The Variable Media* and Digital Heritage Special Interest Group (Electron) represents a diverse community of conservators, preservation specialists and cultural professionals dedicated to the care of cultural materials which are variable, intangible and technologically dependent.

Members of Electron work within a range of cultural institutions and organisations, including art galleries, archives, libraries and museums, and collaborate with specialists in the audio-visual, information technology, digital preservation and university/research sectors to develop and maintain practices and approaches which are aligned with the continually evolving nature of contemporary cultural materials and the challenges of maintaining, conserving and preserving the technologies, software and hardware which underpin them.

* Variable Media is defined as cultural objects that possess a changing observable state and immaterial qualities that are important to preserve.

The aims of Electron are to:

  • Foster and facilitate a forum for professional discourse and the sharing of skills and expertise around the care, management and conservation of variable media, intangible cultural forms and digital cultural assets.
  • Develop and disseminate knowledge based on contemporary and future best-practice approaches to the ongoing conservation, digital preservation and documentation of variable and electronic cultural materials.
  • Build and grow a platform for collaboration between individuals and institutions, with a focus on building communities of discourse and professional support within the conservation and preservation sector, and with industry and research specialists.

SIG Convenors: Asti Sherring, Rebecca Barnott-Clement and Candice Cranmer

Art Gallery of NSW time-based art conservation technician Jake van Dugteren at work on Nam June Paik’s TV cello (1976), Art Gallery of New South Wales © Nam June Paik Estate

Associated organisations and groups


AIC Electronic media group


Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA)

Australasia Preserves 

Bay Area Video Coalition 

Centre for Research Libraries (USA) - includes link to Trusted Digital Repository checklist


Digital Curation Centre 

Digital Preservation Coalition 

Dutch Audiovisual network - includes resources from EU project PrestoCentre

International Network for the conservation of contemporary art 



Audio Visual and digital preservation resources

AV preserve 

Community Owned Digital Preservation Tool Registry (COPTR)

Digital Preservation Listserv


Library of Congress

Open source resources

NFSA Preservation Glossary

Time-based media and contemporary art resources

AIC Electronic media group wiki 

Building a new discipline: Time based media art conservation 

International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (INCCA) 

Matters in Media Art 

Variable Media Network

Voices in contemporary art