Media formats are always changing. As new technologies develop, older ones are used less often and eventually become obsolete. So it is that the VHS format is starting to go the way of the 8-track and cassette tape. DePaul’s service contracts no longer include support for VHS/DVD combination players so DePaul’s Information Services team has struggled to maintain access to them in the wake of this discontinued support. Unfortunately, they are no longer able to continue to do so and will begin removing these players from DePaul classrooms in the near future.
IS will be announcing a timeline for the removal of these machines across our campuses. In the meantime, we wanted to take this opportunity to discuss how the Library has been approaching the issue of VHS obsolescence and options available to faculty for obtaining or reformatting VHS content needed for instruction.
While the Library still has a large collection of VHS tapes and plans to maintain the existing dual VHS/DVD players in both the John T. Richardson library and the Loop library, we’ve long been aware that many of our users have no means of watching VHS tapes outside of our premises. As a result, the Library has been steadily working to transition its collection of VHS tapes to DVDs in order to make this content more accessible to our users. While not all VHS titles are available in DVD, many replacements have been identified and purchased for our collection.
If there is library content you are accustomed to showing to your classes in VHS format, but have not placed on reserve, please reach out to your subject liaison and request that the library investigate purchasing this content in DVD format. For titles placed on reserve, please reach out to your reserves contact. For reserves materials that are not commercially available on DVD, we can explore working with MPT to digitize needed content onto a DVD.
If you made your own recordings on VHS tape, there are also some excellent materials online about how to approach reformatting of content:
Resources for Information about Preserving Your Digital Materials
A comprehensive list of sources covering a spectrum of personal archiving needs, including VHS from the University of Michigan’s Digital Preservation Office.