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The Role of the independent audio engineer in he National Recording Preservation Plan

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Title:
The Role of the independent audio engineer in he National Recording Preservation Plan
Creator:
Rome, Lynnae J.
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( Master of science)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
Department of Music and Entertainment Industry Studies, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Recording arts
Committee Chair:
Gaston-Bird, Leslie
Committee Members:
Bregitzer, Lorne
Skinas, Gus

Notes

Abstract:
This report explores the Library of Congress’ actions, including reports and recommendations made by the National Recording Preservation Board following the passage of the National Recording Preservation Act in 2000. The report calls attention to the audio preservation activities of private and non-profit organizations, which are a cause for national concern. Finally, a case study of the process and procedure of archiving a vintage, ½ inch reel-to-reel magnetic tape recording into a recommended digital format will be presented. This will serve as a demonstration for how the independent audio engineer, though consulting published guides on audio preservation, may contribute to this important work.
General Note:
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Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
Copyright Lynnae J. Rome. Permission granted to University of Colorado Denver to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.

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Full Text
THE ROLE OF THE INDEPENDENT AUDIO ENGINEER IN THE NATIONAL
RECORDING PRESERVATION PLAN by
LYNNAE J. ROME
B.A., University of Colorado at Boulder, 1995
A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Recording Arts Program
2018


©2018
LYNNAE J. ROME
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


This thesis for the Master of Science degree by Lynnae J. Rome has been approved for the Recording Arts Program
by
Leslie Gaston-Bird, Chair Lome Bregitzer Gus Skinas
Date: May 12, 2018


Rome, Lynnae J. (M.S., Recording Arts Program)
The Role of the Independent Audio Engineer in the National Recording Preservation Plan
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Leslie Gaston-Bird
ABSTRACT
This report explores the Library of Congress’ actions, including reports and recommendations made by the National Recording Preservation Board following the passage of the National Recording Preservation Act in 2000. The report calls attention to the audio preservation activities of private and non-profit organizations, which are a cause for national concern. Finally, a case study of the process and procedure of archiving a vintage, 1/2 inch reel-to-reel magnetic tape recording into a recommended digital format will be presented. This will serve as a demonstration for how the independent audio engineer, though consulting published guides on audio preservation, may contribute to this important work.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved by: Leslie Gaston-Bird
IV


DEDICATION
I dedicate this work to my husband, Steven Cleveland. Without his efforts in making homemade pizza, I would not have eaten today.
v


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I would like to thank Kevin Clock, mentor and friend, for participating in this project and making it happen no matter what, as you do. I wish to recognize the MEIS faculty, particularly Leslie Gaston-Bird, David Bondelevitch, Lome Bregitzer, Jeff Merkel and Pete Buchwald for their encouragement and guidance throughout my studies. I extend my appreciation to Gus Skinas for participating on the committee for this study. I also extend my thanks to fellow members of the Colorado Section of the Audio Engineering Society, especially Doug Greenlee and Tim Gulsrud who never turn down a chance to talk shop.
VI


TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION................................................................1
History.....................................................................1
National Recording Preservation Act.........................................1
National Recording Preservation Registry.................................2
National Recording Preservation Board....................................3
National Recording Preservation Foundation...............................3
National Recording Preservation Plan........................................4
Plan Overview............................................................5
Achievements to Date.....................................................5
Limitations..............................................................5
Opportunities for Independent Audio Engineers...............................6
Audio Preservation Education Programs....................................7
Diversity of Source Media................................................8
Grant Funding...........................................................10
II. METHODS....................................................................12
Purpose of the Study......................................................12
Overview...................................................................12
1/2 Inch Reel-to-Reel Magnetic Tape to Digital.............................13
Signs of Degradation....................................................13
Mitigation..............................................................18
vii


Challenges
21
Archiving Procedure................................................24
Objective........................................................24
Guidelines.......................................................25
Process..........................................................28
III. RESULTS...........................................................46
IV. CONCLUSION........................................................48
Additional Considerations..........................................49
Final Thoughts.....................................................50
REFERENCES.............................................................53
viii


