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Guide to the West on Videotape, 1974-1978
Motion Picture 350 D  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: The West on videotape,
    Date (inclusive): 1974-1978
    Collection Number: Motion Picture 350 D
    Extent: Originals: 17 interviews on 35 videocassettes (1/2 and 3/4") Copy 2: 21 videocassettes, 3/4" Copy 3: 21 videocassettes, 1/2" (VHS) Dubbed from copy 2 in 2001.
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Originals not available for use. Use copies available.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to broadcast or make other use of this material must be submitted in writing to the Regional Oral History Office of The Bancroft Library. Permission for use is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], The West on videotape, Motion Picture 350 D, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The West on Videotape collection was a gift of Steve Fisher in March 1979.

    Scope and Content

    "The West on Videotape" documents 40 interviewees who have been significantly involved in the history and folk culture of the Western United States. The intention of this collection is to demonstrate the value of videotape in preserving local history. The recent advent of high quality, portable video equipment makes it possible to record historical information in the most remote and rugged areas of the West.
    The collection consists of unedited, original master videotapes, most of which are in color. Thirty-five tapes are included, with a total playing time of seventeen hours. These videotapes were originally shot as interview and visual material for historical and social documentary television programs.
    A broad range of topics is covered, including water politics, cowboys, winemaking, and electric trains. The collection reflects the innovative technological themes so characteristic of the West. Alden Oliver explains an Archimedian screw pump windmill used in salt production; Bud Garin talks about his father's old patented tomato planting machine; master nurseryman Toichi Domoto shows a new trailing azalea he is developing.
    Many of the interviewees speak of disappearing life styles and folk cultures of the West. Five of the speakers were born in the late 1800s; the oldest is Emma Garrod, born in 1882. Most of the other interviewees can recall the early years of this century. Their stories tell of a rural West undergoing rapid technological change.
    A number of the videotapes make full use of the visual potential of oral history television. Whenever possible, historic locales, machines, and processes are documented. Old cowhand Frank Castro is seen participating in a Livermore Valley round-up; the disappearing ghost town of Drawbridge is seen from various visual perspectives. The intention is to convey a sense of place, a feeling for the geographical and technological factors which help determine historic changes.
    The collection is designed for archival use, and a primary concern is providing the researcher with both supplementary written documentation and rapid retrieval techniques. Videocassettes are easy to handle and store (the entire collection could be carried in an orange crate), making them ideal for archival use. Quick retrieval of an indexed portion of a videotape may be accomplished using a variety of techniques, several of which are demonstrated in the collection. These techniques can utilize videotape recorder tape counters, elapsed time visually superimposed over the picture, or digital computer codes.
    [Reproduced from Steve Fisher's notes, March 1979. Notes and index forms shelved as Motion Picture 350 D Notes.]