19 August 2016

Libraries Are Helping Patrons Digitize!

Libraries Are Helping Patrons Digitize!
We all hear how important it is to digitize items as a means of preservation and sharing and yet, we can be challenged to make that happen.  In the past, one had to purchase equipment to digitize items or drop off (or mail off) to pay services to get something converted.  Many years ago, I mailed (with tracking) slides and 8mm films to get them converted to print negatives and VHS tapes, respectively.  Obviously, I now need to convert those formats to digitized format to better ensure future access.
With that in mind, it’s been wonderful to read about some library initiatives where digitization equipment is made available to the public for FREE.
For example, the D.C. Public Library now has a Memory Lab -- The DC Public Library’s New “Memory Lab” Lets You Digitize Old Photos and Videos.
At the Memory Lab … anyone with a DC Public Library card can digitize their personal archives for free. Previously inaccessible VHS tapes, floppy discs, audio cassettes, and photo negatives can now be viewed on a computer screen and shared on a thumb drive, giving new life to things that seemed lost to time and changing technologies.
The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County has Makerspace. This space has many types of equipment available including VHS to digital conversion, VHS to DVD conversion, cassette tape to digital conversion, slide and image scanner, and more.
The Brooklyn Library in its Info Commons space has scanners and equipment “to convert analog media (VHS videocassettes, audiocassettes and vinyl records) to digital files.
How about the Kalamazoo (MI) Public Library and its Digital Lab, The Hingham (MA) Public Library and its collection of “conversion equipment,” the Lexington (KY) Public Library collection of Digital Studio Equipment, or the Bucks County (PA) Library System where you can convert photos and videos to digital formats!  The list truly goes on … just search on library digital conversion equipment and many public and university libraries with such are revealed.
Both smaller and larger library systems seem to be embracing making digitization equipment available to the community!  This is wonderful news for genealogists and family historians.  Now, instead of purchasing your own equipment or using pay services, all you need is a bit of time, an appointment, and to be armed with all that you want to convert!
It’s exciting to see on the internet how many public libraries are now making digitization equipment available to patrons.
I just need my local library to jump on the bandwagon.

Does a library near you have digitization equipment that patrons can use?  Give a shout out to it!
What personal photos, videos, audio tapes, documents, etc., have you had digitized via a library or pay service?

Editor’s Note: Consider also reading NARA Keeps on Innovating -- Innovation Hub now open!

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