Preservation of Recorded Sound: Methods, Issues, and the Question of Authenticity

Hannah Monkman


This paper discusses methods and issues related to preserving recorded sound in archives and libraries. The first half of this paper will review current preservation methods and concerns for sound recorded on cylinders, grooved discs, magnetic media, optical discs, and digital media. Issues of preservation in practice, digitization as a method of reformatting recorded sound for preservation, and maintaining the authenticity of these reformatted materials in archival contexts are ongoing concerns in archival study and practice. The second half of this paper will synthesize current scholarship regarding issues of preservation for audio material and examine if and how archivists can reconcile the need to preserve the information itself and the importance of preserving the authenticity of the records in archival practice. 

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