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SVREP: A Look Into the Audiovisual Materials

June 25, 2017



The SVREP Collection contains a large portion of documents, but also audiovisual material as well. Our team was especially excited about the public service announcements from Freddie Fender and Lou Rawls, and the videos documenting their trips to Nicaragua and training sessions around the country. A large portion of the media were not capable of being played on devices readily available, which presented a challenge. We knew we wanted these audio recordings and video footage to be shared with the public and accessible online, so the task was to search through the boxes and select the material that would most benefit from being digitized.

Sorting through these boxes was very nostalgic for me. It was nice to see technology that I was familiar with as a kid, especially the VHS and cassette tapes. I remembered my extensive Disney film collection and renting movies at Blockbuster.VIDEOS

I often forget that the youth of today have never seen a VHS tape since online streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu have become their norm. It brought back memories of trying to record songs on the radio with cassette tapes and being accustomed to hearing the DJ’s before the song played to ensure no part of the song was cut-off.

After taking a stroll down memory lane, it was back to business as UTSA had to decide to digitize the material in-house or outsource the job. Our team decided to send it to George Blood L.P., a well-known provider that specializes in digitizing obsolete and deteriorating media. We found the cost and trouble it would save us in the end was worth it, than investing in the necessary equipment. Even though we would not be responsible for digitizing the media, certain steps were necessary in order to prepare the material for shipment. This involved creating a detailed excel spreadsheet that clearly identified each item and their corresponding information, as well as packing the items so that they would survive transit and arrive safety to their destination.

Here are a few of the many different formats we found in the collection, some of which I have never used, and some I am very familiar with. For now, we chose not to digitize the VHS and cassette tapes in order to save the digitization process for media that was less stable.

Currently, the SVREP team has received the digitized files back from George Blood and are now working on the metadata in order to upload the material to CONTENTdm, a digital management system which allows us to store and manage the files so that they are accessible to the public. We are excited that this material is available now!  Click here to explore the digitized content!

***This project is generously funded by the NHPRC**



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