This summer, the Media History Project will launch a new initiative. The goal of this project is to organize and prioritize an effort to preserve in digital format as much of the history of media as we can before it disappears forever.

To accomplish this task, we’re going to need your help. We’re going to work with libraries, museums, and historical societies large and small across the country. The first step will be to contact people in these organizations and determine which collections are most endangered by changing media formats. Media that is being stored on old computers or videotapes may not survive the lifetimes of those charged with maintaining them.

Each organization will be asked to identify the most endangered materials in its collection. This may include content on obsolete media formats stored off-site or in obsolete hardware devices, as well as objects that are subjected to environmental damage like fading and mold.

These institutions will also need help cataloging their collections for digital conversion. You can help by volunteering your time.

The Media History Project is also developing a training program for interested volunteers. Anyone with access to a personal computer and an internet connection will be able to learn how to complete the following tasks:
  • Digitize content on obsolete media formats
  • Transcode analog video and audio formats
  • Clean up corrupted files
  • Upload to the website

In addition, we are developing a series of online tutorials to help volunteers learn how to use free software tools like Audacity, Handbrake, Miro, and Kdenlive. We are also working on a series of tutorials for that will walk users through the process of contributing to this important new collection.

This project is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.” The Media History Project was established in 2004 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an independent, non-profit research center supporting scholarship in media history. The project is housed within the Comparative Media Studies/Writing program. “The Media History Project (MHP) supports work on a broad range of topics related to the cultural, social, and political impact of communication technologies over time.” MHP is supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The Project is under development as a collaboration between Comparative Media Studies / Writing (CMST) and MIT Libraries. The CMST program provides administrative support.

Contact Media History Project with questions, comments, and suggestions.”