Monday, March 17, 2008

Similar Steps for Differing Formats: Digitizing Rare Media in the University of Tennessee Libraries

Chris Durman, University of Tennessee
Mark Puente, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Important audio or video in outdated formats can languish unused in a music collection unless steps are taken to reformat these materials. It is vital to follow standards to ensure that such materials will remain playable and discoverable to modern day scholars and performers. Two projects undertaken by the University of Tennessee Music Library in 2006-2007 illustrate the procedures and problems encountered in reformatting and archiving materials previously recorded in now obsolete audio and video formats. Composer, instructor, and conductor David Van Vactor donated more than 700 recordings, in a variety of formats, of various ensembles performing his compositions. Instructor and early Suzuki method researcher William Starr likewise donated several videos, filmed by UT researchers, of classes offered by Shin’ichi Suzuki and other early Japanese and American music teachers using the Suzuki Method. While very different in content and format, similar equipment, software, and procedures were used to make these unique materials usable for students today and tomorrow. This poster session discussed the fact that many librarians will already have access to most of the necessary and relatively inexpensive equipment and software, showed the similar digitization procedures, explained where the procedures diverged, and encouraged librarians to consider digitizing their own unique collections.

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