1. Building the National Sound Recording Preservation Infrastructure
Physical and Digital Infrastructure
Recommendation 1.1: Recorded Sound Media Storage Facilities
Recommendation 1.2: Expansion of the National Capacity for Audio Preservation
Recommendation 1.3: Digital Storage
Educational and Professional Training
Recommendation 1.4: University Courses and Degree Programs
Recommendation 1.5: Continuing Education in Audio Preservation
Recommendation 1.6: Audio Preservation Resource Directory
A National Technology Research Agenda
Recommendation 1.7: New Technologies for Audio Preservation
Recommendation 1.8: Documentation of Legacy Technologies
2. Blueprint for Implementing Preservation Strategies
Audio Preservation Management
Recommendation 2.1: Guide to Audio Preservation
Recommendation 2.2: Appraisal of Audio Collections for Preservation
Recommendation 2.3: Public-Private Partnerships
New Tools and Guidelines for Preserving Digital Audio Files
Recommendation 2.4: Preservation Workflows for Audio Materials
Recommendation 2.5: Metadata Standards for Digital Audio Files
Recommendation 2.6: Tools to Support Preservation throughout the
Content Life Cycle
Recommendation 2.7: Best Practices for Creating and Preserving
Born-Digital Audio Files
3. Promoting Broad Public Access for Educational Purposes
Ensuring Access through Discovery and Cataloging Initiatives
Recommendation 3.1: National Discography
Recommendation 3.2: National Directory of Recorded Sound Collections
Recommendation 3.3: Establishment of Best Practices for Audio Cataloging
Copyright Legislation Reform
Recommendation 3.4: Federal Copyright Protection for Pre-1972
Recommendation 3.5: Orphan Works
Recommendation 3.6: Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act
Improving Legal Public Access to Recorded Sound Collections
Recommendation 3.7: Licensing Agreements for Streaming
Recommendation 3.8: Recorded Sound Preservation Access Network
Recommendation 3.9: Sound Recording Labels Ownership Database
Recommendation 3.10: Expansion of Public Access to Sound Recordings
Preserved by the Library of Congress
Recommendation 3.11: Code of Best Practices in Fair Use
4. Long-Term National Strategies
Recommendation 4.1: The National Recording Preservation Board
Recommendation 4.2: Executive Leadership Committee on Recorded Sound Preservation
Recommendation 4.3: A Coordinated National Collections Policy
Recommendation 4.4: Preservation of Twenty-First Century Recordings
Recommendation 4.5: Fundraising for Sound Preservation
Recommendation 4.6: Assessment of the National Audio Preservation Program
This plan was written by Brenda Nelson-Strauss, Alan Gevinson, and
Sam Brylawski, under the direction of Patrick Loughney.
The recommendations in this plan derive from the work of six task forces convened by the Library of Congress. The Library is greatly indebted to the members of these groups for their time and the care and creativity they devoted to this project.
Education, Professional Training
Robert Heiber (Chair)
Chace Audio by Deluxe
University of California, Los Angeles
Kilgarlin Center for the Preservation of the
University of Texas at Austin
School of Information and Library Science
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Schulich School of Music, McGill University
Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University
Digital Audio Preservation and Standards
George Blood (Chair)
Safe Sound Archive
Michael T. Casey
Archives of Traditional Music, Indiana University
National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, Library of Congress
Vermont Folklife Center
AudioVisual Preservation Solutions
Copyright, Preservation and Public Access
David Seubert (Chair)
Special Collections, Davidson Library
University of California, Santa Barbara
Association for Recorded Sound Collections
Scholarly Resources and Special Collections
Cornell University Library
William and Gayle Cook Music Library
Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP
Department of Media Studies, University of Virginia
Public-Private Partnerships: Collective Strategies for Preservation
Bill Ivey (Chair)
Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy Vanderbilt University
University of California, Santa Barbara
Digital Library Program
University of California, Los Angeles
Sony Music Entertainment
Concord Music Group
Universal Music Group
Virginia Danielson (Chair)
Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library
Marcos Sueiro Bal
Bonna J. Boettcher
Sidney Cox Library of Music and Dance
Recorded Sound Processing Unit, Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation
Library of Congress
Archives, WNYC and WQXR
New York Public Radio
Abby Smith Rumsey
Consultant, Library of Congress National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program
Council on Library and Information Resources
Donald J. Waters
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Fundraising and Promoting the Public Awareness of Recorded Sound Preservation
Patrick Loughney (Chair)
Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation Library of Congress
Ethnomusicologist; National Recording Preservation Foundation
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
Director, Library of Congress National Recording Preservation Plan
The writers of the National Recording Preservation Plan would like to thank the members of the task forces for their reports that formed the basis of this plan and the following individuals who assisted in the creation of the plan.
Library of Congress staff
Special thanks for assistance
D. J. Hoek
Special thanks to Eugene DeAnna, Carl Fleischhauer, Fenella France, Caitlin Hunter, Konrad Strauss, Emily Vartanian, and Chris Weston for their contributions to the final version of the plan.
Foreword by the Librarian of Congress
National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, SEC. 111. ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM BY LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS. [Public Law No: 106-474]
(a) IN GENERAL—The Librarian shall . . . implement a comprehensive national sound recording preservation program, in conjunction with other sound recording archivists, educators and historians, copyright owners, recording industry representatives, and others involved in activities related to sound recording preservation, and taking into account studies conducted by the Board.
