Digitizing Audiovisual and Nonprint Materials
The Innovative Librarian's Guide
by Scott Piepenburg
September 2015, 94pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-3780-7
$50, £38, 42€, A72
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3781-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

What libraries need to know to digitize audiovisual materials in-house and on a small budget, before it’s too late.

AV collections in libraries are disintegrating, and their playback equipment is soon to be obsolete. Digitizing can be the solution to decay and for continued access.

Why give up on at-risk treasures of your AV collection when you can easily digitize them in house? This guide walks you through the process of planning and implementing digitization projects for the common formats libraries have collected over the last 30 or 40 years. It guides first-time users in setting up a facility to convert analog tapes and records into a digital form, explaining how to clean up those sources to produce a high-quality output for end-users. The same theories and skills are applied to the visual domain so you can convert VHS, Beta, U-Matic, and laserdiscs into archival visual formats.

A unique feature of the book is that it will help you understand the process without having to become a techno-geek. Basic information on computer hardware and software is discussed, including the equipment needed to digitize various formats. Techniques for capturing, editing, storing, and making digitized files available to patrons are also covered. Because budgets are always a concern, the work looks at ways you can leverage current resources and facilities with minimal outlay of capital to start a project, and it offers practical guidance on how to maintain the information long term.


  • Offers easy-to-understand guidance on how to use digitizing to enable your library to recoup its investment in outdated but often-expensive AV collections
  • Discusses use of off-the-shelf and shareware technology
  • Covers creation of metadata for discovery layer access
  • Shows how digitized materials can be made available over the Internet, making them much more accessible than the physical versions
  • Presents information to create a path for future projects and for storage of output information
  • Shares knowledge that is transferable to media other than those discussed in the book
Scott Piepenburg is head of cataloging at Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA. He was previously cataloging coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and district cataloger/system administrator for the Dallas Independent School District, where he was instrumental in bringing up the first large-urban union catalog in the United States. He has also held positions at Hampton University and Vincennes University and has worked at such vendors as EBSCO, Infotrieve, and Follett Software. Piepenburg is the author of the popular Easy MARC series and of articles on the future of library automation, the history of disc-based recording technology, and the cataloging of audiovisual materials for school and public libraries. He has lectured throughout the United States on cataloging and authority control and considers himself an "authority control junkie." Other library-related interests include net neutrality and the role of objectivism in library collection development.


"The strength of the work includes the history of physical formats, particularly audio and video formats, as well as detailed discussions and images of the types of hardware and cables used to aid in the digitization of audio cassettes and VHS tapes. Piepenburg is Head of Cataloging at Valdosta State University and has a rich background in cataloging, and has written about the history of recording technology. His knowledge on these topics shows, and will benefit those looking to establish and enrich their baseline knowledge of audiovisual materials."—Technical Services Quarterly, October 6, 2016

"This small book is packed with information and librarians of any caliber will find it easy to follow Piepenburg’s instructions to begin a digitization project of their own. The low-barrier technical threshold should not deter anyone. The book ends with the advice to “have fun.” Librarians and archivists will enjoy reading this fast-paced book and most likely learn a thing or two in the process."—Library Resources and Technical Services, October 11, 2016
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