Friday, December 28, 2007

Sound Directions audio preservation guide released

Aaron Michael Bittel -- former student and soon to be Archivist-Librarian -- sent this to me.

The Sound Directions project at Harvard University and Indiana University announces the publication of Sound Directions: Best Practices for Audio Preservation, which is available as a PDF from the Sound Directions website at This 168-page publication presents the results of two years of research and development funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities in the United States. This work was carried out by project and permanent staff at both institutions in consultation with an advisory board of experts in audio engineering, audio preservation, and digital libraries.

Sound Directions: Best Practices for Audio Preservation establishes best practices in many areas where they did not previously exist. This work also explores the testing and use of existing and emerging standards. It includes chapters on personnel and equipment for preservation transfer, digital files, metadata, storage, preservation packages and interchange, and audio preservation systems and workflows. Each chapter is divided into two major parts: a preservation overview that summarizes key concepts for collection managers and curators, followed by a section that presents recommended technical practices for audio engineers, digital librarians, and other technical staff. This latter section includes a detailed look at the inner workings of the audio preservation systems at both Harvard and Indiana.

This first phase of the Sound Directions project produced four key results: the publication of our findings and best practices, the development of much needed software tools for audio preservation, the creation or further development of audio preservation systems at each institution, and the preservation of a large number of critically endangered and highly valuable recordings. All of these are detailed in this publication, which provides solid grounding for institutions pursuing audio preservation either in-house or in collaboration with an outside vendor.

For further information on the Sound Directions project:

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