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Audio and Video Recordings

Video tapes and audio tapes do not last forever and the equipment required to play them is becoming increasingly scarce. Tapes in poor condition or obsolete formats should be digitally reformatted by experts equipped to copy them.


  • Handle only the cassettes, never the tape surfaces.
  • Avoid playing valuable tapes on unfamiliar or suspect equipment.


  • Keep tapes away from sources of magnetic fields – electrical wiring, fluorescent lights, electric motors, and magnets.
  • Store reels and cassettes on end, like books, in labeled, hard-plastic containers. Keep them in cool, dry areas, away from dust and direct sunlight.


  • Use a reputable vendor to digitize your audio and video recordings to ensure long-term access.
  • Keep your original tapes and recordings as well as your digital copies.
  • In addition to having your vendor create a CD or DVD that you can play on a standard CD or DVD player, also request that the digital files be placed on a portable hard drive In the future, it will be easier to transfer files stored on disk drives onto new hardware and software.
  • See Digital Media for information about caring for your digital copies.
  • If you have audio or video recordings of musical performances or other artistic activities, please contact the State Archives for additional advice.