Texas State Archives to Provide Online Access to Texas Senate Recordings
Monday, January 12, 2015 • AUSTIN, TX • News Release
The Texas State Library and Archives announces the culmination of a digitization project that expands access to the Texas Senate audio recordings dating from 1972 to 2006. The project was made possible in part by funds awarded to TSLAC through the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in February of 2013. Under guidelines set by IMLS, financial resources were applied to expand services for learning and public access to information and educational resources.
The Texas Senate Recordings includes digitized audio files that represent approximately 25,000 cassette tapes. The original tapes were created by and received from Senate Staff Services. The collection includes public committee hearings, floor debates, press conferences, impeachment hearings, and joint meetings with House committees. Prior to digitization, interested parties were required to physically visit TLSAC in order to play the aging cassette tapes. In the interest of preservation, the original cassettes are no longer available to the public, but can now be accessed 24-hours a day through an online searchable database. The Texas Senate Recordings can be searched by legislative session, keyword, or browsed in their entirety.
“The Texas Senate Recordings are among the most heavily used records in our collection,” remarked Jelain Chubb, State Archivist, ”and are essential resources for legislators, staff and citizens who want to research the intent behind bills and other legislative actions.”
The Texas Senate began to systematically record committee hearings and floor debates during the 4th Called Session (C.S.) of the 62nd Legislature (1972) and continues to the present day. Recordings from the 62nd 4th C.S. (1972) to the 79th (2006) are available through the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Selected recordings from the 76th Legislature (1999) to present are available through Senate Staff Services.