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Guidelines: Imaged Audio Content

In 2023, the Library of Congress is beginning an exploratory project with the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) and other potential partners to develop Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative (FADGI) specifications and guidelines for imaged audio content. This project will primarily focus on IRENE (Image, Reconstruct, Erase Noise, Etc.) technology, which involves non-contact optical scanning of original artifacts such as wax cylinders and lacquer discs. The output of this digitization process is a complex package of potentially changeable content which may include high-resolution 2D or 3D image files of the audio carrier, primary and access audio files, log and data files about processing and system settings as well as other files. This package allows researchers to listen and discover audio content without damaging the original physical artifacts.

While there are currently a limited number of IRENE devices in use, each of them produces a significant amount of output materials that are widely distributed within the digital preservation community making this an impactful project for the joint FADGI Still Images and AudioVisual working groups.

Project Goals

This project seeks to define, for the digital preservation community, standard output packages for imaged audio created by non-contact scanning. FADGI will, where possible, map to existing standards and specifications and where gaps exist, FADGI will develop guidelines to fill those gaps.

Draft Workplan

In order to meet this goal, project stakeholders will focus on the questions and areas for exploration listed below.

  • Identify the user community for imaged audio products. This includes current IRENE practitioners (such as the LC, NEDCC) and other organizations with collections materials that are suited for digitization using non-contact scanning.
  • Identify and describe the components of the non-contact scanning imaged audio package.
  • Document the scope of what non-contact scanning technology can and cannot produce.
  • Identify information from existing FADGI guidelines and other standards, specifications, and guidelines (such as those developed by the Audio Engineering Society, Association for Recorded Sound Collections, and International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives and more) that is applicable to imaged audio digitization.
  • Codify potential output packages for specific use cases for non-contact scanning (such as from a wax cylinder, aluminum transcription discs, shellac discs and more).

This page will be updated as the work progresses. Comments are always welcome via the FADGI Comment Form or by email to [email protected].

Subgroup Members

  • Peter Alyea, Library of Congress/Preservation
  • Hannah Rose Baker, Northeast Document Conservation Center
  • Hana Beckerly, Library of Congress/FADGI
  • Patrick Breen, Library of Congress
  • Frank Cunningham, Northeast Document Conservation Center
  • Rob Friedrich, Library of Congress/National Audio Visual Conservation Center
  • Fenella France, Library of Congress/Preservation
  • Julia Hawkins, Northeast Document Conservation Center
  • Bryan Hoffa, Library of Congress/National Audio Visual Conservation Center
  • Charles Hosale, Library of Congress/American Folklife Center
  • Kate Murray, Library of Congress/FADGI
  • Tom Rieger, Library of Congress/FADGI
  • Bryce Roe, Northeast Document Conservation Center
  • Melissa Widzinski, Library of Congress/National Audio Visual Conservation Center

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Working Groups

Still Image Working Group
This group is involved in a cooperative effort to develop common digitization guidelines for still image materials.

Audio-Visual Working Group
This group works collaboratively on common and sustainable technical guidelines, methods, and practices for digitized and born digital sound recordings and moving images.

Last Updated: 01/24/2023