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2. Blueprint for Implementing Preservation Strategies

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The preservation community should adopt management strategies and practical operational procedures that facilitate the activities of recorded sound collection managers and technicians in meeting the challenges of digital preservation. Many of the needs can be met through the Audio Preservation Resource Directory website (Recommendation 1.6) and through efforts led by organizations such as AES and ARSC. Without timely actions, archives will be unable to preserve and make accessible analog and born-digital audio content for current and future generations. Failure to meet this challenge will place our nation’s audio cultural heritage at further risk.

Born-digital audio is increasingly woven into the fabric of day-to-day information creation and exchange. Studio-recorded music, radio broadcasts, sound for film and video, field recordings, personal recordings, podcasts, interviews, recorded meetings and conference proceedings, as well as audio blogs and audio tweets, are created en masse today in born-digital formats.

Concurrent with changes in the mode of audio production, digital audio files have become the accepted preservation format for legacy analog recordings. The State of Recorded Sound Preservation in the United States notes the “opportunities and promises” of digital media for preservationists. For example, “generation loss” (i.e., the loss of quality inherent in copying material from one audiotape to another as old tapes deteriorate) is nonexistent in digital transfers. The report emphasizes, however, the significant technical, organizational, and funding challenges that institutions will confront as they make the transition to digital file preservation approaches: “new procedures and tools, a new and complicated lexicon, formidable and time-consuming documentation requirements, daunting storage and IT responsibilities, and an incomplete set of standards and best practices-and all of this only after significant up-front investment of money to create technical infrastructures necessary for digital preservation” (CLIR and Library of Congress 2010, 66).

The nature of digital files and digital file storage necessitates ongoing, active management at a number of levels. Software and hardware are constantly evolving, hastening the obsolescence of digital media, software, and file formats. Any misstep in the creation and management of audio files presents risks to their long-term sustainability equal to the risks of environmental or physical degradation for physical media. Files that are described and arranged poorly can become impossible to retrieve. The application of methodologies appropriate to born-digital recording requires significant shifts in practice by content creators and producers as well as archivists, who must adopt practices that support digital preservation as an active, managed process throughout the life cycle of the audio file.

Audio Preservation Management

To ensure that recorded sound materials are successfully preserved in the digital age, collection managers must be equipped with strategies, models, and guidelines to aid them in making informed policy decisions. They must have tools to help them adhere to best practices in managing their collections; survey and appraise their collections to prioritize for digitization their most significant and endangered recordings; and form mutually beneficial public-private partnerships to engage in costly digital preservation reformatting and access projects. Using the Audio Preservation Resource Directory website, as suggested in the following three recommendations, can facilitate the achievement of these goals.

Recommendation 2.1:
Guide to Audio Preservation

Compile a basic audio preservation handbook to guide nonspecialists in the management of audio collections.

If collection managers are to make strategic decisions and implement effective preservation strategies, they must have a set of core standards and best practices to guide them. Although organizations such as IASA have developed highly technical sets of guidelines in specific areas,8 The State of Recorded Sound Preservation in the United States concluded that “[t]he capacity to adhere to current best practices for audio preservation is beyond the reach of most institutions” (CLIR and Library of Congress 2010, 5). There is a significant need for a basic conservation handbook targeted primarily to smaller organizations and individuals who lack expertise specific to audio conservation and preservation.

The handbook will be a component of the Audio Preservation Resource Directory website and will address the following topics:

  • Facilities: specifications for climate (appropriate temperature and relative humidity range for each format), construction materials, lighting, ventilation, fire suppression systems, and security
  • Media: overview of formats, including composition and types of degradation common to sound carriers
  • Housing and storage: appropriate shelving, containers, and other enclosures as recommended for each media format
  • Handling: guidelines for cleaning, repair, and playback
  • Digital storage: overview of digital file formats and best practices for storing digital files
  • Cataloging: overview of arrangement, description, and metadata conventions
  • Reformatting: guidelines for planning a preservation project, including how to outsource reformatting
  • Rights management: guidelines and model agreements (covering archival deposits, interviews, oral history licensing, etc.), with an emphasis on intellectual property rights, and ethical and legal issues regarding use and access
  • Appraisals: general guidelines for surveying and assessing the physical condition of audio holdings and establishing priorities for preservation

Recommendation 2.2:
Appraisal of Audio Collections for Preservation
Devise means to assist collection managers in conducting comprehensive appraisals of audio holdings with the goal of establishing priorities for preservation.

