Our Mission

Our mission is simple — to help you capture, preserve, organize and enjoy your family's most valuable memories using archival best practices, methodologies equipment and supplies, employed by FA Logo professional archivists and museum experts from around the world.


American Library Association
Society of American Archivists Member Company
  • Print
  • Email
  • Bookmark and Share

How to Organize Your Film/Video

Protect video cassettes with specially
designed easy-to-access archival boxes

It's important to organize your film, audio and video into an accessible and usable archive with a labeling structure that can grow and is adaptable to your archive. Different formats of audio and video recordings should be housed in boxes designed specifically for their size, shape and preservation needs, so your labels should be designed to make it easy to cross reference between different types of recordings and the rest of your family archive. Within each group of recordings of a certain type, you'll need to establish a system of organization.

You can arrange each type of film, audio and video recording by:

  • Person

  • Timeframe (1960, 1970, 1980)

  • Event (vacations, weddings, graduations)

  • Activities (schools, jobs, organizations

  • Places (homes, schools, employers

For example, your collection of Super 8 home movies might be labeled by date and then arranged chronologically in boxes grouped by decade or era. Your collection of cassette recordings of musical performances by various family members might be grouped in boxes by the person performing and then arranged chronologically within each box.

The best way to get started is to take an inventory of all of the recordings that you'd like to archive, see where the natural groupings occur, and then map out how things should be organized.

Labeling Your Film, Audio and Video Collections
Try to establish "high level" category descriptions that will be flexible over time. Your labeling structure might be:

A. Visual Materials
1. Photographs
a. Photo prints (arranged by person and timeframe)
b. Negatives (arranged by person and timeframe)
c. Slides (arranged by events, chronologically)
2. Film & Video
a. VHS home movies (arranged chronologically)
b. Super 8 home movies (arranged chronologically)
3. Audio recordings
a. Cassette tapes (arranged by person and timeframe)

Or another example of a labeling structure might be:

A. Film, Audio & Video Recordings
1. Super 8 movies (arranged by place, chronologically)
2. Oral History Recordings
a. Digital recordings on DVD (arranged by person)
b. Backup cassette recordings (arranged by person)
3. Vinyl Record Collection (arranged by artist, chronologically)

Helpful Hint: Keep careful track of all the information you have about each video, cassette or other recording. Write down the details about where and when each recording was made and the full names of everyone who speaks or appears on the recording.

How to Preserve Your Film & Video