Public library creates memory lab

2010_4559410051_card_catalogWashington DC’s Martin Luther King Jr. Library opened their free, interactive Memory Lab this spring. Their goal is to help people digitize their personal media in a way that can stand up to constantly changing technology. Thanks to publicity from a local TV station, the Memory Lab has been a busy place.

Users are able to bring in VHS tapes, floppy discs, audio cassettes and photo negatives (in addition to other inaccessible media) and view the content, then share it through a thumb drive. The lab also has 3-D printing and an on-demand book printer available free of charge.

Sessions are reserved in three-hour segments, and users find instructions on the library website. If they need help processing their media, there is an archivist available to answer questions. However, users are generally left in private due to the personal nature of what they are viewing.

Another goal of the Memory Lab is to help people realize how quickly technologies change. They hope people will pay attention to the ways they document their memories, and how accessible those memories will be in the coming years.

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