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A row of moveable bookshelves stacked with books, Photo by CM on Unsplash

June 9, 2023

Celebrating International Archives Day

Did you know that today is International Archives Day? It’s an opportunity to remind ourselves of the important works archivists around the world are doing in preserving information and knowledge.

Deakin Archives is playing its part too. We have recently preserved one of our most fragile collections, 200 films on u-Matic tape created by Victoria College’s Teacher Services Unit. The Teacher Services Unit was established in 1982 to provide AV and media support for academic programs at Victoria College. Deakin merged with Victoria College in 1991.

The Archives received these tapes in 1998 following the disbandment of the unit, which by this time had been renamed Educational Media Services.  

An old image of a Victoria College campus building

The front garden at Victoria College. It was formed in 1981 and operated until 1991 when it merged with Deakin.

Late in 2022 the films were sent away for digitisation and have just now been returned. Unable to view the items before digitisation we were unsure what we would discover. The tapes looked sound and the titles seemed promising, suggesting tributes to former staff, promotional videos, educational training films, as well as interviews with major artists, politicians and leaders in business. Former and some current staff attested to the value of the productions and have over the years helped locate missing items.

Any fears of tapes too far deteriorated or underwhelming in content were allayed when the digital copies returned. The tapes reflect student life and educational trends, and are important records of social history and the activities of Victoria College and other educational institutions in Victoria. They also allow an insight into the use of audio-visual materials for teaching and learning in Australia.

Another project on the go is the digitisation of two significant oral history collections containing interviews with Deakin’s founding Deans, Vice Chancellors and other significant players. Some items were recorded by Deakin Archivists themselves, others by historians and researchers.  These are invaluable records and their preservation is crucial. Another oral history project documents the voices, thoughts and memories of the central figures involved in the amalgamations of the State Colleges that formed Victoria College. Due to some full and frank discussions by the speakers on the tapes the recordings had been under embargo but can now be released.

A laptop with the screen showing a sound recording program. It is plugged into a sound panel and a tape playing device.

The process of digitising audio recordings currently stored on cassette tapes.

International Archives Day recognises the role of Archives in preserving records, knowledge and memory. In Deakin’s Archives we feel privileged to be able to preserve the important records that build knowledge, preserve history and tell the story of Deakin.

Deakin’s archives collections are accessible to the University in its scholarly and corporate activities, by researchers within and beyond Deakin, or by interested external parties and the community. Read more on Deakin’s History and Deakin’s Archives.

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