Friday, January 28, 2005

That's not necessarily the sound of silence

I spent this morning placing markers and regions, editing out tape machine noises, and adding silences in Sound Forge. It's important for our listening copies (ATLs, are what we call them) to edit out tape noises made by older preservation master copies (like EC10's=Earliest Copies, 10 inches). Earliest copies were made on magenetic reels years ago by archivists to preserve decaying and fragile original master copies of recordings, or if the collector has only donated a copy). If it's originally in the recording, we leave it, because that gives future researchers context as to what the collector was doing.

I also learned that digital silence is different from analog silence. Digital silence is always at the 0 level, and has a much lower noise floor than analog silence. Therefore, as we add silences between items on our ATLs and throughout items that are not continuous recordings, it is important to place the right type of silence so it won't jostle the researcher who's listening to the access copy.

Unfortunately, that one exercise took me all morning. I started to make announcements, but then realized that I did the wrong one. Oh well. I'll start again on Tuesday morning.

Good news from Mike--The ATM's project with Harvard is now public. It's called Sound Directions and is being funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities. I'm sure I'll be learning more about this project this semester, as soon as I get up to speed with training. (I'm on module 4 of 6).

According to the website, the Project hopes to have the following outcomes:

a) Develop best practices and test emerging standards for archival audio preservation and storage in the digital domain and report our findings back, in detail, to the field;

b) Establish, at each university, programs for digital audio preservation that will enable us to continue this work into the future, and which will produce interoperable results;

c) In the process, preserve critically endangered, highly valuable, unique field recordings of extraordinary national interest.

I'm having more thoughts about the report too, but I've been busy running back and forth from the ATM, to the bank, to WIUS, and then to WFIU. It's a busy Friday afternoon. The Archives have their monthly lecture and concert series, and January's featured a talk by Sue Tuohy about Chinese film and the representation of musicians and actors in movies. It's amazing to learn that China started to make movies only 10 years after Europe and the U.S. had the technology.


At Fri Feb 11, 09:19:00 AM, Anonymous jake said...

Hi Thom,

Just wanted to say how much I've been enjoying your blog. This post reminded me of something I've been doing with my GA, retouching images. We have a parallel problem with digital white and black. We need the pure digital color for print purposes, but for screen reading and fidelity we want something more like analog back and white.


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