From George Blood - Are your audiovisual archival records safe?

From George Blood - Are your audiovisual archival records safe?

In many ways, in most ways, AV artifacts are like any others you’ll encounter in libraries, archives, and museums. All the basics of care and handling apply – lower temperature, lower humidity, lower UV, lower dust, proper containers, gentle handling. Though the specifics may vary, the big picture does not.

Looking back on the history of what is now George Blood Audio/Video/Film/Data, our first identity in the archives community, Safe Sound Archive, is in climate controlled storage

From George Blood - Welcome Our New Hires (NOV)

From George Blood - Welcome Our New Hires (NOV)

Please welcome two new hires, Jenna Fleming and Rafiq Young, who have joined us this month.

Rafiq is our new Shipping Manager.  He is a Philly creative who dabbles in everything from painting to experimenting with micro computers. Also enjoys showing his 4 year old the wonders of 80’s animated cartoons! 

Jenna Fleming is our new Audiovisual Project Manager.  She is interested in the digital humanities and her research experience involves written correspondence in the First World War.

We're Hiring - Disc Digitization Engineer (second shift)

We're Hiring - Disc Digitization Engineer (second shift)

Applicants new to the trade will work with senior staff and Production Supervisor for training
and supervision; experienced applicants will be expected to work independently after training
on our systems; understanding of basic audio signal flow recommended, but not required.
Responsibilities:

  • Prepares audio media for digitization
  • Aligns playback and record parameters
  • Digitizes media
  • Gathers and logs technical, process, and descriptive metadata
  • Takes photographs of audio media
    • Discs (mostly 78rpm)

Learn More...

From George Blood - Radio Preservation Taskforce Conference at Library of Congress Recap

From George Blood - Radio Preservation Taskforce Conference at Library of Congress Recap

I’ve spent the last few days at the Library of Congress for the Radio Preservation Taskforce conference. The organizing committee, and Josh Shepherd in particular, deserves high praise for the range of topics and voices that were heard. Unlike most conferences where a few people sport long PowerPoint presentations, this one had many short talks. Sessions covered acquisition, preservation, born digital, commercial radio, engagement, and future plans for the RPT. I confess to belonging to a large group of presenters who whined, “How is this supposed to work?” I enjoyed not only the range of topics and voices heard, but the high level of civility and respect. Whether presenter, discussant, or audience member, everyone kept their comments brief and on point, with respectful and thoughtful exchanges. All the sessions were recorded, some of the live-streamed, and will be available from their website.

https://www.loc.gov/programs/national-recording-preservation-plan/about-this-program/radio-preservation-task-force/

Here are a few experiences that made the event worthwhile for me...

Atlas Obscura - Digitizing the Boston Public Library’s Forgotten Record Collection

Atlas Obscura - Digitizing the Boston Public Library’s Forgotten Record Collection

FOR DECADES, THE BASEMENT OF the Boston Public Library was hiding something pretty amazing. A collection of nearly 200,000 rarely heard, unseen-by-the-public vinyl LPs and shellac 78s were tucked away in storage in the library’s central branch. Now, through a partnership with the digital library Internet Archive, these records are about to get a second life.

The initiative will digitize all 200,000 pieces of the BPL’s collection and make them publicly available, as rights allow, for the first time in a very long time. First up are the library’s collection of 78s. These records, which date from about 1898 to the 1950s, will be digitized as part of the Internet Archive’s Great 78 Project, an initiative to digitize, preserve, and study these rare records. “These 78s are disappearing right and left. It is important that we do a good job preserving what we can get to, because there won’t be a second chance,” said George Blood, an audio preservationist working on the project, in a press release announcing the digitization.

Smithsonianmag.com - The Boston Public Library Is Digitizing 200,000 Vintage Recordings

Smithsonianmag.com - The Boston Public Library Is Digitizing 200,000 Vintage Recordings

“Through this innovative collaboration, the Internet Archive will bring significant portions of these sound archives online and to life in a way that we couldn’t do alone,” David Leonard, president of the Boston Public Library, says in a statement announcing the initiative.

