Howard Besser

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Howard Besser
Academic work
Main interestsdigital preservation, Information Commons

Howard Besser (born c. 1952) is a scholar of digital preservation, digital libraries, and preservation of film and video. He is Professor of Cinema Studies and the founding director of the NYU Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program ("MIAP"), a graduate program in the Tisch School.[1] Besser is a prolific writer and speaker, and has consulted with many governments, educational institutions, and arts agencies on digital preservation matters. He was closely involved in development of the Dublin Core and the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS), international standards within librarianship.[2]


Besser grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and earned a Bachelor's degree in 1976 from the University of California, Berkeley.[3] He studied film in Paris at the Centre Internationale d'Études des Cinema. He earned a Master's and PhD in Library Science in 1977 and 1988 respectively, both from UC Berkeley.[4]

Rick Prelinger (Prelinger Archives) and Howard Besser (NYU professor of cinema studies) answer the questions "What is an orphan film?" and "What is the Orphan Film Symposium?" (Recorded at the University of South Carolina, March 2006) running time 2:55

Besser was on the faculty of UC Berkeley's School of Information for a number of years, before accepting a position as professor at UCLA's School of Education and Information Studies in 1999.[3] He retired from UCLA, becoming a Professor Emeritas there, in order to found the MIAP program at New York University in 2004. He also taught at the University of Michigan's School of Information and at the University of Pittsburgh.

Besser is well known for his habit of wearing only t-shirts, and for maintaining a t-shirt database. A number of his classes used the t-shirt database as a cataloging and metadata practicum, cataloging t-shirts into the database with appropriate metadata.[2]



  • Besser, Howard; Trant, Jennifer (1995). Introduction to imaging: issues in constructing an image database. California: The Getty Art History Information Program. ISBN 0892363614.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Howard Besser", Tisch faculty profile.
  2. ^ a b "Howard Besser", Digital Preservation Pioneers, Library of Congress (Interview, last visited Aug. 9, 2012)
  3. ^ a b National Research Council, Committee on Intellectual Property Rights in the Emerging Information Infrastructure, The Digital Dilemma: Intellectual Property in the Information Age (2000), pp. 254-255.
  4. ^ "Howard Besser". Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  5. ^ "Digital Preservation Pioneers – Digital Preservation (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2017-07-24.

External links[edit]