For the summer of 2018, we will offer two six- to eight-week paid internships, one in audiovisual preservation and one in data rescue and recovery. During this period, the interns will gain an understanding of the processes of audiovisual and data preservation reformatting, and have the opportunity to contribute to a particular area of preservation work of their choosing. The internships will each result in a professional level project. Past interns have conducted preservation research and documentation, created shipping and storage guidelines, participated in conservation treatments of materials, and more.
I have no particular interest in sports. Never have. The closest this pointy-headed, bookie, piano & harpsichord player ever came to participating in an organized sport was playing saxophone in the marching band in high school. Nonetheless, sports is hard to avoid. About 14 years ago, while I was the engineer at The Philadelphia Orchestra...
So how does an archivist learn how to preserve audio and video materials, anyway? Some people (like me) attend a specialized graduate program; others pursue internships or learn on the job. The Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship (PBPF), a new IMLS-funded program from WGBH and the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), is trying to combine a little of Column A with a little of Column B. Through the PBPF, the WGBH is collaborating with universities and public broadcasting stations around the country to provide semester-long graduate Fellowships for currently-enrolled students to get hands-on experience in audio and video preservation.
The first five Fellows begin their projects this week – but before getting thrown into the deep end...
Like most people, like most companies, the work we do has changed over the years. When we started preserving audio collections in 1990, copying to ¼” analog tape was the standard. Digital was still a new, uncertain thing. Audiovisual and data preservation is now the bulk of what we do. Prior to 1990 most of our work was in recording classical music on location – live concerts and CDs. I worked with The Philadelphia Orchestra for 21 year and have recorded over 4,000 live concerts, half with The Fabulous Philadelphians. Though our preservation business has grown more quickly, we still record a lot of classical music.
George Blood runs a studio in Philadelphia piled high with audio-visual equipment. But among all that equipment, Blood has a special four-armed turntable that makes him the perfect candidate to permanently archive the hundreds of thousands of random, discarded 78 rpm records amassed by The Internet Archive. It's an ecclectic batch of audio from another time. Blood and his team of archivists are finding new historical artifacts every day, and making sure that they'll be playable well into the future.
In a special episode of our podcast, The Outline World Dispatch, Zoë Beery reports from Philadelphia about how the Great 78 Project plans to preserve our aural history for generations to come.
This week we’ll be heading to the Association of Moving Image Archivists [www.amianet.org] for their annual conference. Joining me are Biz Gallo, Manager of Audiovisual Preservation, Sarah Mainville, registrar, and Nora Egloff, Data Storage Managers. We have two special things to look forward to at the conference. Biz will be giving her first professional presentation since joining our staff. And at Thursday morning’s plenary I will present the first George Blood LP Women in Audiovisual Archiving and Technology Scholarship.
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
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.
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.
- 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)
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.
Here are a few experiences that made the event worthwhile for me...
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.
“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 Outreach Committee of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections
--- 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
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
-- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
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 email@example.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.
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.
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.”
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.
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 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 preservation, research 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.
“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.