The library’s collection of 78 rpm recordings, fragile precursors to the LP that were made from shellac, will be included in the digitization effort as part of the Internet Archive’s Great 78 Project, which is working to preserve more than 20 collections of obsolete sound technology.

“The simple fact of the matter is most audiovisual recordings will be lost,” says George Blood, an audio preservation expert who will work on digitizing the library’s collection, according to the library’s statement. “These 78s are disappearing right and left. It is important that we do a good job preserving what we can get to, because there won’t be a second chance.”

Sweeney reports that officials from the Internet Archive have already started boxing up the recordings, which will be sent to Blood in Philadelphia. Where rights allow, the digitized recordings will be available for free streaming and download. Physical copies will be stored in San Francisco, where the Internet Archive is based.

The Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) Preservation Grants

The Outreach Committee of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections
(ARSC) 

--- ARSC PRESERVATION GRANTS PROGRAM ---

Deadline for receipt of applications: December 15, 2017

The ARSC Program for the Preservation of Classical Music Historical
Recordings was founded by Al Schlachtmeyer and the ARSC Board of Directors
to encourage and support the preservation of historically significant sound
recordings of Western Art Music by individuals and organizations. (This
program is separate from the ARSC Research Grants Program, which supports
scholarship and publication in the fields of sound recording research and
audio preservation.)

The ARSC Program for the Preservation of Classical Music Historical
Recordings will consider funding:

-- Projects involving preservation, in any valid and reasonable fashion,
such as providing a collection with proper climate control, moving a
collection to facilities with proper storage conditions, re-sleeving a
collection of discs, setting up a volunteer project to organize and
inventory a stored collection, rescuing recordings from danger, copying
recordings from endangered or unstable media, etc.

-- Projects promoting public access to recordings.

-- Projects involving commercial as well as private, instantaneous
recordings.

-- Projects involving collections anywhere in the world. (Non-U.S.
applicants are encouraged to apply.)

The program is administered by an ARSC Grants Committee including the chair,
a member of the ARSC Technical Committee, and an expert on classical music.

Grant amounts generally range from $2,000 to $10,000. Grant projects should
be completed within 24 months. Written notification of decisions on projects
will be made approximately three months after the submission deadline.

Applications may be sent as an e-mail attachment to arscgrants@aol.com

Applications should be Word documents in Normal formatting, 12-point font,
with accompanying letters and other materials scanned into PDF files.

For further details, guidelines, and application instructions, visit:
http://www.arsc-audio.org/committees/preservationgrants.html

Grant applications must be received by December 15, 2017.

Questions about the Preservation Grants Program should be directed to Grants
Committee Chair Suzanne Flandreau at arscgrants@aol.com

The Association for Recorded Sound Collections is a nonprofit organization
dedicated to the preservation and study of sound recordings -- in all genres
of music and speech, in all formats, and from all periods. ARSC is unique in
bringing together private individuals and institutional professionals --
everyone with a serious interest in recorded sound.

Boston Globe - The BPL’s massive vinyl collection will be made available to the public

Boston Globe - The BPL’s massive vinyl collection will be made available to the public

The 200,000 LPs and 78s have been in the basement of the Johnson building at the central library in Copley Square, according to library officials. Representatives from the Internet Archive, a nonprofit digital library based in San Francisco, will be boxing up the recordings. The staging for the packing has already begun, and the pallets and packing tape are ready to go, library officials said.

 

The first batch of 78s will be sent to Philadelphia, where they will be digitized by audio preservation expert George Blood. From there they will be sent to San Francisco, where the Internet Archive will put the physical copies in storage for safe-keeping.

The digital copies will be posted on archive.org, where they can be streamed or downloaded by anyone with an Internet connection.

Indeed, the BPL’s record collection is quite eclectic. (There’s the soundtrack to the Tom Cruise movie “Born on the Fourth of July,” and Arlo Guthrie’s 1969 album “Running Down the Road,” to name a few). It covers a range of music from the early 1900s to the 1980s, from classical to early country to folk music and pop. “Really anything you could think of,” said Tom Blake, the library’s content discovery manager.

