Photo by Regan Walsh, 2010, via Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
In 2005, UNESCO declared 27 October the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage. If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’ve spent a decent portion of your life consuming audiovisual media, whether in the form of news broadcasts, podcasts, TV commercials or, yes, silly cat videos. Today, the sheer volume of audiovisual stuff, combined with the seemingly endless memory of the internet, might make us take its availability for granted. But audio and video recordings are notoriously vulnerable. Tapes are lost, damaged or re-used; technologies become obsolete; valuable recordings gather dust in forgotten cupboards, uncatalogued and inaccessible. The internet might be great at preserving ephemera, but there is a real danger of important cultural knowledge being lost.