October 27th is the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage!
Have you ever spent the afternoon playing back home videos or listening to old family recordings? The opportunity to dwell on the past by engaging with its sights and sounds is moving and important. Not only do videos and recordings fuel our recollection and help us understand history, but we are able to emotionally connect with them. However, recordings and videos can be easily destroyed and are very vulnerable. Due to neglect and natural decay, relics of our past can disappear in an instant. The World Day for Audiovisual Heritage was created in order to call attention to the need to preserve these materials.
When we think about technology, we often think of its permanence. We know that anything posted on social media will forever be in one’s virtual footprint, and that the internet contains records from years before. However, we typically do not think about the impermanence of media, specifically of older recordings and videos, and how devastating the effects of losing media can be. The World Day for Audiovisual Heritage relates to science in two ways: first, science relies on evidence from the past in order to understand the present and the future. If this evidence exists in the form of audiovisual media and is lost, it can have poor effects on science. In addition, scientific techniques can be used to determine ways to preserve media.
Happy World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, and perhaps take a moment today to spend time engaging with the videos or recordings you treasure and determine how you will preserve them.
Check out what the UN and UNESCO have to say about this day: