In 2021, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Data Library and Archives (DLA), a part of the MBLWHOI (Marine Biological Laboratory Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) Library, received a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Recordings at Risk (RAR) program to catalog, digitize, preserve, and make available historic films and videos of Alvin, the first-of-its-kind manned submersible vessel that has shown us more of the deep ocean than had ever been possible and transformed our understanding of life on Earth.

These moving images have not been accessible to researchers and were far past the intended life cycle of their respective media formats. There was significant risk of complete image loss of these groundbreaking films if we attempted to view them. With the CLIR grant, we were able to migrate these significant moving images. In this paper, we will share our experience of designing and implementing this project, we will document the historic importance of these films, and we will briefly review the current literature on archival digitization and digital preservation practices.


Editorial Note: An updated version of this article was published on December 14, 2023 following a request for clarifications. The changes to the article are as follows: The language regarding the departure of the previous archivist (pg 10, paragraph 3): was updated to read: “left the position due to family commitments” rather than “moved on to another opportunity.”