State archivists working to preserve, digitize Don Ho collection

State archivists working to preserve, digitize Don Ho collection
Published: Jan. 8, 2016 at 9:28 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 8, 2016 at 10:21 PM HST
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. - Don Ho doesn't need an introduction.

His career -- as a singer, musician and actor -- spanned five decades. He put Waikiki on the map.

Now, archivists are ensuring his legacy isn't lost.

"He represents a time and a place that will never be seen again," said Heather Giugni, producer and cultural collections specialist for Ulu Ulu, the University of Hawaii-West Oahu's "Moving Image Archive."

"He was Hawaii," she said. "An icon."

Ulu ulu recently acquired the complete collection of Ho's films, videos and personal memorabilia from the Donald Tai Loy Ho Trust. They're working not just to preserve the collection, which is rapidly deteriorating, but to digitize it so it's available to people around the world.

"Our main mission is not just to store videotapes in a vault, where nobody can touch it and nobody can watch it," said Janel Quirante, head archivist at Ulu Ulu. "Our mission is to digitize it for preservation as well as for access."

Scores of old video and audio tapes are now being processed into digital format.

Preserving Ho's iconic "Tiny Bubbles" has proven to be a big challenge.

"Mold, dirt, dust.  We encounter all of that when we first find collection materials that come to our archive," Quirante said.

Giugni said while processing the collection is a bit tedious, it's also a labor of love.

"I mean it's just a gift," she said. "It's a gift every day."

Click here to see a 1968 featuring Ho that's already been digitized.
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