Ask a Librarian

Thanks to SCAMeL, TMC Library’s A/V History is Getting New Life

by Matt Richardson, Archivist and Special Collections Librarian

October is Archives Month! The TMC Library is celebrating with a special opportunity to support the McGovern Historical Center. Help us secure the history of the Texas Medical Center. https://library.tmc.edu/mcgovern/2022/09/28/give-2-history-secure-the-past/

For those of you who’ve been following the McGovern Historical Center for a while, you know our audiovisual collections are among our most distinctive holdings. For example, we have hundreds of films (many available online!) illustrating heart surgery techniques by Denton Cooley and his associates at the Texas Heart Institute. Recently we’ve also written about sound recordings of Nobel Prize winner Philip Hench, as well as interviews with leading figures from the TMC Historical Resources Project.

Audiovisual materials are especially high preservation priorities, as their formats make them especially susceptible to degradation. Besides the fact that magnetic tape deteriorates at a concerning rate, when was the last time you saw a U-matic tape deck in working order?

Last spring we were excited to learn that we’d been awarded “Speedy Startup funds” from the South Central Academic Medical Libraries Consortium (SCAMeL) to further support our audiovisual collections. Knowing that foundational archival collections like the TMC Library records (IC 001) and the Texas Medical Center records (IC 002) contained unique and at-risk audiovisual recordings, the MHC and TMC Library team put together a proposal to have these materials digitized for preservation and access. We selected 52 videos, films and sound recordings—including a range of educational lectures, TV news coverage, and promotional segments—all focused on the history of the TMC and the Library. We also jumped at the opportunity to finish digitizing the remaining twenty-five interviews from the TMC Historical Resources Project.

While we can handle some things like VHS and compact cassette tapes in house, sometimes securing a vendor is the best way to get this sort of thing done, especially in large numbers. We recently got the digital files back, and they look great! Besides offering valuable historical content, the videos also transport viewers back in time through a mix of color bars, tracking, and other reminders of their analog heritage. Archivists are currently viewing the finished products and creating additional descriptions so that they can be searched and navigated online. We’ll be adding these to our online collections system over the coming months. Stay tuned!

We’d like to thank our friends at SCAMeL for making this project possible. And if anyone out there is on the fence about giving to our Give 2 History: Secure the Past fundraiser, let’s just say we’ve got plenty more files and tapes to preserve and digitize!

 

Dedication of the Jesse Jones Library Expansion, May 25, 1973. Single frame from film reel, AVF.IC002.005_0003667, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library
[“Dedication of the Jesse Jones Library Expansion” (May 25, 1973). Single frame from film reel, AVF.IC002.005_0003667, IC 002 Texas Medical Center Records, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library]
 
[Conversations with the Past: "Sir William Osler: On the Student Teacher Libraries and Medicine" by John P. McGovern, MD, (May 14, 1980. AVV-IC007-005, IC 007 University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston records, McGovern Historical Center, TMC Library]
[Screenshot from “Conversations with the Past: “Sir William Osler: On the Student Teacher Libraries and Medicine” by John P. McGovern, MD, (May 14, 1980). AVV-IC007-005, IC 007 University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston records, McGovern Historical Center, TMC Library]
 
["Channel 10 Midday Stories: Jones Library Features, Rare Book Collection," (approximately 1984). AVV-IC001-002, TMC Library Records, McGovern Historical Center, TMC Library]
[Screenshot from “Channel 10 Midday Stories: Jones Library Features, Rare Book Collection,” (approximately 1984). AVV-IC001-002, IC 001 TMC Library Records, McGovern Historical Center, TMC Library]
 
[Screenshot from "The Houston Academy of Medicine - Texas Medical Center Library Meeting the Challenge," (1997). AVV_IC001_001, IC 001 TMC Library Records, McGovern Historical Center, TMC Library]
[Screenshot from “The Houston Academy of Medicine – Texas Medical Center Library Meeting the Challenge,” (1997). AVV_IC001_001, IC 001 TMC Library Records, McGovern Historical Center, TMC Library]
 
[Screenshot from "The Houston Academy of Medicine - Texas Medical Center Library Meeting the Challenge," (1997). AVV_IC001_001, IC 001 TMC Library Records, McGovern Historical Center, TMC Library]
[Screenshot from “The Houston Academy of Medicine – Texas Medical Center Library Meeting the Challenge,” (1997). AVV_IC001_001, IC 001 TMC Library Records, McGovern Historical Center, TMC Library]
 
[Screenshot from "Interview with Josie M. Roberts," (1974). AVV-IC084-080, IC 084 TMC Historical Resources Project Records, McGovern Historical Center, TMC Library]
[Screenshot from “Interview with Josie M. Roberts,” (1974). AVV-IC084-080, IC 084 TMC Historical Resources Project Records, McGovern Historical Center, TMC Library]
 
[Screenshot from "Interview with Leopold L. Meyer," (1973). AVV-IC084-071, IC 084 TMC Historical Resources Project Records, McGovern Historical Center, TMC Library]
[Screenshot from “Interview with Leopold L. Meyer,” (1973). AVV-IC084-071, IC 084 TMC Historical Resources Project Records, McGovern Historical Center, TMC Library]
 
[Screenshot from "Interview with Richard S. Ruiz, MD," (1991). AVV-IC084-083, IC 084 TMC Historical Resources Project Records, McGovern Historical Center, TMC Library]
[Screenshot from “Interview with Richard S. Ruiz, MD,” (1991). AVV-IC084-083, IC 084 TMC Historical Resources Project Records, McGovern Historical Center, TMC Library]

 

Social media graphic about Give 2 History: Secure the Past. Help the McGovern Historical Center secure the history of the Texas Medical Center. Give Today!
Give 2 History: Secure the Past. Help the McGovern Historical Center secure the history of the Texas Medical Center. Give Today!

 

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