RTÉ preserve 9,000 hours of news content in digital archives collection

The RTÉ Archives News Collection was launched in National Library of Ireland in Dublin today at 11.00am.

These 9,000 hours of news content from 13,332 tapes were captured between 1985 and 1999.

The first batch of digitized reels were released today (Friday 27th October) to coincide with the UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage. Spanning the period, 7th March to 31st December 1985, in total 1,500 hours of RTÉ News reports are now available on the site, with further material being added to the collection daily.

Included among the digitized archives are reports on the Kerry Babies Tribunal, U2 at Madison Square Garden, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the Omagh bombing, Ireland winning the Triple Crown in Dublin, Ireland’s Divorce Referendum, and the Spring Show on a Sunday, all of which has been with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

Commenting on the news, Head of RTÉ Archives, Brid Dooley said, “The broadcast recordings and materials managed and preserved by RTÉ Archives are a distinct part of our collective cultural memory, offering unique insights into the unfolding Irish State from 1926, when Radio Éireann was founded, right up to the present day. However, over a quarter of a century after its introduction, the video tape format, which replaced film, is now in peril and must be reformatted to be preserved. Without this intervention valuable content is at risk of being lost to future generations.

Continuing, Dooley added,

“Thankfully, the importance of video recordings of news created by RTÉ between 1985 and 1999 was recognised by the BAI, through its Archiving Scheme, as a unique primary source of history and our shared experience as a nation. I am proud to say that through the RTÉ Archives News Collection we can now view, interrogate and celebrate our past through the lens of the news camera over the decades. We hope people will enjoy this journey of discovery as the online collection grows over the coming months and years. “

The 13,332 tapes were brought from Dublin to Amsterdam where they were baked in specially designed ovens to recover picture and sound quality before being subsequently digitized.

View the digital archive here.


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