Luckily, for some of your preservation needs, you probably have resources close to you that won’t cost you a thing. Seem a bit too good to be true? We promise it isn’t. In the coming weeks, we’ll be providing a few tips on where to go for free resources to aid you in your preservation.
Most likely, you live close-ish to a university of some size. If you’re willing to lug your old media to the university, pay for parking, and go to the library, you can create digital copies of your materials or extract information for free.
If the university’s library is open to the public (and it probably is), you should investigate whether it has a media commons/center. Many schools have these places, where you’ll probably find cubicles or workstations that contain VHS players, cassette players, turntables, and other technological resources. Rice University’s Fondren Library, the homebase of your intrepid Indie Preserves chaperones, houses the Rice Digital Media Center (DMC), which provides hands-on training and assistance with essential tools for creating digital resources.
University media commons not open to the public? Always check to see what other resources the library offers to patrons. Rice’s Fondren Library is open to members of the public, and one of its featured resources are public scanning kiosks which allow members of the public to scan documents and either save to a USB drive or email them to themselves, free of charge.
Sound useful? Call up your local university library and ask about their digital media commons.