My Modern Met - 200,000+ Historic Recordings to Be Digitized by Boston Public Library and Released Online

My Modern Met - 200,000+ Historic Recordings to Be Digitized by Boston Public Library and Released Online

For decades the collection has remained in its current state—in storage, uncataloged, and inaccessible to the public. The Boston Public Library, which has collaborated with the Internet Archive since 2007, will produce a number of versions from remastered until raw. The library's decision to digitize its sound library fits perfectly into The Great 78 Project, the Internet Archive's initiative to digitize all 3 million minted sides—recordings of about 3 minutes—from 78 rpm discs from about 1898 to the 1950s.

“The simple fact of the matter is most audiovisual recordings will be lost,” says George Blood, an internationally renowned expert on audio preservation. “These 78s are disappearing right and left. It is important that we do a good job preserving what we can get to, because there won't be a second chance.”

Library Of Congress - New FADGI MXF AS-07 Specification and Sample Files Published

Library Of Congress - New FADGI MXF AS-07 Specification and Sample Files Published

The AS-07 development project is led by the Library of Congress and other members of FADGI in collaboration with community and commercial collaborators. While AS-07 is vendor neutral by design, at various times throughout the development of the specification, the FADGI team heard from outside experts in broadcasting and other parts of the professional video industry. Under both the AMWA and FADGI auspices, there was active participation from several external commercial entities.  From the beginning of the project, long-time FADGI consultant AVPreseve (through audiovisual standards expert and founder and president Chris Lacinak) served as the principle investigator and data wrangler. George Blood of George Blood LP, a Philadelphia-based provider of services to memory institutions archives, was a strong early contributing member of the AS-07 working team while MetaGlue (US and UK-based developer of specialized applications for broadcasters, and home base for MXF standards expert Oliver Morgan) and EVS (Belgian-French provider of production and archiving systems for broadcasters, and home base for MXF standards expert Valérie Popie) were engaged as paid expert advisors. In addition, Cube-Tec (German provider of production and archiving systems, home base for SMPTE standards expert Jörg Houpert) contributed to the project as an expert reviewer of the specification language and sample files because they saw value in a process that would establish an open, public specification. The collaboration with industry is essential to the continued adoption and success of AS-07 because it’s the tools and workflows that make AS-07 compliance and integration possible.

Boston Globe - Boston Public Library sound archives go digital

Once-popular phonograph records are gradually spinning into oblivion, but the Boston Public Library is making an attempt to preserve them before the music stops.

The library announced Wednesday it was launching a project to transfer recordings — scratches and all — from its Sound Archives Collection to the Internet Archive, which will digitize the recordings and post them.

 

The library’s collection includes popular American music in a variety of formats, including 78 rpm records that go back a century. The musical genres include classical music, pop, rock, and jazz.

Once the library’s recordings are posted to the Internet Archive, any member of the public will be able to access them for free online, where rights allow, the library said in a statement.

Boston Public Library - Boston Public Library Transfers Sound Archives Collection to Internet Archive for Digitization, Preservation, and Public Access

Boston Public Library - Boston Public Library Transfers Sound Archives Collection to Internet Archive for Digitization, Preservation, and Public Access

“Boston Public Library is once again leading in providing public access to their holdings. Their Sound Archive includes hillbilly music, early brass bands and accordion recordings from the turn of the last century, offering an authentic audio portrait of how America sounded a century ago,” said Brewster Kahle, Founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive. “Every time I walk through BPL’s doors, I’m inspired to read what is carved above it:  ‘Free to All.’”

The 78 rpm records from the BPL’s Sound Archives Collection fit into the Internet Archive’s larger initiative called The Great 78 Project. This community effort seeks to digitize all 3 million minted sides (~3 minute recordings) published on 78 rpm discs from about 1898 to the 1950s, supporting the preservationresearch and discovery of 78 rpm records. While commercially viable recordings will have been restored or remastered onto LP’s or CD, significant research value exists in the remaining artifacts among the often rare 78rpm discs and recordings. To date, over 20 collections have been selected by the Internet Archive for physical and digital preservation and access. Started by many volunteer collectors, these new collections have been selected, digitized, and preserved by the Internet Archive,  George Blood LP, and the Archive of Contemporary Music.

