This teleconference is a project of the University of Maine's Digital Curation program. For more information, contact ude.eniam@otiloppij.
Timecodes are in Minutes: hours
In this teleconference, we get up close and personal with the Library of Congress's film manager George Willeman, who oversees a vast archive of audiovisual culture stretching over 100 years. Willeman's job ranges from preserving Thomas Edison's earliest films from 1891 to migrating stock to the latest digital formats.
Willeman's vault at the library of Congress contains 90 miles of shelving for analog film and video as well as petabytes of digital storage. The heavily fortified building also has a fascinating history as a cold war relic. It was built to house 300 members of the US government in case a nuclear war wiped out nearby Washington. His work is profiled in Wired and a Gravitas documentary.
Although the focus was storing and digitizing film, the conversation ranged from preserving Hollywood classics to home movies, and why the most volatile medium for film might be best for its long-term storage. Despite his busy schedule, Willeman was willing to meet from his home, where his boisterous son James makes a cameo appearance.
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