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AES Inside Track

Each month an industry expert highlights a topic of importance to the AES community.
Listen, Learn, and Connect with advances in technology and best practices in audio.

Archiving, Restoration and Digital Libraries

Archiving audio media is much more than indexing items and putting them on a shelf. It is about safeguarding our audible heritage, preserving the sound recordings of the centuries for the future and making them accessible.

An archive has to ensure sustainable access to information. One of the essential challenges is preservation of the stability and optimal readability of the sound carrier bearing the information. A wide knowledge about the physics and chemistry of sound carriers, the materials in use, their long-time storage requirements and possible signs of damage is necessary to achieve this in the best way.

Since the early days of sound recording, technology has changed in many ways. As sound recordings are depending on dedicated playback equipment to retrieve the information, it is necessary to provide expertise in the history of recording technology and procedures, the replay equipment and its handling, alignment and modification. There are also issues related to playback and format migration, such as from the analog into the digital domain.

It’s important to ensure adequate transfer of the information to other sustainable and accessible formats. This process is nowadays well known as digitization, bearing the challenge of transcoding all media content, as well as related information such as metadata in a proper way. This means managing file-based digital data in a sustainable way, so that access, documentation and authenticity can be enabled and preserved in the long term.

Audio archiving, therefore, is the interface between past, present and future, and there is a long list of publications, standards and guidelines that have been developed to assure state-of-the-art procedures.

Nadja Wallaszkovits

Curator: Nadja Wallaszkovits

Nadja is Program Co-Chair of the 2018 AES International Conference on Audio Archiving, Preservation and Restoration, which will take place from June 28-30 2018 in the United States Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center, Culpeper, VA, USA. Her research background  is musicology and audio engineering. She manages the audio department of the Phonogrammarchiv of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, where she is responsible for audio restoration, archiving and rerecording of historical and recent formats.

Nadja is AES President Elect and co-chairs AES Technical Committee on Archiving Restoration and Digital Libraries. She is also active in IASA (International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives) Technical and Training and Education Committees.

Archiving, Restoration, and Digital Library Resources

AES Standards

Analogue media

CD-R and optical media

File formats and metadata

Standards-related publications

AES Journal Spotlight Interview

As another feature of Inside Track we’re piloting a video interview hosted by Francis Rumsey, Consultant Editor and Technical Writer for the AES Journal. You’ll have the chance to hear one of our recent authors talk about their research in an accessible way, find out what they did, why they did it, and why it’s important. We’ll look forward to finding out how these are received.

This month Francis talks to James Woodcock about his paper on mixing of object based immersive audio, published in the January/February AES Journal.


AES - Audio Engineering Society