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
History
In 2000, the United States Congress passed the National Recording Preservation Act directing the Librarian of Congress to establish a plan to archive the nation’s recorded sound history and make recommendations for cooperation between all stakeholders of this national treasure. It took thirteen years and the help of a donation from musician Jack White to finally establish the National Recording Preservation Foundation, which aims to begin enacting the preservation plan. The challenges in preserving these treasured recordings are numerous, including the sheer number of recordings that require archiving, the limited number of qualified personnel, the acute need to rapidly complete the preservation process due to deteriorating media, technical considerations and lack of best practices, copyright barriers, and limited funding.
National Recording Preservation Act
There were several Congressional mandates in the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, including the establishment of the following:
• National Recording Registry
• National Recording Preservation Board
• National Recording Preservation Foundation
The purpose, as stated by the act, was to “to establish the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress to maintain and preserve sound recordings that are culturally,
1


historically, or aesthetically significant, and for other purposes” (United States. Cong. House. H.R. 4846, 2000, p.1). Although there have been useful studies with regard to the scope of audio collections in need of archiving and the medium on which the recordings exist, significant results of this conservation project are yet to be delivered.
In May of 2015, the ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation was published. This guide was commissioned for and sponsored by the National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB) and co-published by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC), the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and the Library of Congress (LOC). Additionally, several professional organizations and experts in the field have published publically accessible preservation guidelines, as well as white papers and journal articles that are accessible though membership or subscriptions. As of this writing, the public awaits a singular, definitive international standards and best practices manual for migrating and archiving recorded works.
National Recording Preservation Registry
The registry that was mandated by the National Recording Preservation Act has been active since 2002. The Preservation Board has been tasked with choosing and preserving audio recordings that are culturally, historically or aesthetically significant (United States. Cong. House. H.R.4846). Each year, beginning in 2002, the board has selected 25 recordings to be archived and included in the registry. The selections are eligible for inclusion based on 1) Librarian’s criteria and 2) having been created at least ten years prior to its inclusion. The 2012 registry included the titles "A Program of Song" (album) Leontyne Price (1959); "The Dark Side of the Moon" (album) Pink Floyd (1973);
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and "Music Time in Africa: Mauritania" Leo Sarkisian, host (July 29, 1973). The Registry aims to provide a collection of significant works that are available to the public, but is certainly not comprehensive. The complete registry can be accessed at the Library of Congress Website https://www.loc.gov/programs/national-recording-preservation-board/recording-registry/complete-national-recording-registry-listing/. It is estimated that there are 46 million works in libraries and public archives with 44 percent of those works being reported in “unknown condition” (Bamberger & Brylawski, 2010). National Recording Preservation Board
The board consists of qualified members of seventeen organizations including performance rights organizations, the Music Library Association, the Audio Engineering Society, the Digital Media Association and other stakeholders and experts in recorded sound. The board is designated to meet a minimum of one time annually. The terms and responsibilities of the board are outlined in the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000.
National Recording Preservation Foundation
The foundation was also mandated and provides funding for private collectors, libraries and commercial entities that do not have the resources to preserve their collections. Its mission is to “support archives, libraries, cultural institutions and others committed to preserving America’s radio, music and recorded sound heritage.” The foundation has established a website at www.recordingpreservation.org that acts as an aggregator for both technical guides and links to audio archives that are available for public consumption.
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National Recording Preservation Plan
The Council in Library and Information Resources and Library of Congress published The Library of Congress National Recording Preservation Plan in 2012. The plan is the follow-up to the 2010 National Recording Preservation Board document, The State of Recorded Sound Preservation in the United States: A National Legacy at Risk in the Digital Age. The plan outlines 32 recommendations for short and long-term preservation. The plan requires participation from the public and private sector, inviting expertise and contribution from all stakeholders. The topics of concern in the plan are preservation infrastructure, preservation strategies, public access to the archived recordings and long-term solutions. One notable detail of the 2012 National Recording Preservation Plan (p.19) is to:
