Colorado State Archives
Access to Early Legislative Recordings (1973 – 2001)
August 14, 2012
The slow deterioration and growing risk of
loss concerning the early audio recordings of the Legislature has
been documents and discussed for many years. The lack of
funding for preservation of tapes or repair of the machines has
resulted in an increased risk of destruction of the machines (which
cannot be replaced) and the tapes themselves, which are the only
record of these legislative hearings.
With the partial loss of functionality of two
machines over the past 12 months and with the momentary complete
lost of the earlier machines, it has become necessary to extend the
limitation on tape access to all the magnetic tape-based legislative
hearings. This includes three years of the Lanier recordings
(1998-2001), all the years of the Magnasync recordings (1982-1998),
as well as the entire span of Dictaphone tapes (1973-1981).
Access to tapes recorded January 1973 -
December 2001 will now be handled in the manner similar to that
which is employed for the duplication of photographs and other
fragile archival items. Individuals and agencies wishing to
hear these legislative sessions may request duplicated copies of
individual bills, professionally transferred by trained archival
staff to compact dist at a cost of $75 for the first hour of
material, $65 for each additional hour. Certifications are $25
(regardless of length). Duplicates of these recordings will then be
archived, preserving those recordings for future access. If
the Bill in question has already been transferred to compact disk,
then appointments may be made in the same manner as for later
legislative session recordings.
As these Legislative tapes are unique and
increasingly fragile, acces to them must be monitored and handled
only by personnel specifically trained in audio recovery and the
handling of antiquated audio equipment. With proper care,
these recordings could be duplicated as needed for preservation with
the cost passed on to the customer. T his would minimize wear on the
machines and tapes to preserve those bills that are transferred and
reduce the risk of damage by the general pubic or untrained
machines and tapes have now deteriorated to the point that any but
trained personnel cannot safely operate them without risking
permanent loss of material on the tapes or the machines themselves.
In much the same way that trained individuals must handle
fragile documents, the machines and tapes have become fragile enough
that they customers can no longer be allowed to be accessed them
This is a matter of preservation, as these recordings
represent the only surviving record of these legislative hearings,
recorded to tape as required by provisions of the Open Records Act.
Access to Later Legislative Recordings (2002 – 2011)
recordings on the Dictaphone Freedom System (2002 – 2011) can
either be transferred as listed above, or can be heard in person by
coming in to the State Archives.
Customers can call 303-866-2358 to make an appointment to
hear these recordings.
The cost to hear these recordings is $20 for setup, $10 per
hour spent listening.
Customers are allowed to bring in recording equipment to
listen to these hearings.
after 2011 are available online through the Colorado General
Assembly’s webpage at: http://www.leg.state.co.us.
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