Friday, June 26, 2015

ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation

ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation. Sam Brylawski, et al. National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. May 2015. [PDF, 252 pp.]
CLIR, the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) and the National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB) of the Library of Congress, has published CLIR Publication No. 164, an excellent guide to audio preservation.
"Our audio legacy is at serious risk because of media deterioration, technological obsolescence, and, often, lack of accessibility. This legacy is remarkable in its diversity, ranging from wax cylinders of extinct Native American languages to tapes of local radio broadcasts, naturalists’ and ethnographers’ field recordings, small independent record company releases, and much more. These recordings are held not by a few large organizations, but by thousands of large and small institutions, and by individuals. The publishers hope that this guide will support and encourage efforts at all institutions to implement best practices to help meet the urgent challenge of audio preservation."

Chapters include:

  • Preserving Audio (Recorded Sound at Risk, Preservation Efforts, Roles)
  • Audio Formats: Characteristics and Deterioration (Physical, digital)
  • Appraisals and Priorities (Tools; Selection/collection policies, decisions)
  • Care and Maintenance (Handling, assessment) and arrangement
  • Description of Audio Recordings (Metadata, standards, tools)
  • Preservation Reformatting (Conversion to digital files, metadata, funding)
  • Digital Preservation and Access: Process, storage infrastructure
  • Audio Preservation: The Legal Context (Copyright, control, donor agreements)
  • Disaster Prevention, Preparedness, and Response
  • Fair Use and Sound Recordings Lessons
Some notes from reading the publication:
  • the ultimate goals of preservation are sustained discovery and use
  • all these dissimilar recordings together represent is an audio DNA of our culture
  • our enjoyment of the recordings has far exceeded our commitment to preserve them
  • history is represented in sound recordings; it entertains and enriches us
  • if compressed files are the only versions available to the public, we have no assurances that anyone is maintaining the higher fidelity originals
  • efforts of large and small institutions and private collectors are needed to make a meaningful dent in the enormous volume of significant recordings not yet digitized for preservation
  • if we are to preserve our audio legacy, all institutions with significant recordings must be part of the effort
  • proactive attention, care, and planning are critical to the future viability and value of both analog and digital recordings
  • institutions often have more items in their care than they have resources for adequate processing, cataloging, and preservation
  • the potential technical obsolescence of the hardware to play a recording should influence priorities and resources allocated for preservation
  • perhaps the most crucial feature a metadata schema is its degree of interoperability for sharing, searching, harvesting, and transformation or migration  
  • the preservation choice is not binary "either we implement intensive preservation immediately and forever; or we do nothing". We should not delay action because the ideal cannot be achieved
  • preservation metadata is the information needed to support the long-term management and
    usability of an object 
  • the Broadcast Wave Format (BWF) is the de facto standard for digital audio archiving
  • monitoring and planning to avoid obsolescence are important aspects of a solid digital preservation strategy
  • audio preservation is an ongoing process that may be challenging and intimidating; setting priorities is central to a successful preservation strategy
  • digital preservation will enable the fulfillment of the goal of long-term use (whether focused on education, scholarship, broadcasting, marketing, or sales)
  • ensure that there is at least one geographically separate copy of all digital content
  • recognize the use of sound recordings as sources of information by students and researchers
  • libraries and memory institutions should provide points of cultural reference for the current generation of creators
Several free, open source software tools are available
  • assessing audio collections for the purpose of setting preservation priorities
    • The Field Audio Collection Evaluation Tool (FACET)
    • Audio/Video Survey
    • Audiovisual Self-Assessment Tool (AvSAP)
    • MediaSCORE and MediaRIVERS
  • metadata tools
    • CollectiveAccess
    • Audio-Visual and Image Database (AVID)
    • AudioVisual Collaborative Cataloging (AVCC)
    • PBCore
 "When libraries, archives, and museums exercise their legal rights to preserve and facilitate
access to information, even without permission or payment, they are
furthering the goals of copyright."

"The professional management of a collection requires the development of criteria for selecting and preserving collections of sound recordings. A selection or collection development policy defines and sets priorities for the types of collections that are most appropriate and suitable for an organization to acquire and to preserve. The basis for these criteria should be the goals and objectives of the individual institution."

No comments: