The time period in which preservation action for media holdings is both possible and feasible is short. This is particularly true for analog audio and video recordings, which are actively degrading, some catastrophically. They are further subject to rapidly advancing obsolescence that results in the increasing scarcity of playback machines, parts, and expertise, among other issues. Analog audio and video must be digitized for the content they carry to survive.

It is widely thought that the combination of degradation and obsolescence will make the preservation digitization of large holdings of audio and video recordings unaffordable in the not-so-distant future.

Despite these challenges, media preservationists are often charged with safeguarding holdings of great historical, cultural, aesthetic, financial, community, and documentary value and significance.

IU has a long and distinguished history of, and a deep commitment to, collecting, using and preserving media holdings. Its archival collections are huge, and the university has invested considerable resources over many years for their digitization and preservation.

It is within this milieu that Audio-Video Preservation Services (AVPS) was created by IU Libraries within the Library Technologies division to continue the work of the IU Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative (MDPI), which digitized more than 330,000 recordings from 2015-2021.