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Saturday, June 2 • 12:00pm - 12:15pm
(Electronic Media) Getting It On Record: Stabilization, Enhanced Imaging, and Documentation of Archival Instantaneous Audio Discs

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This case study presents some of the new ways conservation documentation images can serve multiple functions outside of direct treatment. For example, the enhanced images can provide data for archival description and cataloging, create an augmented research experience when paired with digitized content, and serve as a visual lexicon for material deficiencies and condition issues prevalent among instantaneous discs. In 1987, the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage at the Smithsonian Institution acquired over 4,000 unique audio discs as part of its acquisition of the New York-based label Folkways Records & Service Corporation. These archival recordings represent a sizable cross section of the early- to mid-20th-century recordable discs distributed and used throughout the United States.
Nearly 70 years after their creation, many of the recordings display a range of condition issues not uncommon to the medium including physical damage, delamination, plasticizer leakage, warping, crazing, and evidence of biological growth. In 2017, media conservators and technicians conducted conservation documentation and rehousing to assess, stabilize, and identify treatment priorities for each disc. Their documentation provided archivists with a framework for establishing holistic treatment plans and preservation digitization priorities. As part of this project, high-resolution digital images were created using efficient workflows to provide enhanced views of each disc to highlight their condition and document unique surface features such as etched-in song titles, performer names, matrix numbers, and intentional groove destruction. In addition, it will explore practical housing and storage strategies, including custom solutions for severely deteriorated and broken instantaneous discs. This presentation will be of particular interest to time-based media conservators, preservation specialists, archivists, and other cultural heritage professionals working with legacy recorded sound media.

avatar for Dave Walker

Dave Walker

Audiovisual Archivist, Smithsonian Institution, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Dave Walker serves as Audiovisual Archivist at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections and specializes in the conservation, preservation, and access to analog AV media.

Saturday June 2, 2018 12:00pm - 12:15pm MDT
Briargrove Meeting Room Marriott Marquis Houston