UTSA Libraries launches Know Your Media: a guide to the most common types of digital storage found in archives

UTSA Libraries launches Know Your Media: a guide to the most common types of digital storage found in archives

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(Jan. 6, 2016) -- “What is this?”

It’s a question Amy Rushing, UTSA Head of Special Collections, often hears from student workers when they encounter a floppy disk or other outdated media storage item.

In response, UTSA Libraries recently launched Know Your Media, a project to help non-digital archivists, archives staff and student workers identify obsolete types of media storage still prevalent in repositories today.

Know Your Media was inspired by the Society of American Archivists’ Jump In initiative. Special Collections staff compiled a list of the most common types of digital storage from Jump In’s 2013 and 2014 reports and created a large-format poster and companion website. A PDF of the 24” x 36” poster is downloadable from the website and can be displayed in materials processing areas.

Know Your Media’s retro pastel color palette and short info-bites were designed with younger generations in mind—people who have never come across a magnetic data tape before.

“Know Your Media was not intended to be an exhaustive guide, but to instead focus on the most common types of removable media found in repositories,” said Rushing.

These removable media types include an 8” floppy disk, 5.25” floppy disk, 3.5” floppy disk, CD, DVD, hard drives, magnetic data storage and USB flash drives. Information on the container, formats, variations, capacities, common brands and other details are provided for each media type.

Rushing hopes that her fellow archivists will find the poster to be both helpful and attractive.

“We are hoping that this resource will not only be useful to the next generation of archives staff, but will also serve as a nostalgic and beautifully designed piece to hang in the office for those of us who remember many of these long forgotten technologies.”


Learn more about the Know Your Media project

Download a PDF of the Know Your Media poster.

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