R.I.P. VHS

Most sources say VHS magnetic tape has a life-span of about 30 years. For many tapes in our collection their 30th birthday has come and gone. The degradation is evident. The sound goes tinny, the image begins to streak and rattle across the screen. Have no fear, we are currently in the process of migrating our VHS to DVD and digital format.

Until now, I had hardly browsed our VHS collection, but this project has given us a chance to view some real gems. VHS was the main form of commercial video for about 20 years in the ’80s and ’90s, so this collection falls heavily within those decades. We have VHS tapes of A&E Biographies of famous Hoosiers. Many contain original local programming. Do any of these programs jog your memory: “Hoosier History” with Rick Maultra on TV-16, “Across Indiana” on WFYI or “Our Hoosier Heritage” on WFBM?

Some of the VHS is footage originally transferred from 16mm film. It was converted to VHS to preserve the film and make it accessible. From the VHS we will make DVDs. We have a couple of these on the State Library’s YouTube channel.

YouTube and Archive.org have a lot of neat historical films available:

  • Bernie Sanders’ film about the Socialist-party leader from Indiana, “Eugene V. Debs.” The film was made in 1979. Sanders doesn’t appear on screen, but you’ll recognize his voice as Debs.
  • “Family of Craftsmen” is a promotional company film from 1953. The film follows the Bokon family of South Bend who work at the Studebaker plant. “Family of Craftsmen” is available on Archive.org.
  • Madison, Indiana is featured as an ideal American town in the 1945 Office of War Information film, “The Town.”

Moving images capture our attention and allow us to see the past more vividly. We’ve transferred footage of the Foster P. Johnson family hamming it up for the home camera in the 1930s.

Do you have any interesting videos in your home collections? It’s time to get in touch with a professional and have them transferred!

This post was written by Indiana Collection Supervisor Monique Howell

Indiana Memory – Digital Public Library of America Fest 2017

The second annual Indiana Memory – Digital Public Library of America (IM-DPLA) Fest is set for Sept. 8, 2017 at the Indianapolis Public Library Central Branch. IM-DPLA Fest is a free, one-day conference running from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The fest was created to address topics on digitization and provide networking opportunities for those interested in working on digital projects. Past attendees include representatives from large public universities, public libraries and small cultural organizations. Everyone interested in digitization is welcome to attend.

This year’s keynote speaker is Kendra Morgan. She is a senior program manager with the Online Computer Resource Center (OCLC) and the co-author of the recently published report “Advancing the National Digital Platform: The State of Digitization in the US Public and State Libraries.” In addition, there will be several other presentations on topics in digitization. The lightning talks and poster session will highlight different digital projects from around the state. Proposals to participate with a lightning talk or poster session need to be submitted by June 30, 2017. See the IM-DPLA blog for more information about submitting a presentation, lightning talk or poster.

“Advancing the National Digital Platform: The State of Digitization in the US Public and State Libraries,” by Kendra Morgan and Merrilee Proffitt was release in 2017. It can be downloaded as a free pdf from the OCLC website.

Registration, and a more detailed schedule, will be announced at a later date on the IM-DPLA blog. So, whether you’re a seasoned digital veteran or just dreaming of acquiring your first flatbed scanner, we look forward to seeing you at the 2017 IM-DPLA Fest!

This blog post by Jill A. Black, a library technician with the Indiana Memory Project. For more information contact the Library Development Office (317) 232-3697 or ldo@library.in.gov.