The family collection material that has passed down from our parents and grandparents is sadly lacking in audio material. It would be great to have tapes of our ancestors sharing their family stories, but alas… if they exist, we haven’t found them.
But just in case – as we continue searching through the boxes – I thought it might be wise to ask Cassandra Gallegos, Preservation Administrator at George Blood Audio and Video, about the preservation of other audio formats besides tape cassettes. Do families ever find other audio formats stored in their basements or garage? And if they do find an old reel-to-reel tape, how do they go about listening to it?
Here’s Cassandra’s response:
“I'd say that any imaginable audio format could find its way into a family collection. Especially if anyone in your family happened to be a pack-rat! You might find Eight-Tracks, Reel-to-Reel, and various disc formats including Instantaneous, Lacquer, Transcription, and commercial Vinyl discs with cores ranging from glass to cardboard. We’ve gotten a quite a few queries from people who happened to find this type of material in their attic or packed away in a closet. It was once common for folks to go down to the local five and dime to record a quick message as a novelty and soldiers overseas often jumped at the chance to record a message to send back to their loved ones.
“If you find an unknown audio format, feel free to take a picture and contact us at George Blood Audio and Video. We take lots of questions from people who just want some information on what they have. The audio preservation community is small and tight knit. If we can’t help you, we can certainly put you in touch with someone in your area that can. If you happen to live in the area of a university, you might want to see if they have a preservation department in the library or an audio program. They often have equipment they use for their own collections. Local/regional archives can also help you. They may even be interested in having the audio digitized if you are willing to donate the original object to their oral history collection.”
One of the great pleasure of doing this blog is the opportunity to collaborate with some of the finest, most respected people working in the field of preservation today. Thank you, Cassandra, for sharing your expertise in audio preservation during the past month!
© 2011 Lee Price