Monday, October 11th 2010 we started sorting the whole ISD Film Library collection (approximately 5,000 film reels) between those films that are “Keepers” and those that have decomposed beyond help.
First we bring the films shelf by shelf into the film lab to work on, working from the front of the library to the back. We have three tables set up in the film lab for people to inspect films. Each person is given a form that requires basic information to be filled out like the old library identifying number, the old shelf location, the title, film gauge, and any other information that we can get off of the film can/box. If the film is a “keeper” we mark it on the form give it a new unique identifier and attach it to the outside of the can or box and put the film in the “keeper” pile. If it is a “discard” it goes outside into the “discard” pile. At first we were only going to keep those films that we could save here in Ghana, meaning those films that are in really good condition. However, when the time came to throw out those films that are in-between the really bad and the good we couldn’t do it, so we created a third category for those films that would take a lot of outside work to restore but could be if they were deemed important enough and the funds could be raised.