I was at a workshop last week about preserving 20th Century visual materials and was shaken by a little nugget that was mentioned. VHS tapes may have as little as a 15 year lifespan if not stored in good conditions. Yikes! Now, that's not to say that all tapes are going to be junk and there's nothing we can do about it, but it is a wake up call to start thinking about migrating them to a new medium. I still have a vcr, so I haven't worried about the vhs tapes at all...I can still play them so, what do I have to worry about? Well, it may be that I can't play them...I haven't tried to play them in some time and I really don't know where they all are. Also, have I been keeping my vcr clean? Do I have a vcr head cleaner? All of these questions are relevant and can effect how our tapes play, if they play at all. So, I'm not going to panic, but I will be taking immediate action to move things I have on video soon. It looks like there are some ways to digitize video without spending an arm and a leg. Stay tuned and as I start to work on this process, I'll update here.
Archivist, Cultural Heritage Professional, Family Historian.