History Center of Olmsted County

Krista Lewis, Twin Cities Archive Roundtable member and archivist for the History Center of Olmsted County, recently contacted Saving Tape Media Conversion seeking help in salvaging a one-of-a-kind video DVD which contains WWII oral histories as recorded at a WWII Round Table on March 9, 2009. The damaged DVD belongs to the daughter of one of the oral history presenters. As Krista’s team was not able to resurrect the contents of the disk, she called Saving Tape.

After cleaning the disk and attempting to play it on multiple devices, Saving Tape determined that there were micro-scratches on the shiny side of the DVD which prevented any optical scanner from reading the content. Strategic buffing and, ultimately, remastering the disk to fresh disk stock allowed for uninterrupted playback of the disk. From there, technicians were able to de-interlace the video content while extracting it as a high quality progressive frame Mp4 movie file. From there it was a simple exercise to send the digital Mp4 movie file to the History Center of Olmsted County, as a downloadable link from Saving Tape’s enterprise Google Workplace platform. Saving Tape will continue to store the file for a full year both on sight and offsite with Code42 data storage, as they do all projects.

Krista provided the following reflection on the project outcome:

“Our understanding of the past is built from the pieces that survive to document it. Those of us in the history business count ourselves lucky to be the custodians of these pieces, but invariably we will face the loss of some of them due to any number of reasons. It is always regrettable and sad when this happens, and so, even when all seems lost, we try every avenue we can to save our artifacts, including seeking out experts to do what we can’t. The History Center of Olmsted County, is grateful for Saving Tape’s ability to save a DVD recording of WWII oral histories that we feared could not be salvaged. They provided us with a service, but the service is really to the public who will benefit from having access to this for years to come.” Krista Lewis



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