The Complicated Preservation of the Television Heritage in a Digital Era

  • Leif KrampEmail author


Television as an electronic audiovisual mass medium has always been difficult to collect and to preserve. The daily routines of broadcasting institutions have hardly promoted attempts of strategic-objectified collecting. Under the influence of a cultural inferiority of television in general public perception, facilities dedicated to the collection and archiving of this rather new medium have struggled to find ways of coping with its specific challenges. Television as ethereal-volatile as well as material-complex medium seemed to contradict the conventions of institutional archiving that evolved over centuries with a dominant focus on written documents. As an electronic medium, television always depended on technological auxiliaries to endure over time, either by means of film, magnetic tapes, digital versatile or hard discs and playback devices. In the complexity of its material legacy, broadcasting institutions could not always adequately guarantee the collection of televised programming over the past decades. This chapter discusses key issues of television heritage management with a focus on the technical dependencies of long-term preservation of audiovisual broadcasting history. Beyond that, the chapter asks how digitalization promises solutions for the many challenges television preservation faces in the light of material decay and the apparent contradiction between the ostensible omnipresence of media and the ephemerality of broadcasting.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zentrum für Medien-, Kommunikations- und Informationsforschung (ZeMKI)University ofBremenBremenGermany

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