Rescuing Treasures at Risk – Columbia University Libraries


our collecting has for a long time had
shall we say a sort of textual bias but increasingly scholars historians
students are interested in other modes of communication the technology now
exists to to bring those modes of communication straight into a classroom
if you’re teaching as I do in the archive you’re teaching using these
kinds of old materials you can’t always just bring it into the classroom and
show it to your students you need a digital version of it digitizing is
important because these materials that we’re focusing on are one they’re unique
and they are in obsolete formats that is for those who are old enough to remember
audio tapes audio cassettes LPS 45s and the format’s that came before them so
digitization allows us to capture the content of the film the audio tape the
movie and present it to patrons who cannot play the original objects the
digital version allows me to let my students get right up close to the
artist or performer or political activists in the moment in the moment of
creation in the moment of performance and you have to have that access to be
able to talk about the specificity of it the messiness of it the power of it
sometimes I think what the recordings add is also a sense of the way that
culture is embodied there’s an urgency to losing media collections we take our
jobs as stewards seriously that when we make the decision to acquire a
collection when we make a decision to place it in the rare book a minute reply
parade or in any of our other distinctive collections we’re making a
decision to keep it in perpetuity there are times when you’re teaching
with these original artifacts and recordings that you see this light bulb
moment where the student gets excited the digital version gives you that sense
of proximity it gives you that kind of chill that sense of wow I’m right there
right there next to them to me that’s the reason that this material has to be
preserved we have a chance to be at the forefront of a really important shift
that’s going to have to happen not just here but as libraries around the country
in around

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2 thoughts on “Rescuing Treasures at Risk – Columbia University Libraries”

  1. rose says:

    My dream. I will fulfill it.

  2. Jason Carrizales says:

    Cool! πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ πŸŒˆπŸ˜ŽπŸ€“πŸŒˆ

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