Institutions must conduct comprehensive item-level appraisals of their audio holdings to make strategic and timely preservation reformatting decisions.9 By identifying recordings that are at greatest risk because of format obsolescence and physical condition, in addition to those that have the most historical importance for their users, institutions can make informed policy decisions and determine priorities for preservation. Data from appraisals can be used to justify preservation projects and support requests for funding.

Surveys and appraisals should be structured to accomplish five primary goals:

  1. Quantify in specific detail types of audio carrier formats and the estimated number of hours of recorded content in collections.
  2. Provide an in-depth analysis of the physical condition of each item.
  3. Provide an assessment of the historical and research value of the content, including uniqueness, that takes into account intellectual property rights and other issues that may limit access.
  4. Rank collections from low to high priority for preservation.
  5. Guide the allocation of resources toward reformatting the most significant and imperiled recordings.

Few audio collections have been surveyed, analyzed, and appraised in a manner that yields both qualitative and quantitative data. Such a project presents many challenges. Audio collections typically include a wide variety of materials, ranging from commercially released recordings on relatively stable formats (e.g., mass-produced discs) to unpublished instantaneous recordings on fragile or obsolete formats and born-digital files that are likely to have unique content. Addressing preservation and appraisal issues across this broad spectrum requires technical expertise, including knowledge of specific formats and their physical or digital attributes, and the ability to assess the intellectual and historical value of content. In many institutions, significant collections are located outside libraries and archives, which means that they must be surveyed in offices, research centers, museums, academic departments, broadcast facilities, and other units.10 For large or dispersed collections, a comprehensive survey and appraisal requires considerable commitments of time and funds.

To assist managers in conducting audio collection surveys, the following steps are recommended:

  • Coordinate a collaborative nationwide effort to make available online (via the Audio Preservation Resource Directory) assessments of a range of audio collection appraisal tools that research institutions have developed, many of which are freely available online.11Each of the presently available tools has distinct attributes, which should be described, and the suitability of each tool for use with specific types of collections should be analyzed. Using or modifying existing tools will result in considerable savings for collection managers. ARSC, whose members developed several of these tools independently of one another, might be the most appropriate organization to coordinate this work.
  • Encourage institutions that have completed media preservation surveys to share their results via the Audio Preservation Resource Directory website.Completed reports can assist other institutions in developing models to assess their collections and producing preliminary forecasts of the amount of at-risk media likely to require preservation and the requisite staffing, funding, and infrastructure that will be needed. The reports will also benefit vendors and suppliers integral to the preservation community by making it possible to quantify the scope of preservation issues and the needs for conservation and preservation tools and supplies.
  • Develop and maintain a list of experts who can assist collection managers with collection evaluation and appraisal surveys.The list, to be made available on the Audio Preservation Resource Directory website, should include experts from both the public and the private sector, and it should be updated annually. Qualifications and applicable experience should be indicated, including experience using one or more of the available appraisal tools.
  • Encourage funding agencies to increase support for comprehensive surveys.Presently, two federal agencies provide funding for condition surveys of audio media, but not at levels sufficient for the type of comprehensive, institution-wide surveys and appraisals required to set priorities for audio preservation reformatting.12

Recommendation 2.3:
Public-Private Partnerships

Disseminate guidelines-via the Audio Preservation Resource Directory website-for establishing collaborative preservation partnerships between public institutions, private companies, private collectors, and other stakeholders to preserve endangered recordings.

Private collectors and a variety of other stakeholders, including artists, producers, sponsors, and arts organizations, hold a significant portion of the nation’s recorded sound heritage, encompassing commercial recordings of small and regional companies; recordings of genres of limited general appeal, such as those produced within and for ethnic communities; recordings of live performances that have not been released commercially; radio broadcasts; and privately produced recordings of historical or cultural significance, such as interviews and field recordings. Many of these recordings are likely to be unique or exist only in small quantities, making them a high priority for preservation.

The holders of private recorded sound collections rarely are equipped to engage in preservation reformatting and access projects for material that is not commercially viable. Few grant agencies will consider funding the preservation of material in private hands. Partnerships between private individuals or groups and public or nonprofit institutions that have the resources and mission to provide these services, therefore, can be mutually beneficial.

Because record companies are vulnerable to changing markets and corporate resources, they also may find it difficult to manage and preserve valuable historical assets that are no longer commercially viable. In such cases, collaborative efforts with public or nonprofit institutions to preserve the contents of record company vaults, including master recordings and associated documents, likewise can be beneficial.

