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Sharing the Past - Archiving Washington State University History on Film

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Published on Jun 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Contact: Mark O'English, University Archivist, Manuscripts Archives and Special Collections, 509-335-2739, markoe@wsu.edu;
Adam Wallberg, Intern, WSU News Service, 509-335-0487, adam.wallberg@email.wsu.edu

PULLMAN, Wash. - Preserving and sharing the history of Washington State University is the job of Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections located in the Terrell Library. University Archivist, Mark O'English, has taken on the large project of digitizing deteriorating films for the library. There are more than 2,000 films in the collection, with about 1,000 of those being football games.

Not only does digitizing the films help share the history of WSU, it has become a necessity in order to preserve some quickly deteriorating files.

"We have a video from the 1980s which is already deteriorating and almost impossible for us to see now," said O'English. "So it's important for that to be converted into a format where it can be preserved."

All of the digitized files are kept in full high-definition for archiving. Some files also made into a lower resolution copy to be uploaded on YouTube, as well as the university's web page. The library has about 20 football films and 25 other films online already.

The most rewarding part of the project for O'English is people's reactions when viewing the films. He said being able to laugh through some of the videos and share the history of WSU makes the project worthwhile.

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