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December 4, 2019

Vintage Deakin videos: digitising the Archives

It’s that time of year when year 12s are gearing up for university, deciding where to attend and start their new future as undergraduates. Universities all over the world create promotional videos to give students an idea of what life is like on campus, what they can look forward to and why students should choose them.

Recently, the Deakin Archives team found just such a promotional video in our storage – from all the way back in 1989!

Aside from some truly excellent hairstyles, glasses and outfits (which seem to be making a comeback!) the video encapsulates the learning and social experiences students could expect from attending what was then known as the Warrnambool Institute of Advanced Education. It was digitised and featured at the recent 30-year reunion of the WIAE last month, and you can now watch it on DeakinAir or embedded below.

Let’s rewind…

How was the video discovered?

Some years ago, the Archives at Deakin University took custody of more than 250 boxes of audio-visual materials from the 1970s to the early 2000s. The material was produced by Deakin entities that include:

Archives digitisation equipment

The formats were predominately reel-to-reel and audio or video cassettes – including VHS, U-Matic, Betacam and variants – and some early digital material, e.g. CD-Rom discs.

The collection covers:

It also illustrates the evolution of audio-visual technologies and their role in Deakin University’s pioneering of distance education.  

With no master listing, we only knew the content of the individual items by what was written on the tapes themselves. 

cassettes awaiting digitisation

Some priority or at-risk items, such as records of important University events and early broadcast videotapes, are being digitised to enable preservation and access. To do this, ageing players of now redundant media are being sourced from wherever we can – our BetacamSP player was traced to a garage in Gippsland!

The Archives has just completed a master listing of the 4500 items in this collection and many gems have emerged, including the video above. We have two copies of ‘The Beginning, Warrnambool Institute’, with a VHS copy digitised for the purpose of the WIAE reunion in November – but a better quality master version exists on BetacamSP and will be digitised in the future.

Aside from the video being shown at the WIAE reunion, researchers are already accessing our newly digitised copies of course material and lectures of noted Deakin academics for papers or conferences. 

There is still much work to be done on this collection – making it more widely available and further digitisation will be the focus in the coming years. You can explore more of Deakin Archives by visiting their website. If you have any questions about the digitisation project or would like access to videos that are not yet on the website, please contact Antony Catrice at [email protected].

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