Irish Examiner: €3m RTÉ spend on mammoth digitisation of archive footage. “RTÉ is set to spend more than €3m on the digitalisation of hundreds of thousands of video and audio recordings dating back to 1950 ‘as a matter of some urgency’. The public broadcaster has put out an invitation to tender for the mammoth task, which will be completed over the course of four years at an indicated cost of €3,225,000.” That’s about $3.7 million USD.
The Young Witness (Australia): ‘There’s no way we can save it all’: National Archives says audio-visual records will be lost. “The National Archives of Australia is preparing to lose large sections of its 117,000 hours of magnetic tape archives, including a prioritisation process to ensure archives relating to Indigenous languages and culture aren’t lost. Archivists across the world agree that audio visual archives held on magnetic tape will be lost forever if they are not digitised by 2025, a deadline that institutions like the National Archives and National Film and Sound Archive are battling to meet.”
Houston Chronicle: Race against time: Saving Texas’ film memories. “As the years play on, the decay of aging motion picture film accelerates, as does the quality of magnetic tape on which video is recorded. Video projectors and old-format tape machines break, are not repaired and discarded. The race to get these recordings into a digital format – also unlikely to survive forever – becomes more crucial with each passing year.”
American Archive of Public Broadcasting: KMUW and the American Archive of Public Broadcasting to Preserve Historic Public Television and Radio Programs from Across Kansas. “KMUW 89.1 – FM and The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) announced today a collaborative effort to preserve and make accessible historic television and radio programs produced by Kansas public media stations. The resulting online collection, to be digitized from deteriorating and obsolete formats, will showcase statewide coverage of social issues, commentary, public reporting and history from more than 60 years of Kansas public media archival collections.”
New York Times: Wanted: A Home for Three Million Records. “Housed in a nondescript building in TriBeCa is the Archive of Contemporary Music, a nonprofit founded in 1985. It is one of the world’s largest collections of popular music, with more than three million recordings, as well as music books, vintage memorabilia and press kits. For point of comparison, the Library of Congress estimates that it also holds nearly three million sound recordings…. Rent in the neighborhood has continued to rise, challenging the organization to stay on budget, said Bob George, the founder and director of the archive. Recently, Mr. George reached an agreement with his landlord to get out of his lease early. He has until June to find another space.”
Texas State Library and Archives Commission: From “Unplayable” to Searchable Online: the House Recordings Recovery Project. “In 2007, Texas House of Representatives’ Media Services transferred to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) about 350 reels of audiotape. Most of the recordings dated between 1975 and 1984 and covered the House floor debates from the entire 63rd through 68th Legislative sessions. Many House committee recordings were included as well. At the time the tapes were transferred to TSLAC, the majority of the reels were described by House media staff as ‘unplayable.’ Having been marked as damaged and unplayable, the audiotapes were stored in TSLAC’s climate-controlled stacks awaiting deaccessioning.” A new resource and a discussion about restoring endangered media!
Internet Archive: How the Internet Archive is Digitizing LPs to Preserve Generations of Audio. “Since all of the information on an LP is printed, the digitization process must begin by cataloging data. High-resolution scans are taken of the cover art, the disc itself and any inserts or accompanying materials. The record label, year recorded, track list and other metadata are supplemented and cross-checked against various external databases.”
Indiana University: Stories etched in wax: Preservation project saves sounds of the past. “Indiana University’s Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative met a major milestone this summer by completing its wax cylinder digitization project.”
Daily Times (Pakistan): At vast New York warehouse, preserving records in the digital age. “The turntable needle drops and the reverbs of the obscure band The Motifs ring out, bouncing off mountains of records lining the musty warehouse housing America’s largest pop music collection. The cavernous independent private music library, known as the ARChive of Contemporary Music, on a non-descript street in lower Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood claims more than three million recordings — mostly vinyl and some CDS and cassettes, not to mention a vast collection of memorabilia.”
ReviewGeek: Everything You Need to Convert Your Cassette Tapes to Digital. “Like all analog formats, cassette tapes decay over time. In fact, it’s likely yours have already lost some fidelity. If you want to save those old mixtapes and home recordings, it’s best to digitize them right away. Thankfully, this is an easy process. You don’t have to be a computer whiz or an audiophile to follow this simple guide. And you shouldn’t have to spend any more than $25 on this project (it’ll probably cost even less).”
EGM: The Uncertain Future of Video Game History. “In April 2015, P.T. became the most high-profile casualty of digital distribution in recent memory. Released in August 2014 as a PlayStation 4 exclusive ‘playable teaser’ for Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro’s Silent Hills, P.T. became a phenomenon in its own right. Critics showered the brief horror experience with accolades, and YouTubers churned out hundreds of reaction videos. Then, in the wake of a highly public falling out between Kojima and Konami, the publisher cancelled Silent Hills and eventually removed P.T. from the PlayStation Store. Players who didn’t already have a copy downloaded to their consoles lost access to the title forever.” Fascinating deep dive.
Iowa City Press-Citizen: University of Iowa museums and library working together to preserve the past. “‘Most people don’t realize that museums display 10 percent or less of their holdings,’ said Cindy Opitz, director of research collections with the UI. ‘We have a lot of research collections behind the scenes that aren’t on display.’ This year, both UI Libraries and Museum of Natural History have received grant money from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs to help preserve the past and make its study as accessible as possible.”
ABC News (Australia): Decades of history could be ‘erased from Australia’s memory’ as tape machines disappear, archivists warn. “Australia’s memory institutions are racing to digitise their magnetic tape collections before the year 2025, when archivists around the world expect it will become almost impossible to find working tape playback machines.”
The Verge: Newly recovered Ground Zero photos show why you should back up your CD-Rs now. “When comedian and activist Jon Stewart gave an impassioned speech before Congress to seek ongoing aid for 9/11 first responders, it inspired Internet Archive software curator and digital preservationist Jason Scott to share something timely with the world as well: a newly discovered cache of photos from one of the workers who toiled away at Ground Zero, and who’d saved thousands of those photos on CD-R.”
Dublin InQuirer: How a Butcher Amassed a Photo Archive for East Wall. “Each of the seven folders holds about a hundred prints. The collection began with a few photos, rescued from a skip around the corner, says Paddy Curtis, in his East Wall butchers’ shop last week.” This is a wonderful story. Please read it.