Plans in Place for Digitization of Historic Arkansas Videotapes

by Joanna Kauffmann  on Monday, Nov. 29, 2010 12:00 am  

Archie Schaffer, senior vice president of external relations at Tyson Foods and a member of the Pryor Center's advisory board, suggested the State Library as a better location for the tapes to be stored. "He mentioned that the State Library had just been remodeled," Katrosh said of Schaffer. "That prompted us to call over there and seek a meeting."

That meeting was with Carolyn Ashcraft, the state librarian, who said that the call from the Pryor Center was "the right call at the right time," before all of the library's basement storage shelves had been claimed.

The library facility is a controlled air environment, where the tapes will be safe from any possibility of water damage. "Unless it's the flood of the century, this room should be safe," Ashcraft said of the basement storage area.

The majority of the 24,000 videotapes are being stored in chronological order on the shelving that the library has provided, with about 1,500 being kept in boxes in the library basement. The tapes have been moved from KATV in several trips, with the final tapes being transferred to the library on Nov. 20 and 21. KATV has unlimited access to the library's basement so that it can pull tapes from the collection as needed.

The agreement between the Pryor Center and the library is for two years of free storage, in which time Katrosh hopes that the Pryor Center will be able to raise the money for digitization. "Once we do have the money to do that, then we'll pull all those out of the basement and get them digitized," he said, though he added that the Pryor Center had no firm idea of when that would be.

Katrosh hopes that the center will be able to begin digitizing all the tapes at the same time, in which case, he said, "we could get them all digitized in about a year, using multiple machines running 24/7." If that is not possible, Katrosh said, the Pryor Center would start digitizing the oldest tapes first, to have a better chance at preserving their content.



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