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POV: We Are All AV Historians

During InfoComm 07, I had the pleasure of interviewing several members about the AV industry as part of InfoComm's AV Historians

POV: We Are All AV Historians

Aug 1, 2007 12:00 PM,
By Duffy Wilbert, CTS

During InfoComm 07, I had the pleasure of interviewing several members about the AV industry as part of InfoComm’s AV Historians project. One person I spoke to commented that he did not realize he was old enough to be a historian. But the definition of historian is “one who writes or compiles a chronological record of events” — age has nothing to do with it.

During my years in the industry, whenever there are two or more AV folks networking, invariably there are stories, events, challenges, and solutions shared about how it was, how it was solved, or how it will be done. From my experience and involvement in many of these conversations, I know those of us working in the AV industry hold the collective memory of our industry. And that is what the AV Historians project wants to capture and preserve.

Still not sure you are a historian? Ever use, sell, install, or rent a filmstrip projector, 16mm projector, LCD panel, GE light valve, or Aquastar? Ever program a multi-image show? Know what a ShowPro or Coyote is? Ever design a facility that used U-Matic for content playback, needed audio delay before delays existed, or used Compression Labs or PictureTel for conferencing? If the answer is yes, then you are an AV historian, and we want to hear your stories.

The AV Historians project is designed to encourage, support, and facilitate the audio recording of our AV heritage — sound portraits of the history of AV and its impact. We believe this living history knowledge base will provide a window on AV industry culture that can be used in everything from leadership transition and development to employee training, public relations, exhibits, and advertising.

The AV Historians booth, sponsored by Audio-Technica, Buford T. Hedgehog Productions, Harman Pro’s Lexicon, and Yamaha, will be traveling throughout 2007. At press time, it was slated to travel to regional meetings in San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. It will also be at the InfoComm Fall Leadership conference and other InfoComm activities throughout 2007, as well as ISE 2008 in Amsterdam. However, if we are not coming to a place near you, give us a call, and we’ll tell you how you can participate by providing your own recording.

The booth will also play a prominent role as part of this year’s celebration of AV Week, Oct. 21-27. A toolkit detailing how you or your organization can be involved in this industry awareness week is available at In addition, InfoComm will be hosting a free webinar on Sept. 5 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. EST to explain how to organize AV Week events. AV Week is one more way we can display pride in our AV heritage, attract new people into the industry, convince the public of the value of AV, and so much more.

We all have stories to tell, and therefore we are all AV historians. Let’s preserve what we know before our collective memory slips away.

Duffy Wilbert, CTS, is InfoComm International’s vice president of membership. He oversees InfoComm’s membership, outreach, market research, and council and committee efforts.

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