Techniques of visual knowledge construction in the Practices of Analog Videotape Digitization

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1 Scopus citations


This presentation describes findings from qualitative-interpretive research conducted on media preservationists carrying out small-scale digitization projects involving the digital reformatting of analog videotape. Eight preservationists working in media preservation labs were interviewed and observed carrying out digitization projects in their work sites. Adopting a social constructionist perspective and employing concepts from Reiner Keller's sociology of knowledge approach to discourse (SKAD), the research data were analyzed to gain insight into processes of knowledge construction. The object of knowledge found to be central to participants' practices of knowledge construction was the invisible video signal, a continuously varying electrical signal that necessitates techniques and technologies of visualization and observation. This research identified six epistemic techniques, arrays of sensory-cognitive micropractices that participants enact in order to construct knowledge about, act upon the video signal and produce legitimate digital copies of analog originals: applying calibrated vision; patterned looking; matching and comparing visual representations of signals; historicizing the tape; investigating the nature of errors; and constructing copies. This research offers new understanding of visual knowledge construction in workplace contexts and emphasizes the importance of studying the interpretive aspects of digitization practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)744-746
Number of pages3
JournalProceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • digitization
  • knowledge construction
  • moving image archives
  • video preservation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Library and Information Sciences


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