To encourage such collaborations, a component of the Audio Preservation Resource Directory website (Recommendation 1.6) should be devoted to publicizing public-private preservation partnerships. This resource will benefit public institutions and private collectors by providing examples of successful partnerships, as well as models for successful outcomes.13 The “partnerships” page should include the following elements:

  • Profiles of model projects.Selected projects should be publicized, with the goals, objectives, and outcomes of each project outlined, along with contact information for the participants. Links should be provided to websites of funding agencies where cooperative audio preservation projects are listed or profiled.14
  • Sample partnership agreements representing a range of possible relationships.Two of the most common types of partnerships fall under the parameters outlined in the following scenarios. In each, the right of the receiving institution to digitize, retain digitized copies, and provide public access to digitized copies within the limits of the law would be permanent and irrevocable.

    1.    The donor gives a collection to a public or nonprofit institution with an agreement that allows the receiving institution to digitize the collection for both preservation and public access purposes. Donors retain any intellectual property rights that they may own and the right to commercially exploit the collection; however, they allow the receiving institution-the archival partner-to provide public access to the collection in any manner that the law allows. Donors have permanent access to digital copies in the archive and the right to commission digitization of additional recordings in the collection at agreed upon costs.

    2.    The donor and the archival partner agree to the donation of digital surrogates of the physical collection, which the donor continues to own. In this case, the donor agrees that the receiving institution can retain digital copies permanently for the purposes of preservation and public access, and the archive agrees to provide the donor with copies of the digital files upon request.

  • Profiles of model joint agreements for related preservation and conservation concerns.Participants in hearings conducted by the National Recording Preservation Board suggested that archives might jointly purchase supplies (e.g., record sleeves, boxes, tape reels) in bulk quantities to lower unit costs (CLIR and Library of Congress 2010, 88). Certain types of supplies, such as tape reels, may no longer be commercially available in the near future. Collaborative efforts may become essential if collection managers are to acquire molds and manufacturing components for soon-to-be obsolete supplies and equipment. Organizations such as ARSC and MLA should facilitate the creation of such agreements for individual and institutional members.

New Tools and Guidelines for Preserving
Digital Audio Files

Many different types of organizations and individuals produce digital audio, including those who are involved in preservation work and those who create born-digital content. These stakeholders represent a wide range of organizational capacities and staffing, and they employ various production methodologies. Managing these diverse collections requires expertise in analog playback, digitization, collection of metadata, and administration of the IT infrastructure necessary to create, manage, and preserve digital files. Although standards and best practices already are in place to guide much of the work involved in audio preservation, collection managers may not have the expertise and resources to develop workflows appropriate to their operations. In addition, the arrival of new types of digital audio files and the fast pace of IT development have introduced complexities into the preservation effort that will require special attention to ensure effective long-term management. The four recommendations that follow suggest tools, models, and guidelines that should be developed to assist technicians and managers in meeting a variety of challenges associated with digital preservation.

Recommendation 2.4:
Preservation Workflows for Audio Materials

Develop tools, practical implementation models, best practices, and high-efficiency workflows for digitizing analog recordings.

No single implementation plan can meet the needs of all organizations responsible for preserving audio materials. Essential core principles of preservation nevertheless should be codified into a set of best practices, accompanied by a variety of models and workflows that can inform and guide a wide range of digital audio creators and groups committed to preservation.

Research and development vetted by organizations such as ARSC, AES, and the Library of Congress is particularly needed in the following areas:

