California Audiovisual Preservation Project


In partnership with more than 200 California libraries, archives, and museums, the California Preservation Program is undertaking an urgently needed project to digitize, provide online access, and preserve historic California audiovisual recordings, creating a comprehensive online collection of film, video and audio recordings documenting California history.  California’s audiovisual heritage must be saved before it is too late; historic analog recordings are threatened by fragile physical condition, format obsolescence, and lack of playback equipment.

The California Audiovisual Preservation Project (CAVPP) gathers best archival practices for moving image and sound preservation and establishes low-cost, practical standards to help collecting organizations move from the analog age to the digital age. Online access is provided by the Internet Archive for teaching, research and study. Storage of files for long-term preservation is provided by the CAVPP. Project funding has been received from the California State Library, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

All recordings nominated for digitization should follow the Project’s selection criteria:

  • statewide and/or local historical significance that contributes to an understanding of the history of California and its people – ideally featuring widely known names and events
  • risk of loss due to physical condition and format obsolescence
  • never published commercially– must be primary source material
  • intellectual property in the public domain, held by the owning library, or secured from the rights holder, when possible
  • descriptive metadata provided by the owning archive
  • titles most requested by users

In general, the following content should be excluded:

  • institutional history unless the institution is/was among the major contributors in California on the recording’s subject
  • high school, collegiate and university sports
  • recording duplicates or heavily overlaps a recording that has already been digitized

Please visit the California Light and Sound collection to get a sense of the content preserved thus far.

Tools and Documents