EDITORIAL: Saving the sounds of history [Daily Times-Call, Longmont, Colo.]
(Daily Times-Call (Longmont, CO) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 04--More than a decade into the 21st century, it sometimes seems all video and music ever made must be available online.
Sadly, that's not the case.
The Library of Congress recently reported that 80 percent of motion pictures filmed before 1930 and countless audio recordings from that era have been lost.
Fires at recording studios have destroyed masters, radio archives have been lost, Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy have destroyed the personal collections of recording artists, and the whereabouts of a recording made by the crew of the Enola Gay from inside the plane as the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima are unknown, Library of Congress officials have said.
Recordings made by George Gershwin, Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland are among the works known to be lost.
But the library has begun to work to preserve what films and recordings have survived.
Last month, it unveiled "The Library of Congress National Recording Preservation Plan," with a goal of saving America's recorded sound heritage for future generations.
Its efforts include coordinating with other libraries and agencies that hold old recordings, and working with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, to develop new technology to create high-resolution digital scans of the earliest wax cylinder recordings. That new technology has already been used to play some of Alexander Graham Bell's first sound recordings.
The nonprofit National Recording Preservation Foundation is being set up to eventually award grants to small- and medium-size archives that need funding for audio preservation work.
From the Library of Congress to small community libraries and museums that hold recordings of historic interest, there's much that deserves to be preserved.
These efforts will be appreciated by generations to come.
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