NPR: “Videotapes are Becoming Unwatchable as Archivists Work to Save Them” (XFR Collective)
Mary Kidd pops a VHS tape in the deck and rewinds. Two kids appear on the screen, dancing to music and laughing.
Kidd and her colleagues meet in this loft in Tribeca in New York City every Monday to digitize tapes like this one. The loft has racks of tape decks, oscilloscopes, vector scopes and wave-form monitors that help ensure a quality transfer from analog to digital.
Kidd and the others are archivists and preservationists, and they’re part of a group called XFR Collective (pronounced Transfer Collective). Most work professionally, but they volunteer their free time to do this. And while the mood is light, there is a sense of a deadline.
“In the heads of all Transfer Collective members, we do have kind of this ‘tick-tock,'” Kidd says.
That’s because research suggests that tapes like this aren’t going to live beyond 15 to 20 years. Some call this the “magnetic media crisis,” and archivists, preservationists, and librarians like the ones in the XFR Collective are trying to reverse it.
Read the Complete Report (approx. 800 words)
See Also: Collection of Some Material Digitized by XFR (via Internet Archive)
See Also: XFR Collective Blog
See Also: Curated List of Preservation Resources (via XFR)
See Also: Video Format Identification Guide (via Video Preservation Website)
See Also: Format Descriptions for Moving Images (via LC)
See Also: Format Descriptions for Sound (via LC)
See Also: Magnetic Tape Storage and Handling A Guide for Libraries and Archives (via CLIR)
Published in 1995.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.