Loeb Music Library
The Sound Directions project is an NEH-funded joint venture with the Indiana University Archives of Traditional Music. Its purpose is to create best practices and test emerging standards in the digital preservation of critically endangered sound recordings. Sound archives have reached a critical point. Unique original materials are rapidly deteriorating, but prior to the initial phase of the project there were few published standards or best practices that addressed the post digitization stages of archival audio preservation specifically. Sound Directions establishes such practices while simultaneously preserving several of Loeb Music Library's collections.
The first phase of the project has resulted in the following:
- A publication of our findings and best practices, Sound Directions: Best Practices for Audio Preservation
- The creation of software tools for audio preservation
- To aid in selecting recordings for preservation, Indiana University developed the Field Audio Collection Evaluation Tool (FACET), a point-based, open-source tool for ranking field collections based on their condition. Download FACET.
- The Harvard Sound Directions Toolkit, a suite of open-source, scriptable, command-line interface tools to streamline workflow and reduce the potential for human error in the creation of preservation metadata.
- The Audio Technical Metadata Collector (ATMC), for collecting and storing technical and digital provenance metadata, Audio Object Manager for audio object metadata creation, and Audio Processing XML Editor (APXE) for collection of digital provenance metadata. These tools will be released at a later date.
- The further development of audio preservation systems at each institution
- The preservation of a number of critically endangered and highly valuable recordings
The Harvard Sound Directions Toolkit is a suite of 46 open source software applications that enable audio engineers to streamline the preservation process and to remove the likelihood of human error. By automating routine, repetitive tasks, the Toolkit allows audio engineers to focus their attention on the task of getting the best playback, and on the evaluation of the object undergoing preservation.
The Toolkit includes a large number of scriptable command line interface tools, each targeted to a specific application. Like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle with very regular shapes, the software can be pieced together into multiple configurations to generate different automated workflows. The Toolkit is intended for users with audio engineering and programming expertise, working in collections with large volumes of audio materials in need of digital preservation.
The Toolkit consists of the following:
- The Harvard Sound Directions Toolkit software (v. 1.0.1) and documentation
- HCL-APS Sound Directions Toolkit Tutorial — an HTML guide to the Toolkit, with example audio files and exercises
Download the Harvard Sound Directions Toolkit (MD5 = 6e78bbb4eb1f12274969c1771afb0a92)
The Toolkit was developed by lead engineer David Ackerman and programmer Robert LaFerla under the auspices of the Sound Directions project, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
If you have problems with the Toolkit, or further questions or suggestions, contact us via e-mail.
The Sound Directions project will help preserve the following collections:
The Baroness Ullens Collection
Baroness Ullens de Schooten was a photographer who traveled in Iran and Iraq regularly from 1926 until 1970. Her audio recordings document folk and colloquial music of the region. The astounding richness of this collection lies in the fact that the repertories represented are absolutely unavailable anywhere else in recorded or print form. The collection greatly expands awareness of cultural life in Iraq and Iran in the early to mid-20th century. A finding aid to the collection is available in OASIS (Online Archival Search Information System).
The Richard Wolf Collection
Collected by Professor Richard Wolf during more than seven years in India and Pakistan, the collection includes about 70 hours of Sufi and Shia Islamic practices and recordings of the entire festival year of the Kota tribe. More than any other currently available, this collection offers some of the very finest specimens of musical performance in each genre covered and offers access to little-known or difficult-to-obtain general folk and tribal music from across the Indian subcontinent.
The Sema Vakf Collection of Turkish Classical Music
The Sema Vakf Collection may be the largest collection of Turkish music in the world. Collected by Altan Güzey, the Turkish-American connoisseur of Ottoman classical music, this collection includes the private archive of Ismâil Baha Sürelsan, a Turkish composer and ethnomusicologist who has devoted more than 60 years to performing Turkish classical music. Among the other treasures of the collection are recordings of the singer Allâeddin Yavaşça's mesk, musical lessons held on Sunday afternoons at his home once a month. Some of Yavaşça's own transcriptions of musical works form part of the collection. There are numerous performances by such accomplished artists as Meral Ugurlu, Mes'ûd Cemil, and Bekir Rehâ and Selmâ Sagbas.