Initiate a program to videotape interviews and demonstrations by senior audio engineers. To document recording practices used to capture sound from legacy media, lecture demonstrations by expert practitioners should be videotaped. They should cover older formats, playback techniques, and playback systems. The videos should be developed under the auspices of the Board and made available on the Audio Preservation Resource Directory as free podcasts or webcasts. Possible partners with the Board include ARSC and AES, as these organizations already have taken preliminary steps to address this issue by identifying and interviewing experts.
This would provide an invaluable resource for non-specialists in audio archiving by providing credible information and advice.
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Plan Overview
The Plan encompasses four main points of necessity.
1. The plan identifies the need to develop the infrastructure necessary including storage facilities, education, and research.
2. The second point is to develop a centralized strategy for preservation including practical tools and implementation models.
3. Third is providing public access to archives for educational purposes. This will include solving complications arising from copyright laws.
4. The last area of concern is long-term strategies. The Board will be central in this phase of the plan in providing strong leadership.
Achievements to Date
The National Recording Preservation Act of 2000 has resulted in the achievement of a few primary goals. The Registry, Board, and Foundation are in place. The Board has been instrumental in publishing several publications based on studies and roundtable discussions, including the ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation (2015). The $200 million dollar Packard Campus facility dedicated to audio-visual conservation was established in Culpeper, Virginia in 2007 (Nelson-Strauss et al., 2012). The ambitious video program has, unfortunately, not come to fruition as of this writing. Limitations
Implementing the goals of the National Recording Preservation Plan will continue to be a protracted process. The National Recording Preservation Board has been tasked with a colossal undertaking that requires funding, consensus among experts in
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the field, cooperation from large and small institutions, a highly specialized labor force, and time. Given that the National Recording Preservation Board is tasked to meet only annually, and took thirteen years to produce a plan for the future, it can be predicted that the full recommendations will fail to take hold until well into the future. The board has made an encouraging, while gradual, start. Unfortunately, this task requires increased urgency due to the physical formats and playback devices deteriorating rapidly over time, which could prevent the program content to be captured and migrated, and perhaps lost forever.
Opportunities for Independent Audio Engineers
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the job growth for sound engineering technicians between 2016 and 2026 is projected at 1,100 new jobs, or 6% growth (U.S. Department of Labor, 2018). New job opportunities in the field appear to be scarce for sound technicians, therefore the trained audio engineers may look to careers in which they are self-employed. The question remains as to what the incentive might be for a freelance audio engineer to participate in this preservation work. The work demands a high level of expertise; it is time-consuming and requires expensive materials and equipment with high operation costs. Playback equipment costs are often governed by the whims of the consumer market, as evidenced by the current inflated cost of reel-to-reel tape machines. Audiophiles are embracing reel-to-reel tape and are consequently snatching up vintage professional tape machines at a cost of $10,000.00 and up, inflating the cost of the machines due to high demand (Butterworth, 2017). In addition
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to this financial hurtle, the engineer must invest time and money into research, education and training.
When charging market rate for archiving work, the job may become cost prohibitive to many small and large collectors alike, and the engineer can easily lose a bid. Freelance audio engineers, non-specialists and small studios may quickly find the business of audio preservation to be an unsustainable business model. However, with the proper standards in place along with free access to guidelines and training, access to playback and recording hardware/software, and infrastructure, perhaps the independent engineer may offer an important contribution to the critical task of audio preservation and archiving. This would demand partnerships with public libraries, educational institutions and professional organizations. The freelance audio labor force may be an untapped resource within the National Recording Preservation Plan.
Audio Preservation Education Programs
A map to successfully archive recordings will include education for audio engineers. Highly skilled preservation engineers work throughout the U.S., but there remains no authoritative manual directing audio engineers on proper methods of preservation for each given format. A number of preservation guidelines that are accessible to the general public are very useful, but they are not comprehensive and do not replace the guidance offered by professionals in the field. The Library of Congress website that is dedicated to the National Recording Preservation Plan provides a list of university programs under Tools & Resources where only five university programs are listed. Given the scarcity and barriers to entry of related university programs, the field is
7


