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Harvard College Library News: News from around the libraries

Digitizing Audio for Beginners

public spaces recycling  

From left, Virginia Danielson, Bruce Gordon, David Ackerman and Darron Burke.


March 31, 2011 – The HCL Audio Preservation Studio (APS) staff members, who are engaged internationally in the writing of standards and best practices for audio preservation, recently held an introductory workshop for library staff interested in planning an audio digitization project. They discussed the basics of audio digitization and how libraries can most effectively collaborate with APS.

Offering insights into the process were APS Preservation Engineer David Ackerman, Audio Engineer Bruce Gordon, Media Technician Darron Burke and Richard F. French Librarian of the Loeb Music Library Virginia Danielson. Some proffered tips:

  • Be aware that just because a recording is digital in nature does not mean it is preserved. Some of the highest-risk formats are Digital Audio Tape (DAT), Alesis Digital Audio Tape (ADAT) and DA-88.
  • Audio preservation is best done by audio professionals, who have years of experience listening in a professional context, and know how to handle tricky, “left-field” occurrences effectively.

The workshop was sponsored in conjunction with the Weissman Preservation Center. See the APS Web page, or contact Patricia O’Brien for more information.