Legislative Audio Tapes
Most records housed in the lower vault are audio tapes created by the Oregon Legislative Assembly. The tapes provide a verbatim record of discussions held in committees and on the floor of the House and Senate. They provide a more complete record than minutes, which only summarize the proceedings. This information can help determine the "legislative intent" often considered in court cases. The tapes begin in 1957.
Most recordings from the mid 1980's to 2008 are on cassette tapes. Use and preservation of cassette tapes is challenging. The quality of the original recording setup and tape makes some discussions difficult or impossible to understand. Cassette tape is not archival quality and typically degrades quickly. However, like other archival repositories, we don't have an easy solution to the problem of long-term preservation of these tapes.
Since 2009 all of the Legislative recordings are digital.