What Gets Preserved?

GHODigitization, Music, Preservation


In 2000, the U.S. Congress passed the National Recording Preservation Act which, according to James Billington, Librarian of Congress, “affirmed the nation’s collective interest in preserving sound recordings for posterity…[and] established the Library of Congress National Recording Preservation Board.” Along with its sister organization, the National Recording Preservation Foundation, each year the NRPB selects 25 recordings that are at least … Read More

Preserving the Big Bang

GHODigitization, Music, Preservation


In 1953 at the age of 18, an unknown Elvis Presley walked into Sun Records in Memphis, TN and recorded two songs to acetate disc for the whopping total of $4. Not long after, he received a Sun Records contract which was, in turn, sold to RCA for $40,000. In today’s market that would be upwards of $300,000. That acetate … Read More

Pictures of Sound

GHOAudio, Books, Digitization, Music


A definition of recorded sound seems fairly straightforward: a capture of sound waves over a period of time that can be played back and listened to. In his 2012 book, Pictures of Sound: One Thousand Years of Educed Audio: 980-1980, Patrick Feaster challenges this definition, arguing that the only necessary condition for a document to be a sound recording is … Read More

An Analog Past to a Digital Future

GHOAudio, Copyright, Digitization, Music

Talking Phonograph

Music is a fundamental form of human communication, and it has existed in some form or another in every culture and in every time period of human history. Unfortunately, the formats used to record music are deteriorating, and culturally and historically valuable musical recordings are being lost forever. There is, however, no way of knowing how many musical recordings have … Read More

The Challenges of Audio Digitization

GHOAudio, Collections, Digitization


It is important to preserve audio collections and make them accessible because they contain valuable information not communicated by books and images. As concerns oral histories, Stevens & Latham (2009) write: “The human voice, with all its intonation, inflection, and emotion, can convey so much more than the written page. Books teach about the past; oral histories give it voice” … Read More