UCLA Film and Television Archive

Home Movies Super 8 Site

F. and S. Marriott (Camera, Film and Classic Film Magazine resale)

Preserving Pacifica Radio’s Archives – NPR Report



Working Party AV Curriculum

An example of an AV Syllabi as taught by the Open University in Milton Keynes, England.

SEAPAVAA (South East Asia Pacific Audio Visual Archive Association) AV Archives Bulletin


Presto Preservation Technology

Preservation Technology for European Broadcast Archives
*(Check Blackboard Site for more links to Media Archive Web-sites)


Web-sites Pertaining to Everett Woodman’s Collection and Cultural Context

Everett M. Woodman Papers / Collection

Description of Cleveland Colby Colgate Archives holdings pertaining to Everett Woodman.

United States Information Services

An independent foreign affairs agency supporting U.S. foreign policy and national interests abroad, USIA conducts international educational and cultural exchanges, broadcasting, and information programs.  (Dr. Woodman worked for this U.S. Department and is the context for the home movies discussed in class).

Voice of Ameria


Veterans of Voice of America


VOA New Delhi India

Columbia University Press

Voice of America: A History, by Alan L. Heil, Jr.


Due Dates

1. In courses where 1 or ½ -Page reviews are assigned, they must be submitted during class time on due date. No late reviews will be accepted.
2. Exams and quizzes cannot be made up, except in event of a serious medical or family emergency.
3. Group presentations cannot be rescheduled.
4. Late papers/projects will not be accepted.
5. Computer problems do NOT suffice for an excuse for late work.
6. If you are going to be absent from class, you may submit (or email) assignments before due dates without a penalty.


Your final grade will be calculated on a 90-80-70-60 scale. The upper 3% of each range will receive a “plus” score (except for the A range), and the lower 3% of each range will receive a “minus” score. (Example: C+ = 77-79; C = 73-76; C- = 70-72).

It is the philosophy of the college in order for grades to be meaningful and consistent; a C should represent an average work performance. Higher grades must be reserved for exceptional work. C’s will be given for work that is acceptable and of average college level quality. A C grade does not indicate any shortcoming in student achievement, and, generally reflects the most common grade given. Grading will be done as follows:

A: Represents achievement that is outstanding relative to the level necessary to meet course requirement.
B: Represents achievement that is significantly above the level necessary to meet course requirements.
C: Represents achievement that meets the course requirements in every respect.
D: Represents achievement that is worthy of credit even though it does not fully meet course requirements.
F: Represents performance that fails to meet course requirements and is unworthy of credit.

An incomplete will only be granted on rare occasions -- if and only if the student is doing B or better work and the students has the foresight to discusses this option with the instructor three to four weeks before the final exam.

Academic Obligations
Students are responsible for meeting all of their academic obligations, even if they are engaged in college-sponsored activities (as, for example, theatre, athletics, or field trips). There are no ‘excused absences’ for such activities; students must make appropriate arrangements with their professors.

Americans with Disabilities Act
If you have needs as addressed by the American with Disabilities Act and need other arrangements in order to furnish alternative pedagogical formats, you should notify your instructor as soon as possible. Reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate your learning needs. In other words, if you have special needs because of learning disabilities or other kinds of disabilities, please feel free to discuss these with me.

Academic Dishonesty
All Colby-Sawyer College students are expected to understand the meaning of academic honesty, and to behave in accordance with the College’s policies on academic honesty as published in the Student Handbook. Please note: Academic dishonesty includes, but is not necessarily limited to the following:

A. Cheating or knowingly assisting another student in committing an act of cheating or other
academic dishonesty.
B. Plagiarism which includes but is not necessarily limited to, submitting examinations, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes or other material as one's work when such work has been prepared by another person, copied from another person . . . or downloading information or papers from the internet without citing.
C. Falsifying Research data.


Attendance is mandatory. You will be allowed two absences before points are deducted from your grade. Each absence thereafter will result in a five-point deduction from your total point score. I do not classify absences as excused or unexcused.

Please arrive to class on time. If you have a problem getting to class on time because of the location of a preceding class, please inform you instructor. If you are persistently late for class, points will be deducted from your total point score. Perfect attendance will be awarded five additional points.

PLEASE NOTE: Regular attendance is a basic expectation of college students. When you miss class, not only do you miss important material; you deny your classmates the opportunity to learn from your contributions. Furthermore, your absence reflects a lack of consideration and shows disrespect towards your fellow colleagues since your absence suggests that you do not value their thoughts, opinions and contributions upon your own intellectual development.


Participation is a different grade from attendance. Simply attending class does not count for credit towards the participation grade. The participation grade represents the amount of time and energy you put into class discussions. If you do not participate in class, your instructor and fellow colleagues will not know your intellectual interests and, thus, cannot offer you any supplemental sources that deepen your own educational interests. Points will also be deducted for not participating or coming prepared for in-class projects.

• Please take notes during lectures

Format for Writing Assignments / Papers

Unless otherwise noted, all writing assignments should follow formal guidelines. See – MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers and Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.




