Monday, October 27, was World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, sponsored by UNESCO. We did nothing at CHS to publicly mark the occasion, but we are taking an inventory of our audiovisual materials in preparation for writing a grant proposal to get them digitized. I am being assisted in the project by Simmons College intern Haley Antell.
CHS has collected vinyl records, VHS tapes, audio cassettes, reel-to-reel tapes, music CDs and 16 mm film for many years, but the universal consensus is that these media will no longer be accessible within the next ten years, if that long. Think about it. How many of us still have a VHF player? How about one that can “read” a 2-1/2 inch video tape? Record players are coming back in style, but each time you play a record, you damage the grooves, even though that damage is minute. Remember the ubiquitous portable tape recorder? How many of us have one that still works, or did it go to recycling years ago? Reel-to-reel audio is even harder to find, and forget movie projectors. To top it all off, these tapes become brittle over time and can be very difficult to play even if you have the equipment. It takes great skill and expertise to digitize the information contained
Our plan is to select materials to be digitally re-mastered to preserve the information. Those files will be stored in the Connecticut Digital Archive at UConn, which I have mentioned before in the blog. Even though the “legacy media” as we call it will be digitized, it is still not preserved, not until it goes into CTDA. The CTDA is a repository where digital files will be migrated when technology or software changes and the integrity of the data protected and confirmed.