Throwing a Hail Mary! The University of Maryland Football Film Project
Turkos, Anne S.K.
Speck, Jason G.
Hawk, Amanda K.
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Documentation of the planning, preparation, and implementation of moving image preservation and digitization projects is difficult to find in scholarly sources, despite the large numbers of deteriorating films housed in archival repositories and the increasing demand to access and utilize audio-visual materials. “Throwing a Hail Mary!” chronicles one such project, undertaken over the last seven years at the University of Maryland (UMD). Since 2008, the University of Maryland Archives has raised over $100,000 to preserve and make accessible its collection of historical football film footage. This project faced long odds, representing the Archives’ first venture into serious preservation work on its athletics-related holdings and its first major digitization project with funds raised privately, rather than through grant allocations. In this case study, the UMD Archives staff traces the progress of the entire digitization project from start to finish, recounts challenges faced along the way, celebrates successes, and outlines plans for the future, to serve as a guidepost for libraries and archives interested in starting similar projects at their own institutions.