  • Implementation models that organizations can use to meet audio preservation standards and best practices for creating preservation-quality digital files.A variety of workflows and implementation models must be created to serve the needs of different kinds of organizations and individuals that collect sound recordings. Workflows, in particular, are highly individual and variable-specific to the holdings, experience, technical knowledge, and the resources of an organization. Rather than a rigid set of guidelines, a set of core standards and best practices should be developed, along with a number of models for implementing them. These models can serve as the basis for organization-specific implementations that take a systems view of audio preservation operations. That is, they must address each component and function of the system, which may include selection for preservation, analog playback, analog-to-digital conversion, creation of preservation-quality digital files, collection of metadata, verification of data integrity, and administration of IT systems.
  • Best practices for high-efficiency parallel transfer workflows for the simultaneous reformatting of multiple recordings in various formats.Parallel transfer workflows are desirable because of the overwhelming number of audio recordings in need of preservation, the ongoing degradation of many audio recordings, and the ever-growing obsolescence of all analog and physical digital audio formats. Although parallel transfer workflows are widely used, best practices in this area have not yet been defined. Further research is necessary to determine, for example, which recordings are most appropriate for this procedure, and how the inherent risks can be reduced. This work will inform the development of implementation models that guide safe, high-quality work. The development and adoption of best practices also will assist organizations seeking funding for preservation projects that employ parallel transfers and other high-efficiency workflows by assuring funding agencies that the methodology is sound.
  • Improved tools and metrics for system performance testing.The systems used in the reformatting of content from legacy audio media to file-based formats must be subjected to tests that measure performance and adherence to standards and recommended practices.15 These systems include the analog-to-digital (A/D) converters, the signal path from the converter to the digital audio workstation (DAW), and the file-making and file-storage elements within the workstation. To serve workers in archives large and small (few of whom are engineers), affordable, user-friendly tools are urgently needed to measure the various aspects of performance within these systems and workflows. Examples include tools for measuring the performance of the audio-to-digital converter and tools for monitoring digital data management and file-writing integrity.16

    The best tools for the conversion of analog sound recording to digital include A/D converters and DAWs (with supporting software), virtually all of which come from the commercial marketplace. In addition, many archives turn to specialist vendors to reformat their historical materials, and they will require reassurance that the vendor adheres to mutually agreed-upon guidelines and standards, as well as best practices. In both scenarios, archives need to know that the systems in use are capable of meeting standards and recommended guidelines, and that their performance is consistent over time. This means that there is a need for a list of performance elements, the determination of pass/fail points for each element, a method to measure against the pass/fail requirement, and easy-to-use tools to do the measuring. Performance metrics also should include methods of monitoring, testing, and verifying a vendor’s services.17

Recommendation 2.5:
Metadata Standards for Digital Audio Files

Develop recommendations for metadata guidelines and best practices related to digital audio files that incorporate established standards and maximize interoperability.

Metadata, or data that describe data, is “a necessity in any digital storage and preservation environment,” according to IASA’s authoritative Guidelines on the Production and Preservation of Digital Audio Objects.18 Data about digital files are needed to efficiently document, locate, access, and manage files. The record that indicates where a file resides, what it contains, who created it, how to play it back, and much more may be contained in metadata related to a digital audio file. Metadata can be used to search files, sort them, select files for preservation, guide their transfer and distribution, keep track of ownership and rights, document different versions or components of an audio recording, and assist in the reconstruction of multitrack recordings when the software used to create them is not available.19

The preservation of digital audio content depends on the metadata that an organization maintains in a database and the metadata that is embedded in individual files and/or digital packages (groups of related files). Without appropriate descriptive, administrative, and technical metadata, files and packages are not interpretable, manageable, or accessible. Technical metadata that allows a file’s provenance to be tracked must be added throughout the production process as audio content is created, and is required when recordings are digitally reformatted. There also is a need for a best practice for the management of multitrack recordings in a digital file environment.

Currently there are no standards, guidelines, or models that effectively meet the needs of the wide range of stakeholders that strive to produce preservation-quality digital audio files. No single set of metadata guidelines can apply to all organizations because of differences in data types, workflows, staffing, and capacities, as well as different end product needs of key communities.20

The following steps are recommended to improve the collection and management of metadata:

  • Develop metadata guidelines to meet the needs of the various communities engaged in the creation and preservation of digital audio.Sustainable metadata guidelines and effective workflows must be developed to support standardization and digital file preservation for all classes of stakeholders: archives and libraries, whose mission is to collect and preserve content; large-scale creators of content, such as broadcasters and major record companies; and small-scale creators of content, such as podcasters, independent artists, oral historians, linguists, and journalists/interviewers. A collaborative approach (perhaps involving work groups formed by AES, NARAS, IASA, and ARSC) will be required to assess the specific needs of these various constituencies. In the interest of widespread adoption, types of guidelines should be distinguished as (1) basic “core” metadata for all stakeholders, (2) additional recommended metadata for specific sets of stakeholders, and (3) optional metadata specific to individual organizations.
  • Standardize metadata elements to maximize interoperability and efficiency.Metadata needs vary. Even so, significant differences in metadata elements inhibit interoperability and the transfer or sharing of digital objects. High degrees of variability can prevent the development of economies of scale in storage and data management. Guidelines should minimize variation in order to maximize interoperability and overall cost-efficiency. Whenever possible, guidelines should incorporate one or more of the established metadata standards, which could be refined as needed to increase their level of adoption.21
  • Advocate for the implementation of standardized metadata schemas in commercially available and open source software.Most digital audio workstations offer some ability to create, read, and edit metadata; however, cross-system compatibility is weak, and subsets of metadata vary depending on the platform. Standards have been proposed, but few software developers and systems manufacturers have adopted them. As a result, many archivists have developed their own proprietary approach to storing metadata for their audio collections. Interested organizations, such as AES, ARSC, and NARAS, should identify advocates (e.g., trade groups) capable of encouraging hardware and software developers to adopt standard metadata schemas that are cross-platform compatible and enduring. Tools that adhere to standards and best practices will better enable content creators to take on the implicit responsibility and role of curator of their born-digital audio content.

