New Guide to Audio Preservation Gives Non-Specialists Expert Information

Contact: Kathlin Smith

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ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation offers practical advice to audio collection managers without extensive in-house experience

Washington, DC, May 28, 2015-The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), in partnership with the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) and the National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB) of the Library of Congress, today announced publication of the ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation.

The guide is an introduction to caring for and preserving audio collections, specifically for individuals and institutions that have recorded sound collections but lack the expertise in one or more areas to preserve them.

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. Saving this irreplaceable treasure demands the joint effort of libraries, archives, museums, local history repositories, corporations, and individuals.

“The ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation fills a critical need by drawing together contributions from an impressive team of authorities in audio preservation to address the needs of non-specialists who are responsible for managing collections of recordings without being able to rely on in-house professional preservation expertise,” said ARSC President Patrick Feaster. “In partnership with CLIR and the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress, we’re proud to build on our tradition of promoting the well-informed stewardship of recorded sound with the publication of this guidebook.”

Nine chapters, contributed by a range of experts, cover audio conservation and preservation, recorded sound formats and their associated risks, appraisal, related copyright issues, and disaster preparedness. The guide also offers advice on making informed decisions about digitization, as well as strategies for managing digital content. An appendix to the guide focuses on fair use and sound recordings.

“Our recorded sound heritage-much of it unique, unpublished, and hidden-is held by thousands of institutions and individuals. Ensuring that these collections survive and are accessible will be possible only with the collaboration of many institutions,” said CLIR President Chuck Henry. “We are proud to copublish the ARSC guide and hope that it will help support the collective action needed to meet this grand challenge.”

The ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation is available electronically at https://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub164. Print copies are available for ordering through CLIR’s website, for $30 plus shipping and handling.

The guide was commissioned and sponsored by the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress.

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning.

The Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and study of sound recordings of all kinds, regardless of genre, format, or date. Founded in 1966, ARSC brings together individuals and institutions with a wide variety of personal and professional relationships to collections of recorded sound. Its members share a common passion for sound recordings and a commitment to preserving them-a challenge that the diversity of perspectives and areas of expertise makes the organization uniquely well equipped to address.