Friday, July 31, 2015

New Accessions: Knight Cancer Institute Video Collection

Dear Readers,
On this scorching day in the PNW I'd like to bring you something new and interesting from our recent acquisitions.  In the first month of my time here as the OHSU Archivist I met with staff from the Knight Cancer Institute to assist them in digitizing their video collection of Brian Druker/Gleevec and Lance Armstrong -related materials.  Many of these were languishing on VHS tapes which are prone to rapid disintegration and are not necessarily easy to migrate to a new more user-friendly format.  KCI's concern was that valuable information on Druker and Gleevec would be lost if these VHS tapes disintegrated to the point of actual content loss.  Over the course of the next few weeks I drafted some specifications for the creation of archival-quality digital surrogates and helped the KCI staff in selecting a vendor.

OHSU in the news: discussion of cancer and Lance Armstrong

    Before continuing with the "fun" part of the story I'd like to pause and give you some more information on digitization of audio visual materials.  There have been a number of devices and services that have popped in the American landscape in the last 15 years that can make quick copies of VHS tapes and other legacy formats (cassettes, etc.), everything from dual cassette decks with a USB interface to DVD/VHS combination machines that rip from one and burn to other entirely internally. There are also a wide variety of cables that can be used to hook your old VCR up to a modern computer and with programs like Audacity, you can control more of the of digitization parameters.  Things such as bit-depth, sampling rate, aspect ratio and frame-rate all have a bearing on the quality of the reproduction and its subsequent usefulness as an access copy.  Archival standards for this type of digitization are typically much higher than consumer grade machines built for transferring analog signals to 1's and 0's in a coherent and useful fashion.  Archival standards go above the basic requirements for reproduction so that they can be used as investigatory tools.  Consider that we typically scan print materials at 600 dots-per-inch as opposed to the standard access copy of 300 DPI.  The reason is that with the higher resolution scan we can grab detail that would require a physical medium to investigate.  For instance, if you want to easily zoom into view words or numbers in a faded photograph or adjust the contrast to make things "appear" you would want a high-resolution scan that gives you the highest level of document information in order for these adjustments to be useful.  The same is true for digitizing audio visual materials.  We go above the threshold so that in investigating secondary or tertiary aspects of the recording we have the maximum, currently available means for doing this.  The last thing we want to do, especially with magnetic tape-based materials is to re-scan or re-digitize--which can cause further unwanted degradation to the materials itself.

Aerial of OHSU*

    Alright, enough of Max waxing archival.  Here's a list of the videos that were digitized:

    - Lance Armstrong taped 9-8-99
    - OHSU Cancer - Advancing Towards the Cure
    - LIVESTRONG Ride Portland 2005
    - LAF Press Conference 6-29-05
    - OHSU Cancer Breakthrough Video News Release
    - Dr. Druker Compilation Tape
    - ABC News 20-20 STI-571 Dr Brian Druker 2-11-00
    - Druker
    - Brandon Hayes-Lattin Spirit of the NW
    - Druker News Seg

(The titles were taken directly from the VHS tapes)

Druker in the lab
Many of the videos are compilations of local newscasts and interviews, and mostly local to Portland, Oregon.  For access to these videos, please contact HC&A.
As always,

*You all should know how much I love aerials by now. =)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

80+ OHSU oral history transcripts now available online!

As of last week, we now have over 80 transcripts from the OHSU Oral History Program available through OHSU Digital Commons! That amounts to hundreds of pages of personal recollections about OHSU history, all searchable and downloadable as PDFs.

This project was started by Kathleen Feduccia, a longtime HC&A volunteer who completed her MLS degree, and is now working for Clackamas County Law Library.  This spring, HC&A student assistant Crystal Rodgers picked up where Kathleen left off, converting Word documents to PDFs, creating consistent metadata, and uploading the transcripts to Digital Commons. Archives staff will keep adding new transcripts as they're finalized.

This project is the culmination of several years of effort to make these transcripts more accessible to researchers everywhere. And as you can see from the interactive map at the bottom of the collection home page, people all over the world are finding them.

You can also consult our complete list of interviews to see everyone we've talked to for this program. Interview transcripts and recordings are still available for checkout from OHSU's Main Library, and DVD copies of interviews are also available for a fee.