Recommendation 2.6:
Tools to Support Preservation throughout the
Content Life Cycle

Encourage the development of tools that support adherence to standards and best practices in the creation of sound recordings and in the management of their preservation.

In the digital realm, audio preservation activities depend on numerous software applications. Some of these come into play early in the content life cycle, when sound recordings are originally produced or when they are reformatted or transcoded in an archive to create the master files intended for long-term management. Others are employed later in the life cycle when integrated repository systems carry out that long-term management. Throughout the life cycle, there are central or core software packages. At the early, creation phase, these software packages include the audio workstation’s operating system and the digital audio application where files are produced. Later in the life cycle, there is a core repository application with web-based services and application programming interfaces (APIs), where long-term data management takes place. There is an advantage-and cost saving to archives, both commercial and noncommercial-if the initial creation of a work is “born-archival”; that is, if it is in a format (including metadata) that can be ingested and managed “as is.” (See Recommendation 2.7.)

Beyond these core systems, workflows throughout the content life cycle will benefit from an array of supporting services and applications. For example, when audio files are created, preservation success will be ensured by the use of tools to validate that a given file meets appropriate standards and specifications, to enhance the metadata embedded in or associated with the file, and to establish an initial checksum (hash value) for the file, which then can be used to verify the file’s integrity throughout its life. In the data management segment of the life cycle, adjunct software tools can also help custodians continue to verify file integrity, further enhance metadata, and carry out other processes that ensure the success of preservation over time.

Many core software packages are commercial products, although a few open source tools, like Fedora, have found a place in digital preservation systems. There is, however, a need for a richer set of audio preservation software to play synergistic roles in relation to the core systems. Because the market for such tools is limited, commercial packages may not emerge to fill this need.

Open source development, therefore, should be encouraged. As investment is required to develop software, the audio preservation community should support the development of needed open source tools. A collaborative effort is required to identify areas of greatest need and to garner funding and support to develop the tools necessary in those areas.

Examples of software that would serve the audio preservation community well include tools for the following purposes:

  • Creation, extraction, and insertion of metadata into audio files and the mutual exchange of that metadata with associated database or collection management systems
  • Conversion of proprietary EDL (edit decision list) formats of the most commonly used DAW platforms to a standardized format
  • Creation of integrity data when files are created or ingested into a repository so that the data can be used to monitor the condition and integrity of stored files
  • Automated systems for file management, creation of derivatives, and dissemination of assets
  • Migration of digital assets throughout their life cycle as technology and formats become obsolete

Recommendation 2.7:
Best Practices for Creating and Preserving Born-Digital Audio Files

Research, develop, and promote improved and scalable processes to package multipart and metadata-rich digital audio objects, and to develop (and update) practices for the transformation and management of these objects when they are archived for the long term. Define preferred formats (including metadata) in order to maximize the initial creation of born-archival files by those who produce sound recordings, or develop recommendations for preferred file formats, embedded and/or associated metadata, and object packaging.

Some newly created digital sound files present a number of preservation issues because of their formatting. For example, surround-sound or multitrack files may involve compression or structures that will benefit from transformation, decoding, or repackaging for long-term storage when ingested by an archive. Files from music composers may mix waveform data (including samples) with structured-audio elements (e.g., Musical Instrument Digital Interface [MIDI] data) that will demand special management over time. New recordings often include visual elements, ranging from camera-produced video to graphic-based animations, and these also require special management. For long-term management of these types of files, best practices must take into account their specific characteristics and functions.

