Sinclair Library Video Reformatting Project Now Available Online

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    Since March 2009, UH Manoa Sinclair Library has been digitizing many of its older videos, focusing on those in the Hawaiian and Pacific collections. Digitized videos are now available online via links in the UH Voyager catalog at: – A UH username and password are necessary for accessing the videos.


    Video formats have gone through many changes over the past few decades, and they’re changing even more quickly now. Over time the library has acquired filmstrips, U-Matic tapes, Beta tapes, laserdiscs, VHS tapes, and now DVDs.

    Many of the tapes are deteriorating and the older formats are becoming obsolete. As the playback equipment ages, it breaks more frequently, and it’s not always possible to repair or replace it. This is a big problem for the Library and the scholars who depend on the library’s collections, because the video material held here is extremely valuable, especially to researchers interested in the Hawai’i and the Pacific region.

    Under U.S. Copyright Section 108, Sinclair Library is reformatting as many of these older videos as possible. They use a Canopus analog connected to a digital converter to digitize VHS, Beta, and U-Matic formats of videos. These digital versions are saved as archival digital copies, and from them, we create smaller versions of videos that can be viewed over the Internet.

    The Library uses QuickTime to create compressed versions of the archival digital copies. Once a streaming version is available, a link is added in the Voyager catalog so that members of the UH community can watch it online. To watch a video, you must enter your UH username and password, and QuickTime must be installed on your computer (free download at

    In the past the Library used VHS tapes to record local TV shows off-air, and have built up a significant collection of unique material this way. The Library is now working to digitize these VHS tapes for online viewing as well. Beginning in October 2009, the off-air recording program switched from VHS to digital recordings via a SnapStream server, streamlining the process of reviewing these shows and adding them to our collection.

    Some of the highlights of the reformatting project that are now viewable are:

    *Keiki Hula: The library’s videos of the 1984-1999 Queen Lili’uokalani Keiki Hula Competition are available online.

    *Many of Hugh Gibb’s films about the Philippines, including The Maranao, The Years of Change, Fiestas of the Philippines, The Negritos, The Chinese Connection, The Ifugao, The Spanish Domain, and The Tabon Caves, are available online.

    ‘Please contact Emily Albarillo, Digital Media Specialist, at if you have further questions or would like to learn more about the video reformatting project.’