Best Practices

As a technology- and time-based form, single-channel video poses unique challenges and conditions for the institutional and individual collector. Video's reproducibility, which has drawn artists to its conceptual, formal, and cultural implications, makes it both easier and more difficult to collect. The landscape for collecting media art has changed dramatically in recent years as galleries sell limited video editions in the art market, museums apply advanced archival practices to media works, and artists make mutable works that confound the very notion of "ownership." New vocabularies and standards are being developed to address the acquisition, maintenance, and conservation of single-channel video. In this evolving climate, collectors should be familiar with several key issues, including recommended archival media formats (such as Digital Betacam), accepted preservation standards, rights and restrictions, duplication and contracts.

This section of the Guide outlines recommendations and guidelines for collecting single-channel video works, and combines a suggested Planning Process and answers to Basic Questions into one resource that can be adapted for educational and cultural institutions as well as private collectors.

To ensure your collection's future viability and accessibility, the preservation, cataloging, and conservation of single-channel video works should be addressed at the point of acquisition. For a detailed discussion of preservation guidelines, see the Preservation Best Practices section of this Resource Guide.