AFU holdings include about 4.000 audio cassettes (C60, C90, C120), some 2.000 VHS audio-visual cassettes and some 500 reel-to-reel audio tapes. Plus a number of other types of recordings, from small dictation machine cassettes to cassettes/films from professional systems of different ages.
Recordings include a mixture of witness interviews, private discussions, recordings of public meetings and conferences and, of course, of programs broadcast on radio or on TV.
Popular sources have been the Discovery and History channels. For decades many people took it as a rule to record on home-type VHS tapes any “phenomena” documentary broadcast to their homes. Some collectors in the U.S. even made sale & distribution of second & third generation recordings a semi-business.
This is a very difficult material to process if we are to find the best recordings with relevance, for instance, to quality and completeness. Often several programs were recorded on the same tape. Getting complete control of all this would require many, many thousands of work hours, comparing recordings on different tapes.
Since 2009 we have had a digitising project – we have (so far) digitised most of our 4.000 audio cassettes and most of the reel-to-reel autio tapes (the majority of which have come from the British BUFORA). Digitising of non-commercial VHS tapes has started in 2013. All-in-all the digitised data represent many many Terrabytes on our hard discs. Without complete control we definitely know that many recordings have been digitised several times.
Databases of most recordings in our possession (also CD and DVD discs) have been created to help us find relevant materials for researchers. Since much of the recorded material concern witness interviews we cannot – for reasons of integrity – distribute the complete database freely at this point in time. But you are always welcome to make enquiries!
AFU owe gratitude to the many dozens of contributors to our audiovisual tapes & discs library. Some of you are credited on our Donors page but the provinence of many recordings have been lost when we no longer recognize your writing on the tape labels!