in need of profound solutions to disseminate the information and skills necessary to participate in audio preservation.
Diversity of Source Media
There is a tremendous diversity of source media among the items in need of digitizing and archiving. Many of the media types are obsolete, have deteriorated to the point that they are unplayable, or the playback machines are no longer functional.
Audio preservation experts have devised new ways of transferring this obsolete media. For example, it is advised in the ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation that rare or important wax cylinders are not played on historical equipment. Similarly, as Dictaphone belts become more brittle and present with creases, they cannot be played on historical equipment that bends them between two rollers, so modified playback devices are being used to replay the content (Chamoux, 2018).
Below is a table of vintage physical media, demonstrating the variety of some media utilized over time. This does not include modern digital media formats, which are also susceptible to damage and loss.
8


Table 1.1 Compiled table of audio recording media (Hess, 2006) (Library of Congress)
Media Type Era Used Notes
Brown Wax Cylinder 1888-1903
Dictaphone wax cylinder 1890-1945 rare and fragile
Large-spool magnetic wire recording 1898-1950
Small-spool magnetic wire recording 1898-1950
Metal Mother mastering disc 1900-1941
Molded and Amberol cylinders 1902-1912
Blue Amberol / US Everlasting, Indestructible cylinder 1912-1929
Vinylite "Unbreakable" Disc 1930-1955
Acetate-based Magnetic Tape 1935-1972/73 60 years
PVC-based Magnetic Tape [Polyvinyl chloride] 1944-1972 -
Gray Audograph, instantaneous disc 1945-1950
Paper-based Magnetic Tape 1947-1953 50-60 years
Dictaphone "Dictabelt" recording 1947-1970
Open Reel Magnetic Tape 1948-1980
Vinyl Disc 1949-present 100 years
PET-based Magnetic Tape [Polyethylene terephthalate] 1953-present -
Compact Cassette Tape 1963-present
Compact Disc 1982/83 - present
Digital Audio Tape (PVC) 1986/87-present very high-risk format
Recordable Compact Disc (CD-R) 1990-present
Alesis Digital Audio Tape or ADAT (PVC) 1991-present -
9


According to the 2010 report from the National Recording Preservation Board, 90% of the media in small collections are on cassette tapes (Bamberger & Brylawski, 2010). Cassette tapes were manufactured from 1962 - present, and are subject to the same deterioration that can be seen in reel-to-reel tapes. As they are polyester-based, loss of tape lubrication and binder hydrolysis, or sticky shed syndrome, can present in tapes that have been stored in heat or humidity. Due to their portable nature, the tapes are often subjected to excessive heat and debris, as they are often stored in cars.
Tapes in these climate conditions can become unplayable as well as damage the playback machine (Brylawski et al., 2015). Restoration presents a special challenge, as the thickness of the tapes makes them more fragile than reel-to-reel tapes and the proven damage mitigation techniques cannot be used on cassettes (Hess, 2006).
Grant Funding
Both public and private collections will require funding to archive their recordings. The 2010 report on the State of Recorded Sound examines the problems with funding and advocacy.
Funding and advocacy for recorded sound preservation is decentralized and inadequate. Recorded sound preservation has been declared a national objective; however, without greater support as a matter of public policy, this objective will not be realized (Bamberger & Brylawski, 2010, p. 4).
The report notes that the additional considerations of copyright ownership and legal access to the audio recordings complicate the matter of grant funding. Requests for
10


funding for recording preservation will compete with preservation of different media absent of this additional obstacle.
11


CHAPTER II
METHODS
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to ascertain the feasibility of an independent audio engineer to migrate an analog tape recording to a digital copy for the purpose of preserving the recorded content.
Overview
To conduct the study, a vintage 1/2 inch reel-to-reel tape was obtained from a private collector. The tape contains what is believed to be a second or third-generation transfer of an early Otis Redding recording session. Documentation indicates the content is a session of The Shooters from July 21, 1960 recorded at Gold Star Recording Studios. The original program content occupied a 14 inch reel-to-reel tape and was migrated as a mix to the 1/2 inch reel-to-reel tape in 1985.
Three best practices documents were consulted while migrating the recording, including Capturing Analog Sound for Digital Preservation: Report of a Roundtable Discussion of Best Practices for Transferring Analog Discs and Tapes from the National Recording Preservation Board published in 2006, the ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation from May 2015, and the IASA Guidelines on the Production and Preservation of Digital Audio Objects (web edition) from 2009. Additionally, the engineer who transferred the original content to the 1/2 inch tape was consulted before, during, and after the migration to digital format.
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1/2 Inch Reel-to-Reel Magnetic Tape to Digital
Reel-to-reel, or open reel, magnetic tape is a format that was manufactured from 1935 to the present. This layer-based format is subject to deterioration that arises from age, unfavorable storage conditions and mishandling. The layers include a flexible substrate or base film (paper, cellulose acetate, or PET, Polyethylene terephthalate aka Mylar/Polyester/Tenzar), fine ferromagnetic particles (oxide) suspended in a binder that includes lubrication. Some tapes are also produced with a back coating (Hess, 2006). Each layer can present a unique point of failure for degradation of the medium. There have been a wide variety of chemical formulations used in the production of magnetic tape over the course of 80 years, making the task of identifying the exact type of tape difficult. Properties of each chemical formulation have different effects over time, and under certain conditions, which leaves preservationists in a position where they must make educated, but uncertain decisions about how to care for the tape that is in their custody.
Signs of Degradation
Vintage reel-to-reel tapes, even when stored in ideal conditions, can present signs of degradation. Common problems that are observed in magnetic tape are cupping, binder hydrolysis (or sticky shed syndrome/SSS), and vinegar syndrome in acetate tape. In the case of cupping, the binder layer of magnetic tape may shrink at a different rate than the base of the tape (Brylawski et al., 2015). Identifying sticky shed syndrome can be difficult until the tape is played back, as the symptoms may not present with the naked eye. If the tape is squealing, presenting signs of stiction (tape
13


sticks to heads and guides on the playback machine) and/or leaves a gummy deposit on
the machine, chances are likely that the tape is suffering from SSS.
Figure 2.1 Gummy deposit accumulated on heads after playing a tape with SSS.
14


