More and more people are bringing old memories back to life with a digital makeover and preserving them for their descendants with the knowledge that their old analogue recordings have a short shelf life, particularly when our old recording are stored in a place that can be detrimental to traditional analogue media such as VHS or 8mm recordings.
How many precious family memories do you have tucked away in your attic space or degrading in an outbuilding?Both video and audio tape have a ferric oxide coating. Over time this came become dry and brittle just like old parcel tape and it can snap easily. But dried out tape is the least worry to your archive. To their horror, many people dig out their old memories only to discover that the inside of their old tapes are covered in thick ‘tape mould’.
The reason our precious archives languish gathering dust is our inability to preserve those old memories on newer media such as DVD. These days, there are many companies that specialize in converting our treasured memories and the possibilities are endless with new forms of editing software as well as software that can enhance the quality of our old recording.
As we move forward and away from the eighties and the nineties the rate of deterioration on the word’s precious archive of analogue recordings should not be underestimated. The very worst place we could chose to store away our treasured memories is the very place that people are choosing to store them: garden sheds; lofts and cellars. The British Library has advised that recording should be stored in a dark place away from damp and heat.
VHS recordings have a shelf life of around ten years. Compare that with the fact that some of the earliest data recordings made in Japan still have data intact to this day.
Digital recording not only last longer than their analogue counterparts they are easy to store and display and are not composed of bulky and unsightly plastic cases that once scattered the average eighties and nineties home.
As we turn away from analogue and embrace digital media in our homes we must revisit our family memories and remind ourselves that we need to act now if we are to preserve what we have for the future.