Fourth in a series of blog posts
exploring recommendations of the new National Recording Preservation Plan of
the Library of Congress, which touches not only on radio but on audio in
general and its place in our cultural history.
Recording Preservation Plan includes recommendations that focus on preserving
digital audio files, both those converted from analog as well as those “born digital.”
“Born-digital audio is
increasingly woven into the fabric of day-to-day information creation and
exchange,” the authors stated.
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.” Further, digital audio files have become the accepted
preservation format for legacy analog recordings, yet raise problems of
documentation, storage and IT responsibilities.
report suggested four steps (recommendations 2.4 to 2.7) to assist technicians
and managers in digital audio file preservation. Quoting directly here:
-Preservation Workflows for
Audio Materials — Develop tools, practical implementation
models, best practices and high-efficiency workflows for digitizing analog recordings.
-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
-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 recordingsand in the management of their preservation.
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.
A separate set of recommendations in the “blueprint” section of the report deals
The details of the above make for dry reading (involving implementation models, public/private
partnerships, best practices, standardized metadata schemas and so forth); but
the overall message is clear: Failure
to meet the preservation challenge “will place our nation’s audio cultural
heritage at further risk.”
Radio stations, as content
creators and guardians of a lot of recorded content, have a stake.
Read the report (PDF).