Toni Vanden Bos, an archivist with Wright State’s Special Collections and Archives, said that the over 200-tape collection was brought in to Wright State in 2019, but U-matic videocassettes are considered an obsolete format due to the scarcity of playback machines and the life expectancy of the tapes themselves.
“The grant funds allow us to hire a vendor, who will inspect, clean and digitize the U-matic tapes to an uncompressed archival digital file format,” she said. “After the digital files are reviewed for completeness and quality checked, the interviews will be described in an online finding aid for the Dr. Arthur E. Thomas, President Emeritus, Central State University Collection, which will be available online.”
She said that she anticipates strong interest from educators and students at all grade levels as well as community organizations that encourage discussion and activism on social and economic issues, documentarians, authors and historians.
All of the original tapes will be preserved in the Special Collections and Archives and will be digitized as funding becomes available. The archives also plan to begin transcribing the interviews and make them accessible as a step toward placing the digitized interviews into CORE Scholar, Wright State’s institutional repository, in the future.