By Todd Murphy | November 24th, 2014
With so much of today’s business focus being put on the development of mobile strategies, social media engagement and brand influence, it seems many organizations are looking far into the past to help drive their new efforts.
New companies, libraries and museums tend to collect documents and artifacts from the moment they open their doors. Eventually these documents grow into historical documents and collections. While many of these documents are never lost, some are lost before they can be saved, but more often they get filed away to be nearly forgotten.
Human skillsets and the knowledge base of our past professionals are very similar to collections. “What at one time may have been a highly sought after skill, like computer programming in the Cobal language, or the ability to splice and project 16mm film, can slip into obscurity as new technology supplants the old systems”, explains Todd Murphy, Vice President at Universal Information Services.
“Interestingly, there’s been a great resurgence in dusting off both the historical documents and legacy skills needed to work with those documents”, according to Murphy.
Murphy’s company, Universal Information Services, formed a team of professionals that first demonstrated their skills 40 or 50 years ago. Drawing on a workforce of retirees, organizations in the business of Digital Preservation are attracting these legacy skillsets in order to breathe new life into historical documents. Taking what is languishing in obscurity and making it relevant and valuable again.
Arlo Grafton, a broadcast journalist from Omaha, Nebraska honed his production skills by developing, viewing, splicing, and quickly generating film news clips for local broadcasts before there was video tape or digital production. Today, Grafton has brought those skills into the modern world to help recover valuable assets and convert them into digital formats that let organizations share these documents with the public, or monetize the past in new marketing platforms.
Similarly, Don Chapman, one who built a large national name by creating elaborate film and video productions for corporations and events, has contributed his 50 years of experience into helping recover old audio and video content. What Don and Arlo possess are experiences and an understanding of technology that is quickly being lost.
Whether historical documents, or skills from a prior era, both of these elements are highly valuable again as institutions look to resurrect and save their legacies. Finding your institutional history in photographs, films, written documents, audio recordings, or on old videos requires special people. Especially if corporations, museums, and historical societies want to accurately carry past value into the future. Recognizing the value of human capital is where it all seems to start. Knowing that the past has value in the future seems to benefit all, institutions and the work force.