One of the largest parts of Senator Robert C. Byrd’s Congressional Papers Collection yet to be explored is the AV (Audio-Visual) Collection. When the CLS acquired Senator Byrd’s records in 2010, over 70 boxes of AV materials were included, ranging in date from the 1950s through 2010 and representing many different types of media. Now, the CLS is embarking on a project to process this collection and open it for researchers.
The first step of this process is to take an inventory of the collection. While most of the boxes shipped to the CLS from Senator Byrd’s offices in 2010 contain inventory sheets, they provide very basic information, such as “DVDs-2002-2004.” While some may list the individual records contained in the box, most do not. We developed an inventory sheet which will provide all of the necessary details about each one of the thousands of AV records in this collection. These details will be essential when the collection is entered into our database and we generate a finding aid.
The results of this inventory will not only be useful for documenting this vast collection and gaining a better understanding of its contents, but will also help the CLS staff prioritize the digitization of this collection. Different types of AV media degrade or lose quality overtime, some quicker than others. We will be working to ensure that those types which degrade quickest will be expedited for digitization. This process will also involve contracting with vendors to digitize rare or outdated media types which require special equipment.
Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting project over the next few months!