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40th Annual ARSC Conference (Seattle, Washington, May 17- 20, 2006)

Pre-Conference Workshop

The Association for Recorded Sound Collections, Education and Training Committee and the Unviersity of Washington Libraries' Kenneth S. Allen Library Endowment presents:

A Tutorial on the Preservation of Audio in the Digital Domain
Wednesday, May 17, 2006, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM
Bainbridge Room

Thanks to the Audio Engineering Society, Pacific Northwest Section for its generous support of the pre-conference workshop.

Sound archives have reached a critical point in their history marked by the simultaneous rapid deterioration of unique or rare original materials, the development of expensive and powerful new digital technologies, and the consequent decline of analog formats and media. It is clear to many sound archivists that, for both technical and economic reasons, analog-based preservation methods are no longer viable and new strategies must be developed in the digital domain. This tutorial will introduce the basics of preserving audio in the digital domain, addressing some of the difficult equipment, technical metadata, and storage issues that must be resolved if enduring preservation is to be achieved. Archivists, librarians, collection managers, preservationists, and others who work with archival sound recordings will gain specific information that will help them formulate solid preservation strategies as well as understand the questions and issues that must be raised in working with IT personnel, audio engineers, and others involved in the preservation endeavor.

  1. Introduction: How We Got From ARSC/AAA to IASA TC-04.

    A brief overview of the conceptual shift in preservation thinking that began about 1990 and continues today. This presentation will trace the history of this paradigm shift, plus outline the basic principles that make up both ARSC/AAA and IASA TC-04, in order to set the stage for the rest of the tutorial.

    Mike Casey, Associate Director for Recordings Services, Archives of Traditional Music, Indiana University
  2. Computers, Converters, Cards and Cables: Equipment Considerations for Signal Capture in the Digital Domain.

    This presentation will provide an overview of computer and digitization equipment choices with an emphasis on accurate capture of analog source material. Several options will be presented encompassing the wide variety of source material, budgets, and digitization requirements which are typically found in archives which hold audio collections.

    Konrad Strauss, Director, Recording Arts Department, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
  3. Technical Metadata for Audio Preservation.

    This presentation will explore the collection of technical metadata for audio preservation and feature a demonstration of software applications designed for documenting characteristics of both the source recording and the digitizing process. The session will be led by David Ackerman, chair of the Audio Engineering Society working group that has developed two emerging standards in this area. The session will also include reports on implementing and localizing these standards from both the Archives of Traditional Music at Indiana University and the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound at the New York Public Library.

    David Ackerman, Audio Preservation Engineer, Archive of World Music, Harvard University
    Sara Velez, Assistant Chief, Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, New York Public Library
    Mike Casey, Associate Director for Recordings Services, Archives of Traditional Music, Indiana University
  4. Storage Solutions and Data Management.

    This session will provide an overview of storage technology and an exploration of storage solutions for the small archive and for larger institutions with mass storage systems. It will also examine data management issues for both small and larger scale storage solutions.

    John Spencer, President, Bridge Media Solutions Inc.
    Jon Dunn, Associate Director for Technology, Digital Library Program, Indiana University Libraries, Indiana University

For additional information, please contact

Nancy Seeger

Sara Velez


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