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Politics and History at the Crossroads of Audio Preservation at Columbia University

Ithaca, NY The sounds of history—how  the imperfections in an old recording indicate the processes and materials that were used to make it, how the inflection of a voice can communicate more than the written word, how background noises contribute to understanding social context—are key factors for scholars who seek a deeper understanding of history and culture.  Using METS and Fedora DuraSpace gold sponsor Columbia University Libraries developed a standards-compliant audio preservation infrastructure to preserve a deteriorating collection of 820 historically significant reel-to-reel and cassette recordings.
"Among the recordings are oral histories of politically and socially active figures such as Nikita Khrushchev, Walter Lippmann, George Meaney, Clarence Mitchell, Nelson Rockefeller, Gloria Steinem, Robert F. Wagner; historians and literary figures such as James Baldwin, Jacques Barzun, Isaiah Berlin, William Buckley, Robert Heilbronner, Irving Howe, Anita Loos, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Isaac Bashevis Singer, C. Vann Woodward; and members of the arts and entertainment community such as Judith Anderson, Gene Autry, Frank Capra, Joseph Cotton, Joel McCrea, Otto Preminger, Richard Rogers, Virgil Thomson, Mies van der Rohe, King Vidor."

At the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) Fall 2011 Membership Meeting Janet Gertz and Stephen Paul Davis from Columbia University discussed building a workflow, assigning metadata and preserving audio files in their Fedora repository. Check the CNI web site for slides from this presentation.