Date Topic Readings & Assignments

1/22 Introduction
1/24 Overview
Screen: 80 years of Photography Nitrate: Into pp. 1-8
O’Connors (handout)
“Preservation Without Access is Pointless”
1/29 History of Film Preservation (Hollywood)
ABC Preservation Segments
Wolfson Overview Slide Ch 1-3
Ussai, Silent Cinema. Ch. 3 Ethics of Film Preservation
1/31 Visit Archive- Woodman Project Slide: Ch. 5-7
2/5 Donations
Handling Film/Tape & Identification “Appraisals of Collections” Ernest Dick
Book of Film Care (excerpts)
2/7 Cataloguing Cataloging Jane Johnson
2/12 Woodman Project-
Screen Woodman Home Movies Slide: Ch. 5-7
Redefining Film Preservation
2/14 Woodman Project-
Dr. Everett Woodman visits class Becker, Snowden. “Family in a Can: The Presentation and Preservation of Home Movies in Museums”
2/19 Woodman Project-
Meet at Archives assigned media artifact from Woodman’s Collection
2/21 Visit NHF
2/26 Review Cataloguing Assigned Film Catalogued Forms Due
2/28 Grant Writing National Historical Publications and Records Commission Application forms ( in class)
Individual Archive Presentations begin
3/5 New Areas of Preservation-- TV Slide Ch. 8
3/7 Newsreels
Screen: various regional news stations TV as a History: The Importance of Television Preservation Sherman and Benjamin
3/12 Newsreels
Screen: various regional news stations Television Video Preservation Study/Report 1
3/14 Screen: Atomic Cafe Boyle, Deirdre. (1993). Video Preservation: Securing the Future of the Past. (excerpts)
Atomic Café (reserve reading packet)
Spring Break
3/26 Home Movies
Screen: various footage Kattelle, Alan. Ch. 1-2.
Kaslow, Florence and Friedman, Jack. (1977/01). “Utilization of Family Photos and Movies in Family Therapy,” Journal of Marriage and Family Counseling. (pp. 19-25).
Lesy, Michael. (1976). “Snapshots: Psychological Documents, Frozen Dreams” Afterimage V4 #4, pp. 12 13.
3/28 Home Movies
Screen: various footage Kattelle, Alan. Ch. 3-4.
Stewart, Doug. (1979). “Photo Therapy: Theory and Practice,” Art Psychotherapy 6 (1): 41-46.
Serota, Herman. (1964) “Home Movies of Early Childhood: Correlative Developmental Data in the Psychoanalysis of Adults,” Science 143, March 13, (3611): 1195.
4/2 Home Movies
Screen: various footage Zimmerman, Patricia. (1995). Reel Families: A Social History of Amateur Film. Indiana University Press. (excerpts)
Neuman, Mark. Home Movies: On Freud’s Couch.
4/4 Ethnography Travelogues
Edward Curtis Worth, Sol. (1980). “Margaret Mead and the Shift from Visual Anthropology to the Anthropology of Visual Communication,” Studies in Visual Communication 6 (1): 18
4/9 Contextualizing Woodman’s Home Movies Workshops- India Research
4/11 Woodman Project Workshops- U.S.I.A. Research
4/16 Woodman Project
Dr. Woodman Visits Class Workshops
4/18 Woodman Project Kattelle, Ch. 13 & 14
4/23 Licensing Footage Rabin, Kenn. “Licensing Footage: A Researcher’s Perspective”
4/30 Robert Rosen. UCLA Film and Television Archives
5/2 Screen: Satellite Sky
5/7 Wrap-Up
5/10 Exam 8AM- 10:00


Sources for Telling America’s Story Around the World Voice-Over

History of USIA

Brown, W. Norman. (1963). The United States and India and Pakistan. Harvard University Press.

Campbell, John. (1971). The Foreign Affairs Fudge Factory. Basic Books, Inc.

Eisenhower, Dwight. (1965). Waging Peace 1956-1961. DoubleDay & Company, Inc.

Elder, Robert. (1968). The Information Machine: The United States Information Agency and the American Foreign Policy. Syracuse University Press.

Green, Fitzhugh. (1988). American Propaganda Abroad. Hippocrene Books New York.

Lal, Vinay. Associate Professor of History, UCLA Manas web-site.Copyright (text): 2002 – 3.
http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/southasia/index.html visited April 22, 2003. Geographia
http://www.geographia.com/india/index.html 1997-2000 by InterKnowledge Corp visited April 22, 2003.

Kornher, Kenneth. (1969). Psychological Instruments of U.S. Foreign Policy: U.S.I.A. 1953-1963.
(Dissertation: Georgetown University)

Page, David & Crawley, William. (2001). Satellites over South Asia. Sage Publication, 2001.

Schmidt, Dana. “Propaganda: How To Meet Soviet Challenge”, New York Times. 4/3/1958.

Schmidt, Dana. “Classics of U.S. Big Hit in India”, New York Times 9/21/? 1957/1958

Snow, Nancy. (2002). Propaganda Inc. Selling America’s Culture to the World. Seven Stories Press.

Stephens, Oren. (?). Facts to a Candid World: America’s Overseas Information Program. Stanford University Press.

Wolpert, Stanley. (1977). A New History of India. Oxford University Press.

“U.S.I.A.- Report on Its Operations Abroad”, New York Times. 4/28/57.

USIA Fact Sheet 4/23/2003. http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/usia/usiahome/factshe.htm

NOTE: This is a list of research we started to begin a short documentary using Dr. Woodman’s home movies. We were using these sources to write a voice-over narration to accompany Dr. Woodman’s narration.