Monday, March 1, 2010

Penn State Audio-Visual Collections

Today the awesome team of Paul Dzyak, Eileen Akin, Paul Karwacki, and Emily Esposito delivered a highly educational presentation on the audio-visual materials in the Penn State University Archives.

Did you know that PSUA houses approximately 34,000 audio items and 26,500 moving images? Audio formats vary from discs to cassettes to tapes to digital; and moving image formats vary from videotape to film to digital. Many of these items can be found in the Fred Waring Archive and Intercollegiate Athletics collection, but A/V items can also be found in collections from WPSU, Public Information, and others.

A/V materials must be carefully preserved in a cool, dark space, and we have a special room featuring a controlled environment and movable shelves in which to keep them. These items also require specific (often outmoded) equipment to enable patron use, which is why we have an A/V room equipped with not only a DVD player, but VHS, U-matic , and reel-to-reel players as well.

PSUA staff have been working steadily for several years to get all A/V items digitized, however, this is a slow process (conversion is done in real-time), and due to specialized equipment needs and a shortage of staff time, sometimes we do have to utilize outside vendors, which can be quite expensive. For example, the average cost to convert just one 16mm reel to DVD ranges from $200 to $300.

The PSUA audio-visual team referred us to 3 websites for further information on the preservation and digitization of A/V materials:

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