JUNEAU -- The Alaska State Archives and the Legislative Affairs Agency have begun a collaborative project to digitize the Alaska State Legislature’s House/Senate Floor and Special/Standing Committee audio recordings dating from the 1960’s to 2004.
The Archives is providing hundreds of original master reel-to-reel tapes and over 20,000 audio-cassettes to Legislative Information Services, which has procured the technical equipment and tasked three staff to copy the content into MP3 format and make it available on both agencies’ webpages. Some of the recordings are quite fragile and in need of preservation, but migrating the content to newer media is the current best solution.
Shay Wilson, the network/programming supervisor who will administer the project for Legislative Affairs, said, “Our goal is to digitize all extant analog audio recordings and update bill/committee information going back to Statehood. Recordings will be posted online as they are completed.”
The length of the project is unknown because of staff and technical considerations, but it will consume more than one year. “It is an optimal situation for all parties,” said State Archivist Dean Dawson. “The Legislature will have its historical meeting recordings available via the web and most importantly, Alaskans will possess instant access to valuable information that previously could take several days to obtain.”