Amsterdam’s IBC broadcast technology event is to give the International Olympic Committee (IOC) an award in recognition for its work in preserving and managing its audio-visual archives.
The IOC’s archives are huge, with footage going back to the 1896 Games (the first Games of the modern era) held in Athens, and which established the formula for subsequent events.
In total, the archive contains thousands of hours of film, some 33,000 hours of video tape, around 500,000 photographs plus thousands of archive documents of historical importance as well as artefacts in the IOC’s Olympic Museum.
The award recognises the continuous work needed by the IOC in updating the archive. The IOC, in a recent examination of its own archives, found that within a few years 50 per cent of the video would have become unplayable, and some 20 per cent of the photographs unusable. Hence the restoration project now housed within the Olympic Multimedia Library which gets 1200 visits a month from media professionals.
“This project is very important for two reasons. First, it ensures that more than a century of Olympic history is preserved for the future. But perhaps even more important it draws the industry’s focus on a subject which it is all too easy to ignore. Our archives risk becoming inaccessible, not just because of deterioration of assets but also because the hardware to play them is obsolete and virtually impossible to replicate,” said Michael Lumley, chair of the IBC Awards panel.