Submitter: I work in an academic library in a developing country. In the days before the Internet, we had a lot of distance learning programs that used audiotapes and videotapes to supplement what people used to call “correspondence courses.” A bunch of this stuff is still on an a/v cataloguing backlog shelf because even if it’s not being used anymore, there’s the feeling that it’s part of the university’s history and ought to be kept. No one is in any hurry to catalog this stuff, but there’s a fair amount of it. I was looking through a shelf of these videotapes and found this.
This is some old video format that would have only been used by tv stations, video production studios or university media centers (a VHS tape that a normal consumer machine could play is next to it for size comparison) back in the day. It is possible that at some point, the university had a machine to play this, but the library sure doesn’t have one now. Even if the topic of the videotape was still relevant to our collection, the format isn’t and this should be weeded. But let’s note the topic: a 1978 ALA lecture on (American) copyright law. Obsolete in 2014 even if we were in the US, which we aren’t.
The best thing about this weed? There were TWO copies of this beast, both in plastic cases. I just cleared 3 inches of space off my cataloguing backlog shelf without actually having to make anyone catalog anything. I highly recommend “pre-weeding” stuff like this from your cataloging backlog/”problem items” area (most academic libraries seem to have one) every few years- you’ll be surprised what’s in there that can go if you’ve waited this long to deal with it.
Holly: In honor of the ALA Annual Conference (#alaac14) we have an ALA special. I’ve never seen a tape like this. I agree – if it’s been waiting for cataloging for 35 years, you can probably dump it. It’s clearly not part of your university’s history. Unless one of your library’s goals is to collect “stuff,” this is just an unusable artifact that doesn’t meet your library’s mission.