Articles

Making Sound Decisions: Institutional Responses to the Crisis in Audio Preservation

Author
  • David R. Lewis (Bowling Green State University)

Abstract

Some archives have been quick to respond to the crisis in audio preservation brought on by the combined forces of obsolescence and degradation inherent in legacy audio formats and their playback equipment. These archives have undertaken digitization projects for particular collections or, in a few cases, have digitized the bulk of their audio holdings for preservation. Based on an examination of the literature on audio preservation, however, the responses of some institutions—particularly small and midsized institutions—have been stymied by roadblocks related to cost and expertise. Given the limited time available for archives to migrate audio content, this uneven response threatens to leave an incomplete audio legacy, weighted toward grant-worthy collections with few copyright restrictions at larger, better-resourced institutions. After a review of relevant literature, this article suggests interventions institutions of all sizes can undertake to respond to the crisis in audio preservation including stringent selection and reappraisal projects, strategies for tiered audio digitization using a combination of in-house and vendor-based services, and suggestions for increasing access to high-quality digitization for worthy audio materials.

How to Cite:

Lewis, D. R., (2020) “Making Sound Decisions: Institutional Responses to the Crisis in Audio Preservation”, Archival Issues 40(2), p.23-44. doi: https://doi.org/10.31274/archivalissues.11888

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Published on
10 Dec 2020