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class 4 lesson plan

Structure and Deterioration of Multimedia Materials


This lesson plan presents the basic structure and composition of photographic media, sound recordings, audio and video magnetic tape media, and optical media. The goal of the lesson is for students to achieve familiarity with component parts of these nonpaper materials and appreciate their special preservation needs. Preventive and remedial preservation decisions for these materials should be rooted in an understanding of the production processes that produced them, as well as the stability of their component parts and how they deteriorate with use and age.

The lesson is divided into five parts:

Part I: Overview of Nonpaper Formats. The lesson, moving from the general to the specific, begins with an introduction to the broad spectrum of nonpaper media commonly found in library and archive collections.

Part II: Photographic Film — Still and Motion Picture

Part III: Sound Recordings

Part IV: Audio and Video Magnetic Media

Part V: Optical Media

Specific formats most often encountered are then presented individually to highlight the technologies used to produce them, as well as their historical and cultural context. Physical attributes of the media, including their component parts, chemical and mechanical stability, physical care, and recommended storage environments, are described to help students understand how best to care for these materials.

Please note that photographic prints have been addressed in Class 3: Structure and Deterioration of Paper-based Materials. Also note that storage, handling, and use of multimedia materials should be introduced here, but will be addressed in more detail in Class 6: Collections Care.