I attended a work shop on processing audio-visual collections, on Tuesday July 12, 2011, hosted by METRO NYC,  presented byPeter Oleksik and Joshua Ranger from Audiovisual Preservation Solutions.

I’m happy I had the opportunity to go. This wasn’t so much a presentation but more of a hands on workshop.  It began with a short introduction of magnetic tape and how signals are recorded. Which was followed by a series of “breakout” sessions.

The first for me was the VCR station, the instructor for this session took apart one and demonstrated how one would properly clean it. They also showed how you the tracks on the tape. Also I found out that the tracking button realigns the angle of the head to read the tracks on the tape properly.

The second session was on reel to reel tape, this instructor showed us the pre- digitization procedure for reel to reel and had us listen to a MRL tape.  He also showed us how to thread the tape though the machine, something I hadn’t known and had the chance to try myself.

The last session was on cassettes, the last instructor had several types of audio and video cassettes taken apart. He showed us how the inside of a tape worked and if one needed to replace the shell how one could do that.

The afternoon section was dominated by a prioritization exercise. Although it generated a great deal of discussion, it left me confused.. Everyone had their own idea of which item should and shouldn’t  be saved and why. It reminded me of the difference of opinion people can have on collection arrangement.  I think a lecture that supplied a better background on the formats and contents of the items discussed would have strengthened this part of the workshop.

I really enjoyed and learned a great deal from this workshop. However, it was more of a technical workshop on how AV machines operate and how one would prioritize their collection for digitization. I think some people were expecting a workshop that would explain how one would go about processing a AV collection.

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