The term born-archival refers to the creation of digital files that can be archived immediately; they are formatted for archiving, and all necessary metadata is created at the time of file creations. The set of best practices for managing born-digital files can be articulated in ways that also provide guidance to content creators.22

Born-digital and born-archival practices have multiple stakeholders, including the National Recording Preservation Board. Other stakeholders include archives, both commercial and noncommercial, and the organizations in which they are active, ranging from AES to ARSC. Additional stakeholder groups include the Producers & Engineers Wing of NARAS; the Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative; and funding agencies, including federal entities (e.g., the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Humanities) and interested independent foundations. Commercial interest in this topic extends beyond the archives, as digital sound recordings are the central asset at record labels and other publishers of music and spoken word recordings; for these organizations, the preservation of these assets is essential to the companies’ long-term financial success. The development of practice recommendations should entail consultation with several of these stakeholders. One of several vehicles for promulgating recommendations will be through statements of preferred digital formats and metadata to be submitted for copyright eDeposit-that is, copyright deposits of materials published only in electronic format (see also Recommendation 4.3).


8 See, for example, IASA 2005 and IASA 2009.

9 The term appraisal in an archival context applies to the life cycle of audio recordings. Appraisals are undertaken to aid in the following areas: selecting items for acquisition and retention; establishing preservation priorities; determining the intellectual control of materials by gathering information on the physical description, content, provenance, etc.; providing access to users that complies with privacy rights, intellectual property rights, and other considerations; and protecting the collection by minimizing physical damage to the original materials.

10 Indiana University recently completed the first university-wide media preservation survey, which identified 560,000 audio, video, and film objects on the Bloomington campus alone. As part of the survey, Indiana University queried other Big Ten universities about media holdings and was able to obtain an estimate of 1.5 million audio objects across all 11 universities. At present, only one of these universities is conducting a similar campus-wide survey. See

11 See, for example: Indiana University and Harvard University’s Field Audio Collection Evaluation Tool (FACET) at; Columbia University’s Audio Video Database (AVDb) at; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Audio-Visual Self-Assessment Program (AVSAP) at; and New York University’s Visual & Playback Inspection Ratings System (ViPIRS) at

12 See Institute of Museum and Library Services ( and the National Endowment for the Humanities America’s Historical and Cultural Organizations grants programs (

13 The Recorded Sound Preservation Access Network (described in Recommendation 3.8) exemplifies a plan for a public-private partnership that would reduce redundancy and release funds for the preservation of materials not held at multiple archives.

14 For an example of a model project, see National Jukebox: Historical Recordings from the Library of Congress at

15 See International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives 2009 (IASA-TC 04) and Audio Engineering Society 2009 (AES17-1998 [r2009]).

16 See Federal Agencies Audio Visual Digitization Working Group 2011.

17 Analog-to-digital performance guidelines are specified in Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative (FADGI) 2012a and 2012b.

18 See International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives 2009 (IASA-TC 04), chapter 3. IASA’s definition of metadata is as follows: “Metadata is structured data that provides intelligence in support of more efficient operations on resources, such as preservation, reformatting, analysis, discovery and use. It operates at its best in a networked environment, but is still a necessity in any digital storage and preservation environment. Metadata instructs end-users (people and computerised programmes) about how the data are to be interpreted.”

19 Contemporary multitrack recordings often rely on the software used in their creation for their assembly into a larger multitrack work. Metadata, such as embedded file names and time stamps, can be used in the reconstruction of a multitrack recording without the original creation software.

20 The Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative (FADGI), convened by the Library of Congress National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, has established an Audio Visual Working Group. The stated goal of the group is “to identify, establish, and disseminate information about standards and practices for the digital reformatting of historical and cultural audio-visual materials by federal agencies.” The group has commissioned a number of studies and created guidelines for embedding metadata in Broadcast WAVE files. The initiative may be a model for future collaborations. Benefits from work that the initiative has already accomplished need not be restricted to federal programs. See

21 A number of standards have already been established and, in some cases, implemented. Three examples from the European Broadcast Union add “chunks” that may be embedded in files in the WAVE format: the bext (Broadcast Extension) chunk, the aXML chunk, and the iXML chunk. Other standardized metadata formats specific to sound recordings include emerging AES specifications X098B for audio objects and X098C for process (“how produced”) metadata. Other generic digital content specifications are also relevant: METS, MODS, XMP, etc.

22 The Digital Dilemma reports from the Science and Technology Council of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (2007 and 2012) provide analytic and descriptive work on born-archival moving image content. The definition of born-archival used here is derived from wording in The Digital Dilemma 2.

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