Saving Media for a Digital Age

by Adam Sheffield

Today, nearly everyone around the world has access to various forms of media and information just a few clicks away. The digital age has compressed practically everything we want to know into tiny byte-sized bits. Before the digital age, not all forms of media were so easy to swallow.

Prior to streaming and downloading files, most of our music and videos were captured and stored on analog tape or film. These sounds and images could only be played back using bulky equipment that you couldn’t carry in your pocket.  So what does it take to get all of that stuff onto YouTube, Facebook, or some other internet source? Digitization.  

A team of professionals in the library at Appalachian State University is charged to preserve and provide access to older media and information. The Digital Scholarship & Initiatives (DSI) team transfers analog formats, scans old pictures and publications, and performs other services in order to provide digital access by people at the university and beyond.

DSI uses state of the art equipment to transfer media, but not always. Some DSI equipment is older than team members themselves. They just don’t make things like they used to…