• Digitizing Multimedia and other Challenging Objects

    As mass media moved from the printed page into the broadcasting age, more and more of our history was recorded onto specialized media devices. And each device comes with a separate, often non-compatible format. From Edward R. Murrow’s radiobroadcasts in the middle of the London blitz, to Walter Cronkite’s announcement that President Kennedy had been shot, to Martin Luther King’s last speech, the Challenger explosion, etc – they all happened in front of a microphone or a camera, and they were all recorded. And luckily, for the most part, they were saved and archived.

    We’ll begin the discussion talking about challenging digitization projects we’ve faced at MATRIX’s digital lab – odd media, poorly preserved texts, videotape from the very origins of taped television, etc. From there, I’d like to talk about how best to deal with oversize objects, multimedia, sculptures, fragile objects, etc. and how digitization as a practice for better access – rather than just the technical aspects – may sometimes provide better access for scholars and students than the physical object itself.

    We’ll talk about preserving the digital object as well as the contextualization that can happen online, creating complex digital objects. These complex digital objects become larger than any one artifact as websites; communities of learners and scholars and the original archive all contribute metadata and knowledge. Digitization is just the first step in preservation, and metadata – enabling much of the process for building complex digital objects – need not always be limited to catalogers.

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