Figure 2.2 Residue from cleaning heads on tape machine after playing a tape with SSS.
Mechanical damage can occur when a tape is stored with a loose or uneven tension pack, or on a hub without flanges or hold down tape to protect it from unwinding and other physical harm. Wrinkles can imprint on the tape causing dropouts as the wrinkled parts of the tape pass unevenly over the reproduce head on the tape machine. Multiple layers of the tape can inherit the wrinkles if the deformed part of the tape is wound within the tape pack and stored that way.
15


Figure 2.3 Example of wrinkled 2-inch tape submitted for migration to digital format. Wrinking can occur from mishandling and not properly winding the tape. This tape also suffers from SSS.
A cultivated vocabulary is crucial to the learning process. This allows for more targeted research and clear communication with mentors and advisors. Any audio engineer who is inexperienced in restoration and archiving would be advised to explore vocabulary in glossaries, professional journals and among colleagues. One example of a robust list of terms and definitions to describe tape condition is available on the IASA website in the publication IASA Cataloguing Rules (IASA Editorial Group, 1999), and includes:
• Backcoat shedding
• Bleeding
• Blocking
16


Brittleness
Cinching
Cupping
Curvature
Damaged reel (or cassette or cartridge casing) Dust or Dirt (Dirty/Oily)
Edge damage
Embossing
Gummy deposit
Hydrolysis
Interlayer adhesion
Kink
Leafing
Loose wind
Magnetic coating lift
Magnetic coating shedding
Magnetic losses
Manufacturing surface defect
Mould (Mouldy)
Scouring
Splice
Splice, dry (Dry splice)
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• Spoking
• Squealing
• Stiction
• Stretch
• Vinegar Syndrome
• Windowing (Windows)
• Wrinkle Mitigation
Some of the symptoms of damage can be mitigated in order to bring the tape to a state in which it can be played back. Mechanical damage, such as wrinkling, may be repaired by cutting off the damaged section and using splicing tape to replace it with acid-free paper leader tape, providing there is no program content on the wrinkled section.
Hydrolysis (moisture absorption) is the offender that can cause sticky shed syndrome. Magnetic particles shed and debris begins to build up on the tape machine, making playback impossible as both the tape and the machine become damaged. There are a variety of options for repairing PET tapes suffering from sticky shed syndrome (SSS, also known as binder hydrolysis and a sub-category of sticky binder syndrome) that are suggested in the NRPB roundtable discussion, ARSC guide and IASA guidelines including environmental chambers and desiccants (substance that absorbs moisture from the air), and baking (incubation). All three guides warn against incubation unless it is a last resort and done for preservation transfers only. Incubation is a
18


remedy for polyester based tapes only. Acetate tapes must be treated differently; they are likely to be damaged by the baking process. Mitigation for acetate tapes is a subject in need of further research, as there is little mention of procedures for acetate-backed tapes in any of the guidelines. The ARSC guide states that “baking should be done in laboratory-grade ovens by trained professionals” and only with metal flanges, not plastic (Brylawski et al., 2015, p.60). However, the 1993 patent that describes the process suggests that the advantage is that it can be practiced with the use of a standard portable consumer convection oven (Medeiros et al., 1993).
While the NRPB, ARSC and IASA recommend treating SSS with the less destructive use of desiccants and environmental chambers, these methods are time consuming, as they must be done over the course of several months. It is reported that desiccants are not always effective. Therefore, incubation offers expediency that many restoration projects require.
According to Richard Hess, PET tapes that are expected to suffer from sticky shed syndrome and respond well to incubation include:
• Pre-1990 Agfa PEM 468 and PEM 469
• Ampex/Quantegy 406, 407, 456, 457
• Early 1980s Audiotape/Capitol: Q15
• Scotch/3M: 226, 227, 806, 807, 808, 809 PET tapes that do not respond to incubation are:
• Scotch/3M 175
• Sony PR-150
19


