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Wednesday April 16, 2014
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Digitizing Memories



Hoffman dove into the project as soon as he finished his SI degree, and continued on and off for "six or seven months," working out of his home. "I started the company as I was doing it," he says. Newman had "photos, slides, movies--basically the whole gamut. I learned as I went along."

While he was archiving Newman's collection, Hoffman says, he realized "this could be a service a lot of people would love to have." He also realized that "I can't do it alone. Since the job market is pretty bad for librarians and archivists, he had no problem finding two unemployed SI grads and turning them into partners--Stelman and Hansen, a generation younger than Hoffman, work from their homes, too (Stelman in Ann Arbor, Hansen in Grand Rapids).

The charges are pretty much a la carte--a little like a car wash, in that the basic slide scan, for example, is 75c per slide, for a little more attention and cleanup it's $1.05, and for the spit-shine clean, the premier package, it's $1.95. Scrapbooks are about a dollar a page to scan, and VHS-to-DVD is $35 for the first two hours and $15 per hour after that. Hoffman watches each tape as it runs, to make sure there isn't an episode of Taxi or an old scratchy Jane Fonda workout in the middle--if there is, they can cut it out, for an additional fee.

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