Friday, July 6, 2007

Audio Preservation and Digitization

Audio Digitization Standards: Digital and Multimedia Center, MSU Libraries - Audio Digitization Standards from Michigan State University's Vincent Voice Library. Brief summaries of their policies for preservation, capture, use copies, metadate, access, storage and copyright.

Audiovisual Archiving: Philosophy and Principles - A revision of the Philosophy of Audiovisual Archiving published by UNESCO in 1998. This revised and renamed document reflects the changes that have occurred in the audiovisual archiving field, in the intervening period, ranging from the challenges of digitization and technological changes.

Capturing Analog Sound for Digital Preservation: Report of a Roundtable Discussion of Best Practices for Transferring Analog Discs and Tapes - This report investigates procedures to reformat sound on analog carriers to digital media or files. It summarizes discussions and recommendations emerging from a meeting of leading audio preservation engineers held January 29–30, 2004, to assess the present state of standards and best practices for capturing sound from analog discs and tapes.

Care and Handling of CDs and DVDs - This document, published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) outlines the proper care and handling of optical media such as CDs and DVDs. It describes in nontechnical language the various types of CDs and DVDs now in use, how they are made, and how they work. It then distills current industry knowledge about disc longevity, conditions that affect life expectancy, and how to care for optical media. The guide is amply illustrated and includes a glossary and bibliography. The guide was written for use by librarians and archivists; however, it will be equally useful to any business or individual wishing to safeguard CD or DVD collections. (This report is archived at:, where there are also links to a one-page reference guide and the CLIR's web-based version of the report.)

The Care and Handling of Recorded Sound Materials - This paper By Gilles St-Laurent of the National Library of Canada discusses not only the care and handling of various types of audio media, but also the nature of sound in general, as well as its recording and playback. It is very specific about the makeup and degradation patterns of various recording media, but since it was published in 1996, current issues and media are not discussed.

Care of Sound Recordings: National Library of New Zealand - This site recommends how best to take care of sound recordings, including proper environment and handling, mainly of magnetic media and cylinder recordings.

Conservation OnLine (COOL): Preservation of Audio Materials - Resources for Conservation Professionals. This page contains a great list of resources on the topic, grouped by the following sub-topics: Format and Sound Recording History, Standards, Guidelines, and Best Practices, Bibliographic Resources, Digital Audio: Guides, Formats, Books & Articles, Projects, Standards, Organizations Concerned With Audio, Preservation, Mailing Lists, Audio Preservation Resources at Other Sites. Great place to begin researching the topic.

Digital Audio at the National Library of Canada - This site contains guidelines/best practices for the digitization of audio, used by the National Library of Canada.

CDP Digital Audio Working Group - This site contains information about the Collaborative Digitization Program's Digital Audio Working Group, including their Digital Audio Best Practices document (in PDF format).

E-MELD School of Best Practice: Digitization of Audio Files - This site promotes best practices in digitizing language data, and contains a very useful glossary of terms related to digitization, linked from within each document. This particular page discusses best practices in the Digitization of Audio Files.

The Grammy Foundation's Producers and Engineering Wing Guidelines and Recommendations - This page provides documents which outline guidelines and recommendations for the delivery of master recordings, Pro Tools session interchange and surround sound production.

Guidelines for Media Resources in Academic Libraries - The goal of this document by the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), is to assist librarians and library administrators who are developing media collections and services.

International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA)- Technical Committee Paper, The Safeguarding of the Audio Heritage: Ethics, Principles and Preservation Strategy Version 3, December 2005 - These general guidelines are for the safeguarding of the audio heritage in answer to requests from the members of IASA for advice about the direction to take in an increasingly digital environment. This document identifies problem areas and proposes recommended practices for sound and AV archives. These recommendations are a balance between the ideal situation and the real world. Their focus is on the various issues relating to responsible audio archiving practice. At the same time, a consistent terminology is used, to accomodate people with technical as well as financial responsibility for a collection. (There is also a web-based version of this report located at:

Library of Congress Digital Formats for Content Reproductions - Includes sections on Sound Recordings (in downloadable and streaming formats) and Headers for Computer Files. Only describes deliverable files, not archival-quality files. July 13, 1998.

Magnetic tape deterioration - This page briefly discusses the importance of proper care, handling and reformatting of magnetic tape.

National Technology Alliance: Magnetic Tape Storage and Handling - This paper, published by The Commission on Preservation and Access and the National Media Laboratory, provides in-depth information on the proper storage and handling of magnetic tape media, including some very good color diagrams.

NEDCC Technical Leaflet, Sec. 1, Leaflet 7- Preservation Concerns in Building Design: Select Bibliography - This technical leaflet from the Northeast Document Conservation Center presents resources about building design from the archival perspective.

NINCH Guide to Good Practice - Covers many aspects of digital projects, including planning, selection, rights management, capture, and quality control. October, 2002.

Preserving Access to Digital Information (PADI): Audio and Audiovisual material - This site from the National Library of Australia gives some explaination of preserving audio digitally, along with some really good links and resources related to the topic.

Preserving Oral History Recordings - This paper discusses the digitization and maintainence of oral history recordings at the National Library of Australia, and takes a more theoretical approach to digitization, explaining the reasoning for techonlogical decisions made, and comparing the process to that at other institutions.

Recommendations for Digitizing for RLG Cultural Materials - Guidelines for creation of digital objects to be submitted to RLG's Cultural Materials Initiative. January 25, 2002.

Stairways to Digital Heaven? Preserving Oral History Recordings at the National Library of Australia - This paper provides some of the context for this project and the planning processes involved in the decision to digitize. The process is then described, with some discussion of advantages and disadvantages, and some issues for the future.

Sound Savings: Preserving Audio Collections - This site contains the proceedings from the 2003 Sound Savings Symposium, co-sponsored by Preservation and Conservation Studies, University of Texas at Austin, School of Information; the Library of Congress; the National Recording Preservation Board; and the Association of Research Libraries.

Survey of the State of Audio Collections in Academic Libraries - This report by Abby Smith, David Randal Allen, and Karen Allen contains a survey undertaken in 2003 by CLIR to study the state
of audio recordings in academic libraries. One purpose of the survey was to
inform decision makers in those libraries, as well as in funding agencies, about
the scale and extent of barriers to preservation and access. Another purpose was
to elicit information that would help the participating libraries assess their
own readiness to preserve and provide access to their recorded-sound
collections. We also hoped that survey findings would help library leaders and
funders determine how best to allocate preservation funds and thereby help
ensure access to historically important sound recordings. Finally, the survey
was designed to raise awareness within the larger research and funding
communities of the value of audio collections and to encourage institutions with
important audio holdings to seek support for their collections.

Tape Restoration Tips - This is a very in depth page of information on tape restoration and preservation from Richard L. Hess of Vignettes Media, including some great diagrams and illustrations.

Working Paper on Digitizing Audio for the National Gallery of the Spoken Word and the African Online Digital Library - Best Practices for Audio Digitization published and used by the African Online Digital Library and the National Gallery of the Spoken Word at Michigan State University.

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