2004 Senate Legislative Tape Conversion Project
(b) Statewide Historic and Cultural Grants. (i) $2,250,000 in 2010 and $4,500,000 in 2011 are appropriated for history programs and projects operated or conducted by or through local, county, regional or other historical or cultural organizations; or for activities to preserve significant historic and cultural resources. Funds are to be distributed through a competitive grants process. The Minnesota Historical Society shall administer these funds using established grants mechanisms, and with assistance from the advisory committee created herein.
779 audiotapes of Senate committee hearings were converted digital format, and a web page was created to access the online versions via the Legislative Web Site. As a result, complete digital access of committee hearings and floor debates are available for both bodies back to 2004. Important legislative debate is available to Internet users, regardless of the time of day or their locations.
Completion of the project and adding the digital files is first and foremost, a preservation success. The alternative is that they would be eventually destroyed, or if not destroyed, slowly degraded in their audiocassette format.
Converting these audiocassettes ensures enduring access to primary legislative documents by anyone, anywhere. In particular, completing this year of hearings for the Senate will improve access to full digital records for 2004.
The Legislative Reference Library has a continuing commitment to storing the files and providing access through the Legislative Web Site.