Global Influence Preserving Moving Images from Environmental Movements in the West, 1920-2000

A CLIR Recordings at Risk Grant Project

Janine Gericke, Audiovisual Project Archivist

The Bancroft Library moving image collections contain an array of film and video formats representing a variety of unique subjects. Among these are audiovisual materials documenting Environmental Movements in the West from 1920-2000, the roots of which influenced national and global movements surrounding land conservation, climate change, and environmental protection which are of high interest to researchers.

While the majority of our archival collections in this area are processed and available to researchers, the audiovisual materials were unavailable due to their deteriorating condition, the risk of damage from playback, and obsolescence of equipment, resulting in these materials being largely uncatalogued at an item level and physically and intellectually inaccessible.

With a generous grant in 2018 from the Council on Library and Information Resources Recordings at Risk program, we have been able to digitally reformat a number of our at-risk audiovisual materials in this area and make them available online to more fully tell the story of the environmental movements in the West and their global impact to interested researchers. This one-year project enabled us to preserve and bring 130 titles from Bancroft’s vast audiovisual environmental movement collections to light. Most importantly, it helped us to develop new workflows and processes to digitally reformat aging audiovisual collections, giving us a foundation to begin to more broadly address our other collections in these at-risk formats.

The project was led by Mary Elings, Principal Investigator, and Janine Gericke, Audiovisual Project Archivist. The generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Council on Library and Information Resources has helped numerous institutions preserve their at-risk media through their Recordings at Risk program. For the Bancroft Library, this is crucial in ensuring that these historically significant materials are preserved and made accessible for researchers and the students, staff, and faculty of UC Berkeley.