On the Record, All the Time: Setting an Agenda for Audiovisual Evidence Management

With widespread deployment of recording equipment by law enforcement agencies nationwide, there is need for comprehensive planning on how to best preserve audiovisual evidence over time, ensuring that these rapidly evolving formats will remain accessible to investigators and the public at large. With generous support from the IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian program, the UCLA Department of Information Studies will host a National Forum from August 17-19, 2016 to engage the full range of stakeholders — e.g., law enforcement agencies, technology vendors, advocacy groups, and audiovisual archivists — involved in the management and preservation of audiovisual evidence.

In particular, the Forum will address a simple question: “What will people working with large volumes of video data, now and in the future, need to know and do?”

Information science, media studies, criminology, and professional education programs in North America have begun to address recorded evidence in their curricula, but to date, no degree programs or professional organizations have comprehensively identified the emergent core-skills training and continuing education needs of information professionals who will be working with evidentiary recordings over the long term. And while archivists and audiovisual preservationists are focused on organization, description, and long-term access for recordings with evidentiary value, they have not been strongly connected with legal evidence practitioners, and vice versa.

The Forum will thus provide an opportunity for LIS professionals to collaborate with a key stakeholders to identify ways that libraries, archives and the media preservation community can expand their role in serving the law enforcement community. The forum process is directed toward creating new partnerships and connections between stakeholders, and toward developing an action plan for curricula and educational programs that will better prepare information professionals to manage bodycam footage and other forms of audiovisual evidence in the years to come.

Support and Partners

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This project is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (RE-43-16-0053-16). Additional support for this project is provided by the GSE&IS Dean’s Student Support Initiative, the UCLA Library and the Department of Information Studies. For more information, please contact uclabodycams(at)gmail.com.