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Digital Memory Lab

Memory Lab at the Central Library

The Digital Memory Lab is an innovative do-it-yourself space for digitizing various audio/visual media formats, as well as scanning documents, slides, and negatives. Patrons will have access to knowledgeable library staff and volunteers, as well as instructions and orientations that explain how to digitize materials. Our mission is to provide users with the tools needed for the conversion and analysis of their digital projects so that they can ultimately proceed independently.

Lab Policy

  • Age Policy - The Digital Memory Lab is designated for use by people ages 13 and older. Chidren ages 12 and under must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian at all times. Parental consent is required for ages 17 and younger.
  • Release Form - A release form is required to use the Digital Memory Lab. Download and sign your PDF icon Release Form before coming to your session or fill one out at the lab.
  • Food and Beverages - Food and drink are not allowed in the Lab. Food and drink can damage our media equipment as well as attract pests that can damage materials.
  • Saving Your Files - Please save your project files on your own external drive or cloud storage accounts. All Digital Memory Lab computers are reset nightly so files cannot be stored on the lab machines without risk of losing data.
  • Storage of Personal Items - Hard drives or other personal items needed for saving or transferring files cannot be stored at the Digital Memory Lab. Materials brought to the lab for scanning or analysis must remain with you at all times.
  • Reserving the Lab - The Digital Memory Lab is open for appointments. Check reservation section below for more details. Only one session per user per day.

Book a Reservation

The San Diego Public Library offers the Digital Memory Lab at two locations: Central Library and La Jolla/Riford Library. The two labs have different hours and accept different formats for transfer. Select the appropriate location tab below to review formats accepted for transfer and to book a reservation.

 

Central Library Digital Memory Lab - 8th Floor, Room 835

For December the Digital Memory Lab at the Central Library will have open house Monday - Saturday from 2-4 p.m. where you can bring in your treasured memories in analog formats and get recommendations on how to digitize and care for your materials. Then book a reservation to digitize your materials.

 
The Digital Memory Lab at the Central Library offers four separate transfer stations, with each station offering different transfer formats. You will have two hours to work on your transfer project independently with instructions. Please note that most transfers will happen in real time.
 

Book a Reservation at Central Library

Accepted Formats:

VHS & VHS-C
DV & miniDV
Betamax
Video8, Hi8 & Digital8
Audio Cassette
Photos
Slides
Negatives
Vinyl Record
3.5" Floppy

Regular Hours

Monday 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Tuesday 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Wednesday 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Thursday 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Friday 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Sunday Closed

Station 1: Video Transfer (DV & Betamax)

Media transferred at this station:

miniDV & DVCAM | PDF icon Transfer Guide
Betamax Tape | PDF icon Transfer Guide

Station 2: Video Transfer (VHS & 8mm)

Media transferred at this station:

VHS Tape | PDF icon Transfer Guide
VHS-C Tape | PDF icon Transfer Guide
8mm Tape | PDF icon Transfer Guide
(Video8, Hi8 & Digital8)

Station 3: Scanning

Media transferred at this station:

Photographs | PDF icon Scan Guide
Photo negatives/slides | PDF icon Scan Guide
Papers | PDF icon Scan Guide

Station 4: Audio Transfer

Media transferred at this station:

Audio Cassette | PDF icon Transfer Guide
Vinyl Records | PDF icon Transfer Guide 

La Jolla/Riford Library Digital Memory Lab

 
The Digital Memory Lab at the La Jolla Library offers two separate transfer stations, with each station offering different transfer formats. You can book a session by transfer format and select the appropriate time you need for the transfer. Please note that most transfers will happen in real time. Genealogy support through Ancestry.com is also available.
 

Book a Reservation at La Jolla Library

Accepted Formats:

VHS & VHS-C
DV & miniDV
Betamax
Video8, Hi8 & Digital8
Audio Cassette
Reel to Reel
Photos
Slides
Negatives
Vinyl Record
3.5" Floppy

Regular Hours

Monday 2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday 11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday 12:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Thursday 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Friday Closed
Saturday 12:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Sunday 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Digital Memory Lab?

The Digital Memory Lab is an innovative space to access, digitize, and share videos, audio recordings, photographs, and slides.

Do I need a library card to access the resources in the Digital Memory Lab?

No, you do not need a library card to use the Digital Memory Lab; however, you will check-in with a staff member, review policy and sign a release form.  If you are under 17, parental consent is required.

When is the Digital Memory Lab open?

See "Book a Reservation" section above for the location of your choice. Please note that the use of the Digital Memory Lab is by reservation.

Do I need a reservation to use the Digital Memory Lab?

Yes, reservations are required.

To book a reservation at Central visit our reservation page here

To book a reservation at La Jolla visit our reservation page here.

I want to digitize, but I am unfamiliar with the process.  How can I learn?

All stations will have easy to follow step-by-step instructional guides. Knowledgeable library staff and volunteers will also be available for additional assistance. Attending a Digital Memory Lab Drop-in session is strongly encouraged for first-time visitors. Information on upcoming drop-ins can be found in the Library's online calendar.

How do I save my digitized content?

Bring a USB or external hard drive to save your content, or save it on cloud storage.

For transferring video formats, at least 4GB for every 1 hour of video is recommended.

Do you have other programs/classes about digitization?

Classes will be posted on the Library’s calendar of events.


Contact Us

For other questions or comments email us at [email protected].
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