Stanford Media Preservation Lab is back in business

December 10, 2013
Hannah Frost
SMPL's open door

The Stanford Media Preservation Lab (SMPL) has completed installation of audio and video digitization equipment in its new facilities at 425 Broadway in Redwood City, and has resumed all services. We're 100% back to work, supporting researcher access to SUL's world-class collections of sound recordings and moving images. 

SMPL represents one arm of SUL's Digitization Services. We work closely with the Archive of Recorded Sound, Media and Microtext, Special Collections and University Archives to preserve and make accessible media collection materials that are increasingly difficult to play back due to physical format, condition, or other factors. 

Geoff at the copy stand

Researchers are showing an increasing interest in SUL's media collections, so it was important to the SMPL team to minimize our downtime during the relocation and installation in order to lessen the impact on public services. At the same time, it was critical that we take the necessary time and attention to set up our digitization systems in order to assure high quality output.

Nathan Coy in the audio lab

The truth is that SMPL was never completely closed or without work to do. Since we moved in early September, the team has seen to the digitization of 30 audio items as requested by students, and provided film and video footage for several external researchers, including producers at the BBC and Swedish Public Television. This experience points to the steady demand for SUL's media materials as well as the ability and agility of our staff to meet the demand even during times of transition.

Michael Angeletti in the video lab

With all equipment installation and signal testing now complete, we are hitting the ground running: the video lab has several active projects underway, including an ILL request from the Nashua Public Library for a DVD held by Media and Microtext: SUL is the only library in OCLC that has it!  Meanwhile the audio lab is focused on finishing a project to digitize nearly 1,000 recorded speeches and events in the records of the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research using our high-efficiency audiocassette workstation (capable of digitizing up to 8 cassettes simultaneously).

Life is pretty good at Redwood City. You should definitely come out to visit! Let us know when you would like to come.