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Volume: 5 | Article ID: art00051
Long-Term Preservation of Photographic Originals and Digital Image Files in the Corbis/Sygma Collection in France
  DOI :  10.2352/issn.2168-3204.2008.5.1.art00051  Published OnlineJanuary 2008

The Corbis/Sygma collection in France is one of the most important documentary photography collections in the world. The Corbis “Sygma Preservation and Access Initiative,” a project that began in 2004 to ensure that the collection's more than 50 million objects, including slides, negatives, prints, and contact sheets, are carefully preserved in a secure cold storage facility outside in Garnay, France (approximately 45 minutes by train from Paris) while at the same time making the collection more widely accessible and shared with people around the world.Since 2005, a team of Corbis editors and archivists have been undertaking the initial phases of the “Sygma Preservation and Access Initiative” leading up to the move of the collection from its present home in Paris to the new facility in Garnay. This has involved changing the archive classification system to organize pictures by photographer, rather than by theme, to regularize royalties, promote the collections and make it accessible to the public by digitizing prints, negatives, and transparencies.Corbis is collaborating closely with the photographers to make the collection more widely available to researchers, print and online publications, and to the general public worldwide by searching, identifying, and digitizing the most significant photographs form the collection to be available via the Corbis website (the Corbis digital image archive and web servers are principally located in Seattle, Washington, with backup data storage housed in redundant offsite locations). Since 2002, Corbis has digitized more than 60,000 pictures from the Sygma collection to bring the total number now available online to more than 800,000 searchable images.The overall preservation program is a combined effort that utilizes low-temperature, humidity-controlled cold storage to preserve the photographic originals, and secure, backed-up servers and a long-term data format migration strategy to preserve high-resolution scans made from the photographic originals, as well as digital captures made by photographers in more recent years. Corbis is a private corporation owned by Bill Gates.

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Henry Wilhelm, Cédric Gressent, Drew MacLean, "Long-Term Preservation of Photographic Originals and Digital Image Files in the Corbis/Sygma Collection in Francein Proc. IS&T Archiving 2008,  2008,  pp 257 - 257,

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