Digital preservation, digital curation, digital stewardship… whatever you call it, it’s important. And I like to focus on preserving things that no one cares about… yet.
Club Krush (later known as Raw Deal) was a hip-hop radio show on 103.3 WPRB in Princeton, NJ that ran from 1987 through 1993. As a high school student, I listened to and recorded almost every show from the point I discovered the show. Unfortunately, I didn’t label most of the tapes, so as I digitize each cassette and upload it to the Internet Archive, I also date the episode based on songs, ads, and news highlights. I tag each episode with each person that appeared on the episode and catalog a list of tracks played. The site runs WordPress with a theme modified to make best use of WordPress’ internal tags and custom post type options. I am working with one of the original hosts of the show to try and provide as full of an archive as possible of this unsung radio show from hip-hop’s history.
Few people anywhere will care about my college radio shows from the 1990s on WMWC, but I also know that I’m the only one that has copies of these shows so if I want my children/grandchildren/great-grandchildren or future MWC/UMW/WMWC historians to have access to them, I need to make sure they’re preserved and documented. When I say my focus is on “preserving on things no one cares about… yet,” this is a prime example.
In addition to my own college shows and Club Krush/Raw Deal, I’ve been working to archive other radio shows I recorded in the 1980s and 90s in addition to demo tapes and commercial cassettes that were never re-released digitally. This all happens at Normal Bias. There’s also a very occasional podcast associated with the site.
In the late 1980s, barely a teenager, I began to attend Apple II user group meetings at the South Jersey Apple User’s Group. Eventually, I offered services in a helpdesk role (though was never called for assistance) and wrote reviews and tips for the newsletter. I also kept every newsletter from the time period I attended. I’m in the process of scanning each issue I have.
I DJed at WMWC every semester I was in school at Mary Washington College, from 1994 through 1998. I was station manager for a year and probably more involved with the station than anyone else during those four years. Even though our listenership was about three (not three hundred or three thousand… just three), it was still one of the best experiences I had during college. This site exists as a humble attempt to document the station’s history and the people that have been involved over the years.
(This site is currently being reworked, so maybe just don’t look at it for now.)
In addition to traditional research-based genealogy and more recent DNA-focused genealogy, for those looking to truly preserve family history for future generations, acting as a family’s digital preservationist is a necessity. For my own family, I’ve taken the lead on digitizing, cataloging, and safely archiving family photos dating back over a hundred years that were previously stored in cardboard boxes and manilla envelopes.
Besides archiving photos, though, it’s important to capture family stories. I leverage services like StoryWorth as well as regular old sit-down-with-a-recorder discussions to preserve stories with older members of the family to make sure previous generations are not forgotten.
(I love good old genealogy, too, of course.)
I wrote a post about the importance of preserving our own digital footprint for future generations. An expanded presentation version is in progress.
- Apple II floppies
- Assorted Apple and PC magazines and newsletters from the 80s and 90s
- Assorted 8-tracks
- Numerous VHS recordings of commercials and local TV shows
- Super secret podcast