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Smithsonian Videohistory Collection

Duplication Information

Tapes and transcripts from the Smithsonian Videohistory Collection may only be duplicated with the permission of Smithsonian Institution Archives. Tapes may be duplicated in a variety of formats, depending on the intended use. The Smithsonian Institution holds copyright unless otherwise stated. In some cases portions of material were restricted at the request of the participant; those segments are noted in the catalog. Written permission from the SIA is needed to duplicate or broadcast videohistory tapes or transcripts.


VHS copies are provided for reference; these copies have a visible time-code window, which is cross-referenced on transcripts. Master tapes are not available for use at the Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA) unless specifically requested for high-end production purposes. Most master tapes were shot in the Betacam format, although some were taped in 1" open reel or on ¾" U-Matic. Dubbing masters, which are always on ¾" U-Matic, are used for duplication, but not for general viewing. All copies will be dubbed with the time-code window unless otherwise requested.


All videotapes were transcribed and lightly edited to improve readability. Additional notations on the transcripts link visual information and electronic time-code with written text. This data is important for researchers since it incorporates non-audio (i.e., visual) information, provides data regarding artifacts and other non-explicit subject content, and allows quicker access to the videotape by indicating lapsed time in frequent intervals.

To view the projects within the collection, call or write the Smithsonian Institution Archives, Capital Gallery Suite 3000, MRC 507, P.O. Box 7012, Washington, D.C., 20013-7012, 202-633-5910. To send by FEDEX or other delivery service, address to Smithsonian Institution Archives, Capital Gallery Suite 3000, 600 Maryland, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520. To request copies of the tapes and/or transcripts, please submit a written request to Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, (attn: Videohistory), at the above address. Specify the purpose for which you need the tape (education, research, exhibit, documentary production) and list the name of the project and record unit (RU) number. Fees will be charged for copies of both tapes and transcripts, and payment in advance is required. Total cost of duplication will be calculated before dubbing takes place. The SIA will duplicate and ship the tapes by regular mail. Recipients will pay for special shipping services.

Duplication of Videohistory Interviews

1) Permission

To obtain permission for duplication, the application must be completed and submitted to:

Institutional History Division
Smithsonian Institution Archives
Capital Gallery Building Suite 3000, MRC 507
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
fax: 202-633-5928

In your request, please state how the Videohistory materials will be used, i.e., whether it is for research, education, exhibit, commercial use, or other. Please describe the final product in which the Videohistory materials will be used. Please indicate if the product will be used for non-profit or commercial purposes. List the name of the project and Record Unit (RU) number. State that you will credit copyright to the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian may reserve the right to review and approve usage prior to publication and/or broadcast. Please indicate what format you would like the copy tape in: VHS, 1", Betacam, ¾" U-Matic, PAL, etc.

Permission will be granted only for the uses described in the request. Permission must be requested again for any additional uses.

2) Costs:

The cost for transcripts is $0.20 per page copied.

The cost of duplication varies, depending on the number of dubbing masers used in copying. Final price will be calculated on a rate of $50 per dubbing master, NTSC standard. PAL conversions will be higher. Total cost of duplication will be calculated before dubbing takes place.

Tapes will be dubbed from ¾" to ¾", ¾" to VHS, or VHS to VHS. Only full tapes will be copied; selective editing costs are prohibitive. If you need another format or a tape without time code, contact us for a cost estimate.

Usage fees are charged for publication or broadcast. Contact the Institutional History Division for details.

3) Payment:

Payment in advance is required. Checks should be made payable to the Smithsonian Institution. Please write the Videohistory Collection number on your check as well.

4) Time-code:

All dubbing masters have electronically-recorded time code which is visible on the tape; this code corresponds to the "window" visible on VHS tapes. Copies will automatically be dubbed with the time-code window unless otherwise requested for specified broadcast purposes.

5) Logistics:

The Smithsonian Institution Archives will duplicate the tapes and transcripts and ship them by regular mail. You will pay for expedited mailing services such as overnight or courier delivery.


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