skip to content
24 Jul 2015
IOC News , Olympic Studies Centre

Over a century of Olympic archives preserved thanks to PAM: the IOC’s efforts rewarded

After seven years of meticulous work digitising, restoring, cataloguing and publishing, the IOC has finished its Patrimonial Assets Management (PAM) programme, winning the prestigious 2015 International Broadcasting Convention (IBC2015) prize. This distinction recognised the IOC’s unique approach to preservation and to making its archives available to broadcasters, researchers, partners and other professionals.

Thanks to PAM, more than a century of Olympic history has been conserved. Indeed, over 2,000 hours of film, 33,000 hours of video, 8,500 hours of audio sequences and 500,000 photographs were in danger of disappearing. In addition, 2,000 archive documents and 20,000 Olympic Museum artefacts needed modernised document processing.
A study undertaken by the IOC’s archivists found that, in the very near future, 50 per cent of the videos would be unreadable, 20 per cent of the photographs would be unusable, and there would be no audio players available to read much of the collection. On the films, “vinegar syndrome” chemical deterioration was gaining ground, risking their complete destruction.

Launched in 2007, PAM thus enabled us to preserve this unique patrimony, preserving the IOC’s multimedia historical archives, while adapting them to the 21st century by making them accessible in digital form to promote Olympism. These Olympic archives are now available through the Olympic Multimedia Library, an inter-company website viewed 1,200 times every month by professionals, including the IOC’s partners, international sports organisations, broadcasters, members of the Olympic Movement and the IOC staff.

IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper said: “It was down to us to perpetuate the cultural heritage of more than a century of Olympic history that our forebears had handed down to us. The IOC patrimony can now withstand the test of time and be shared easily.”

The PAM programme is now finished, but the IOC is of course continuing its commitment to its patrimony. Thus, every summer edition of the Games adds some 3,500 hours of video and 40,000 photos, as well as several hundred artefacts and archive documents.

The IOC will receive its special prize, the “innovation award” at the International Broadcasting Convention, which will be held on 13 September in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. PAM has also been nominated as one of the three finalists of the “Best Archive Preservation Project” competition by the International Federation of Television Archives (IFTA). Results on 9 October in Vienna at the IFTA’s annual conference! 

100,000 hours of work over seven years

PAM in figures:

- Seven years and 100,000 hours of work (cataloguing, indexing, technical operations and granting of intellectual property rights)
- 40 to 125 photos and 15 to 20 hours of recordings handled per day: digitisation, cleaning and digital re-mastering, repairs and colour correction
- 40 specialists hired: documentalists, technicians, engineers, jurists, website administrators and project managers


back to top