American creativity has transformed the soundscape of much of the world. The Library of Congress has capped its long leadership in preserving America’s audiovisual heritage by completing and publishing its first-ever National Recording Preservation Plan.
The Library of Congress’s history of active leadership in this field began in the early years of the twentieth century. With the passage of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, Congress reaffirmed this leadership and directed its Library to plan and coordinate a national effort to develop policies and programs to save our nation’s recorded sound history and ensure its accessibility to future generations. At a time when libraries and other cultural institutions, as well as the recording industry, are struggling to save more than 130 years of analog recording history and navigate the technical and marketplace challenges of providing public access in the digital age, the publication of this plan is a timely as well as historic achievement.
The National Recording Preservation Plan is the cumulative result of more than a decade of work by the Library and the National Recording Preservation Board. It is America’s first significant step toward organizing an effective national collaboration to meet the challenges of saving our recorded sound cultural patrimony.
The National Recording Preservation Plan follows upon the Library’s fulfillment of other mandates that Congress assigned to its Library in the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000. Since then, the Library of Congress has laid the foundation for the plan and increased public awareness of the need to preserve our nation’s recorded sound history and culture. Those mandates included the establishment of the National Recording Preservation Board in 2002; annual announcements of the National Recording Registry starting in 2003; from 2005 to 2009, the publication of five landmark studies on specific issues affecting sound recording preservation and access; and in 2010, the publication of The State of Recorded Sound Preservation in the United States: A National Legacy at Risk in the Digital Age, the first comprehensive survey of recorded sound preservation in America ever undertaken.
Digital technologies have fundamentally changed our lives in the twenty-first century. In the born-digital age, file-based recording has become the predominant means of audio production, and digital audio files now are accepted as the standard format for preserving analog recordings. The State of Recorded Sound Preservation in the United States called attention to the great opportunities and challenges that the digital age has brought us. At the click of a mouse, listeners can hear music and talk from the far corners of the world. Digital technologies now aid preservation reformatting significantly. Yet, as the study acknowledged, great challenges—technical, organizational, and economic—that have accompanied the shift to digital preservation remain unresolved. The National Recording Preservation Plan recommends that collaboration among all stakeholders will be needed to take full advantage of the promise of the digital revolution and confront the daunting challenges of recorded sound preservation.
The major findings of the study showed that the challenges to saving America’s recorded sound history in the digital age can be generally divided into four categories: conservation and preservation reformatting; barriers to public access; the need for professional education; and outdated laws that impede both preservation and access. Based on these findings, the Library enlisted Brenda Nelson-Strauss of Indiana University to direct the effort to develop a collaborative national plan and coordinate the work of six task force groups charged with developing specific recommendations in the areas of education, professional training, and research; digital audio preservation and technical standards; copyright and public access; public-private partnerships; collection management; and fundraising and promoting public awareness of recorded sound preservation.
The members of the task forces included experts from public and private institutions and organizations across the country in the fields of law, audio preservation, library/archive management and public service, business, digital technology, and cultural history. Working independently and on a voluntary basis, the task force members found time in their busy schedules for many conference calls over a period of more than a year.
The multi-talented staff at the Library of Congress distilled the preliminary recommendations of the task forces down to the 32 recommendations presented in this plan. These recommendations are thematically organized under headings for:
• Building the national sound recording preservation infrastructure
• Blueprint for implementing preservation strategies
• Promoting broad public access for educational purposes
• Long-term national strategies
In coordinating, guiding, and recording the proceedings of task force meetings, Ms. Nelson-Strauss was assisted by the Library’s dedicated staff that works with the National Recording Preservation Board: Steve Leggett, Cary O’Dell, and Donna Ross. All of us are grateful to Ms. Nelson-Strauss for directing the development of this study, and to Alan Gevinson and Sam Brylawski for writing the plan with her. I want to single out Mr. Brylawski for special praise for his tireless and effective leadership in the field of recorded sound history and preservation over many years, and for his valuable assistance to me and the work of the National Recording Preservation Board. I also thank the many task force members from across the country who volunteered their time and contributed so many important ideas; the members of the National Recording Preservation Board; and Gene DeAnna and his staff of the Library’s Recorded Sound Section at the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation.
The Library’s efforts to advance the national cause of recorded sound preservation took a quantum leap forward in 2007 when the Packard Humanities Institute donated to the Library of Congress—and the American people—the $200 million Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation. This state-of-the-art facility, located in Culpeper, Virginia, was designed and constructed under the personal direction of David Woodley Packard for the purpose of preserving the Library’s unparalleled audiovisual collections and to assist institutions throughout the country that are equally committed to preserving and providing public access to our national moving image and recorded sound cultural heritage.
The effort to develop this national plan has been long and challenging. America’s audio history has been vast, creative, and decentralized since the nineteenth century. Conceiving a national plan involves taking into account the concerns and interests of many public and private stakeholders.
Saving America’s recorded sound history and culture will require a concerted effort lasting many years. Keep in mind while reading the plan that its recommendations require a deliberately long view. The Library published its national plan for preserving the nation’s film heritage in 1994. Great progress has since been made in implementing its recommendations, but the efforts continue, much remains to be done, and similar long-term commitment and collaboration will be necessary to achieve many of the recommendations in the National Recording Preservation Plan.
A national consensus has now been achieved in identifying the problems to be solved. If individuals and institutions in the public and private sectors commit to working together to implement the prudent recommendations of this broad-based national plan, we can save our recorded sound heritage for future generations.
—James H. Billington
Librarian of Congress