Puerto Rico's libraries, archives and museums road to recovery: A timeline of events after Hurricane Maria

Interview: Archivo de Medios Audiovisuales of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus

By: Ana I. Steidel
Date: December 2018 

Professor Osvaldo Rivera Soto is the Specialist in Library Computerization at the Archivo de Medios Audiovisuales de la Unidad de Cine, Radio y Televisión de la Escuela de Comunicación de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras. The Audiovisual Media Archive of the Unit of Film, Radio and Television of the School of Communication at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, is a specialized information center of audiovisual resources that provides access to collections of audiovisual materials by means of collection, management, preservation, digitization and cataloging of the resources. The audiovisual documents have cultural, scientific, educational, and historic value and they constitute a part of the institutional memory of the University of Puerto Rico and concern Puerto Rican society. The principal collections are: Colección de Noticias Televisivas, Colección CEDME-UPR (Centro para el Desarrollo y Mejoramiento de la Enseñanza), Colección Tommy Muñiz, Colección Paquito Cordero, Colección Sonora Juan Mari Bras and Colección Flavia García.

In the interview, Professor Rivera Soto describes preventive measures at the Archive. The location of the Archive within the University Radio building helped prevent a direct impact from hurricane Maria since the Archive does not have windows and carpet. There was flooding within the University Radio building, the carpet got completely wet and because of the lack of power eventually the mold spread in various parts, except in the Archive collection.

In 2005, due to heavy rain that caused damage in the building, there was flooding in the sound section of the Archive. The extensive collection of LP discs and their album covers got severely wet. Professor Rivera Soto had learned at a course taken at the Escuela Graduada de Ciencias y Tecnologías de la Información - the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology - that the best way to deal with the situation was to pack boxes with the LP albums and have them frozen. This process contained the evolving deterioration due to mold growth. Afterwards the LP albums were cleaned and the covers were dried with a special plate to speed up the drying process. The majority of the LP albums were salvaged.

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