The Dark Archive

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…



By Adam Sheffield

Appalachian State University’s Digital Scholarship & Initiatives (DSI) team is gearing up to help a couple of Appalachian communities digitize private images, and other documents. On August 20, members from DSI and University Documentary Film Services will travel to Dulatown, NC and on September 3 to Wilkesboro, NC equipped with laptops, flatbed scanners, and digital cameras ready to capture memories.

Residents of Dulatown and alumni of the Lincoln Heights school have been invited to bring photos, diaries, and other materials they would like to preserve and share. Eligible items will be digitized and copies will be delivered to the owners as well as included in the Appalachian State library Special Collections.

Dr. Beth Davison, Director of Interdisciplinary Studies at Appalachian State University, is currently producing a short documentary film on an interesting family reunion in Dulatown, NC, and will be featuring some of the scanned images in her project. Davison plans to screen the film in various North Carolina film festivals.