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.