Saving Tape has completed a large audio digitization project consisting of the analog-to-digital transfer of oral histories from audiocassettes and reel to reel tapes to digital .WAV & Mp3 audio files. The project came from The Central Minnesota Historical Collection – part of the St. Cloud State University Archives. Of the material in the CMHC, a few hundred oral histories were conducted in the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s.
The oral histories were either conducted by St. Cloud State faculty member Calvin Gower or under his supervision. The interviews tell fascinating stories from people who are mostly no longer living, either about their churches, their lives in central Minnesota, and involvement in politics. They provide first-hand accounts and in their own voice, some nearly 50 years old.
The interviews either resided on audiocassette tapes or reel to reel audiotapes. Some had transcripts while others simply had a summary of topics discussed. St. Cloud State University Archivist and Twin Cities Archive Roundtable member, Tom Steman, felt the interviews had high value that they should be made more accessible – and accessible to anyone in the world with a computer and an internet connection.
The first step was to have the interviews digitized. Not having the technical expertise, time, and equipment to digitize the audiotapes, Tom contracted with Saving Tape to do that work. Once digitized, the audio was transcribed. Bios were written and the oral histories summarized. The interviews were then uploaded to The Repository @ St. Cloud State, where they can be accessed by the public.