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Olympic conservation honoured

IBC has selected the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to receive an award for its work on conserving and managing its audio visual archives. Its Patrimonial Assets Management programme covers assets going right back to the first Olympic Games in modern times, in 1896.

The conservation and preservation of archives is a huge concern today, with film and analogue material rapidly deteriorating and more recent digital formats becoming obsolete. For an organisation as significant as the IOC, moving the content into a secure file format and asset management database is critical, as the IBC Awards judges have recognised.

The IOC programme has now secured 2000 hours of film, 33,000 hours of video, 8500 hours of audio and more than 500,000 photographs. The unified database also covers 2000 archive documents and 22,000 pictures of Olympic Museum artefacts.

The importance of the programme was identified at the start, when the IOC’s archivists found that, within just a few years, 50% of the videos would be unplayable, 20% of the faded photographs would be unusable, and there would be no audio players available for much of the collection. On the films, “vinegar syndrome” chemical deterioration was gaining ground, risking complete destruction.

“The IOC’s Patrimonial Assets Management programme has helped safeguard the IOC’s rich legacy by preserving the organisation’s historical archives and bringing them into the 21st century,” said Christophe De Kepper, IOC director general. “It was down to us to perpetuate the cultural heritage of more than a century of Olympic history that our forebears had handed down to us. The IOC patrimony can now withstand the test of time.”

The IBC Awards are given by the international group of editors and commentators. Chair of the group, Michael Lumley, said “Broadcasters, production companies and anyone with an audio visual archive can look to this project to see a model of conservation and access. IBC is pleased to be able to draw attention to the issue of conservation through this award, as well as recognising the excellent work the IOC is undertaking.”

The IBC Awards Ceremony takes place tomorrow night in the Auditorium, and is free to attend for all IBC visitors. Come along to find out which award IBC will bestow upon the IOC!

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