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Audio & Video Files


Recording studio.

LAST UPDATED: October 25, 2017

The New York Public Library is taking significant steps to preserve our audio and moving image (AMI) holdings. The AMI collections of the Library are records of ephemeral moments in history, from performing arts rehearsals and productions to unreleased interviews and radio broadcasts that capture contemporary reactions to notable world events. Without these recordings, much of the texture that these sounds and moving images provide would otherwise be lost to history.  Through an initial exploratory project, the Library determined that it holds 810,000 AMI items, nearly one-third of which would not be preserved by other institutions. Many of these AMI materials are in formats reaching the end of their lives: the curatorial and preservation staff who performed the assessment estimate that about 225,000 of the materials will be unplayable and their content unrecoverable in the next 10 to 15 years due to decay, obsolescence, the loss of technology and expertise, and rising cost of migration. Thanks to a generous grant from the Mellon Foundation and support from other funders, the Library has committed to digitize the approximately 225,000 at risk and rare items over the next ten years, preserving this history for the future.

In line with the Library’s mission, we strive to provide access to our research holdings whenever possible.  Because of the urgency of this digitization work, we will be prioritizing the preservation and reformatting of these AMI materials until this project is complete.  During this time, some items may be unavailable for viewing, while others may be accessible for viewing but unavailable for duplication.  

If you are interested in requesting a digital copy of any of the Library’s AMI materials, please contact the curatorial staff in the research divisions or staff in Permissions and Reproduction Services, who can provide further details.  Our staff will look into the condition of the material and determine whether a copy can be made at this time. Please note that NYPL does not lend audio or visual recordings for exhibitions or any other usage, and dupes need to be purchased abiding by intellectual property law.

Please note that requests for dupes of original recordings from the Theatre on Film & Tape Archive also must be approved by the Collation of Broadway Unions and Guilds (COBUG).

To begin your inquiry, please complete and return the NYPL Audio & Video Recording Duplication Inquiry Form.

Your request will be reviewed in terms of availability and copyright status. If NYPL can reproduce, you will be issued an invoice. Turnaround can be from 2 to 6 weeks from receipt of prepayment.

No matter what your intended usage, ALL rights need to be cleared in writing from filmmakers, choreographers, composers, interivewers, interviewees, etc. before the Library can reproduce any recording.

If request approved and clearances obtained, the Library will provide the entire recording only. No snippets or time codes added. Digital format provided is described below:



Format: .mp4 with AAC audio encoding

Sampling rate: 44.1 kHz

Bit depth: 24-bit

Bit rate: 320 kbps

Format: .mp4 with an H.264 codec

Video: auto bit rate; maximum width/height - auto/auto

Audio sampling rate: 44.1 kHz

Audio bit rate: 256 kbps



Audio Fee (per tape/reel/CD)

Video Fee (per tape/reel/CD)




Nonprofit/Government Agency



Commercial Company



*If NYPL holds copyright additional licensing fees will apply.