Internet Archive - The 20th Century Time Machine

“Close your eyes and listen,” Rossi asked the audience. And then, out of the speakers floated the scratchy sounds of Billy Murray singing “Low Bridge, Everybody Down” written by Thomas S. Allen. From 1898 to the 1950s, some three million recordings of about three minutes each were made on 78rpm discs. But these discs are now brittle, the music stored on them precious. The Internet Archive is working with partners on the Great 78 Project to store these recordings digitally, so that we and future generations can enjoy them and reflect on our music history. New collections include the Tina Argumedo and Lucrecia Hug 78rpm Collection of dance music collected in Argentina in the mid-1930s.

WBUR 90.9 - The Boston Public Library Owns 200,000 Vinyl Records — And It’s Putting Them All Online

WBUR 90.9 - The Boston Public Library Owns 200,000 Vinyl Records — And It’s Putting Them All Online

The Boston Public Library has thousands of vinyl records – about 200,000, to be exact.

Until recently, the records from the BPL’s Sound Archives Collections were sitting in the library basement, collecting dust rather than being listened to. But soon that’s all going to change.

The BPL is transferring the records from its sound collection to longtime partner the Internet Archive, a nonprofit digital library, so they can be cataloged and digitized for public access.

“This brings collections that we have had, makes them accessible to the public but also will preserve the original materials as well,” says David Leonard, the BPL’s president.

Philly.com - 'The Great 78 Project' is giving history digital life, in Chestnut Hill

Philly.com - 'The Great 78 Project' is giving history digital life, in Chestnut Hill

We live in a Utopian listening era in which music streaming services offer more than 30 million songs, and everything ever recorded can be accessed with the click of a touchscreen.

Well, maybe not everything.

For instance, until audio engineer Liz Rosenberg took a fragile 78 rpm shellac disc of the University of Pennsylvania’s Mask and Wig Club’s “We’ll Paddle Our Canoe” released in 1927 into her nitrile-gloved hands and placed it on a crazy-looking four-armed turntable at George Blood Audio in Chestnut Hill on a recent afternoon, a digital version of the performance did not exist.

But now it does. 

The Inquirer - Internet Archive releases 25,000 digitised 78RPM records for download

THE INTERNET ARCHIVE, which has been quietly caching web pages for the past two decades, also has a few more strings to its bow.

Previously, we've told you about classic video games now playable in-browser as a result of archiving by the team. But the latest release goes back a little further.

The Archive has released 25,000 (count 'em!) digital versions of 78RPM records that were otherwise virtually unplayable and certainly otherwise unavailable.

The Verge - Over 50,000 digitized pieces of vinyl can now be listened to on Internet Archive

New York’s ARChive of Contemporary Music (ARC) has been preserving audiovisual materials since 1985, and a little over a year ago, it partnered with the Internet Archive to bring its Great 78 Project to the public. Along with audiovisual digitization vendor George Blood L.P. and additional volunteers, the Great 78 Project to date has put over 50,000 digitized 78rpm discs and cylinder recordings on the Internet Archive, which can be listened to in all their crackling glory.

An ongoing project, the Internet Archive actually has over 200,000 donated physical recordings, most of which are from the 1950s and earlier. These early recordings were made from shellac, not the resin that records are made with today. A brittle material, shellac became outmoded around 1960 as it often creates unusual levels of surface noise and can quite literally break apart in your hands if not handled appropriately. Without digitization, it’s possible some of these recordings would eventually crumble and be lost to history forever.

WHYY Newsworks - Philly company digitizes 25,000 old records and they're free to download

WHYY Newsworks - Philly company digitizes 25,000 old records and they're free to download

In a little storefront building on Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia's Chestnut Hill neighborhood, George Blood Audio LP, an audio preservation company, has been quietly preserving America's musical heritage, one 78 at a time.

        Listen to the George Blood digitized collection

78 is an old format that spun at 78 rotations per minute, with grooves cut into brittle shellac. Many companies manufactured them — one of the largest was Victor Records of Camden, New Jersey — but between them there was no industry standard.