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Legislative audio tape comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Currently, the Archives lacks a machine to play the ROLS dictation tape from the late 1960s (shown in the upper right corner).

Legislative audio tape comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Currently, the Archives lacks a machine to play the ROLS dictation tape from the late 1960s (shown in the upper right corner).

The Vaults

Legislative audio tape

Most of the records currently housed in the lower vault are audio tapes created by the Oregon Legislative Assembly. These tapes provide a verbatim record of the discussions held in committees and on the floor of the House and Senate. The tapes provide a more complete record than minutes, which only summarize the proceedings. This information can be valuable in determining "legislative intent" often considered in court cases. The tapes begin in 1957 and continue to the most recent legislative session. For a complete listing of these recordings, consult the Guide to Legislative Records. Consult the Legislative Assembly Web site to hear audio of recent sessions.

Early recordings are on reel-to-reel tapes recorded at various speeds. Some recordings from the 1967 and 1969 sessions are on ROLS dictation tapes, an obscure, proprietary system. The Archives currently lacks a machine to play these recordings. Most of the newer recordings transferred from the Legislative Assembly are on cassette tapes.

Use and preservation of all of these tapes continues to challenge the Archives. The quality of the original recording setup and tape makes the discussions on some tapes difficult or impossible to understand. Cassette tape is clearly not archival quality and typically degrades quickly. However, like other archival repositories, the Archives has no easy solution to the problem of long-term preservation of these tapes. The alternatives continue to be expensive and problematic.

Delta On to examples of other records

Oregon Secretary of State • 136 State Capitol • Salem, OR 97310-0722

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