Melody 169
• Pyral tapes
• Any cassette that squeals (Hess, 2006, p. 11-12).
These lists are not comprehensive, but do offer some insight on the more common tapes that might emerge in migrating content in the course of an audio engineer’s career.
The NRPB, ARSC and IASA guidelines present only a birds-eye view of mitigation processes, therefore detailed instructions to repair damaged media for playback must be researched before proceeding with any process. US Patent 5,236,790 sets forth basic guidelines for incubation and can be referenced as a starting point for restoration from SSS. The 1993 patent is assigned to Ampex Systems Corporation and suggests that typical tape restoration incubation temperature is 54°C (or 129.2°F) for 16 hours at ambient humidity.
Alternately, the IASA guidelines suggest incubation at 50°C (122°F) for 8-12 hours at 0% humidity. Upon further searches, the incubation (baking) procedures provided in anecdotal resources such as the Tangible Technology website and the ARSCIistserv range from 120°F to 145°F with incubation times anywhere from 1 hour to 24 hours or more. It appears that incubation times and temperatures that are effective vary and depend on the tape composition and condition, how many tapes are being baked at once, the size of the tape and other factors. Because there is no standard agreement between published resources, the procedures appear to be largely experimental.
20


As a practical guide, the instructions from Eddie Ciletti on his Tangible Technology website have been an effective resource for incubation, with suggestions on the exact consumer-level dehydrator that can be used as opposed to a convection oven or hair dryer. The Ciletti guide makes note of checking for magnetic fields on the incubation device so as not to bring about damage to the magnetic particles on the tape, and also offers time and temperature suggestions for various tape sizes (Ciletti, 2011). The guide instructs the user to flip the tape every half hour of incubation. The author has consulted this guide to restore dozens of vintage PET tapes and has found that the suggestions that are on the conservative side of temperatures and times have been effective for successful playback.
Challenges
While restoration is possible in many cases of PET based tapes, there are circumstances when the media cannot be restored to allow for playback. Damaged tape with paper or acetate base can present special challenges that may require specialized equipment or materials that may be considered too difficult or expensive to acquire. These restorations may also demand techniques that are too risky or advanced for an engineer new to audio archiving. In this circumstance, the engineer must consider whether s/he has the resources to properly complete the transfer.
The quality and condition of the playback machine and recording rig must be considered to meet basic recommendations for archival quality transfers, and to meet the needs of the media. Reel to reel tape offers a variable format with different playback speeds, track numbers and track configurations. Two consumer tapes that were
21


considered for the study contain descriptions of the track. The Fantasia tape alerts the
user “This tape recording contains two automatic reversing signals, one at end of side A program, the other at the end of side B. These program reversing signals function only with tape recorders which are equipped with Ampex-style reversing circuitry.”
WALT DISNEY'S
FANTASIA
MOTION PICTURE CREDITS Commentary by Deems Taylor Production Supervision Ben Sharpstecn Story Direction Joe Grant—Dick Hucmer Musical Direction Edward H. Plumb Musical Film Editor Stephen Gsillag Recording William E. Garity —C.O Slyfield —
J. N. A. Hawkins
LEOPOLD STOKOWSKI and the Philadelphia Orchestra SEQUENCE DIRECTION Toccata & Fugue Samuel Armstrong The Nutcracker Suite Samuel Armstrong The Sorcerer's Apprentice James Algar Rite of Spring Bill Roberts —Paul Satterfield The Pastoral Symphony Hamilton Luske Dance of the Hours T Hee —Norm Ferguson Night on Bald Mountain Wilfred Jackson Ave Maria Wilfred Jackson
TOCCATA AND FUGUE IN D MINOR
Johann Sebastian Bach
THE NUTCRACKER SUITE
Piotr llich Tchaikovsky
THE SORCERERS APPRENTICE
Paul Dukas
RITE OF SPRING
Igor Stravinsky
THE PASTORAL SYMPHONY
Ludwig van Beethoven
DANCE OF THE HOURS
Amilcarc PoncbieUi
NIGHT ON BALD MOUNTAIN
Modeste Moussorgsty
AVE MARIA
Franz Schubert
I AMPEX !
I ~ ■_______M^ J Mattered and qwolily audited by Ampe». Duplicated by Ampe* in Elk Grove Village, llllnoii, U.S.A.
STEREO TAPES on Ampei professional recorders, using Ampm tape.
"This tape recording contain* two automatic reversing signals, onn at end of side A program, the otbar at the end of side B. Those program reversing signals (unction only with teoe recorders which aro equipped with Ampex-style reversing circuitry''.
Printed in U.S.A.
Figure 2.4 Back of tape box for commercially released recording.
Another example of an alternate tape track configuration is below. The printed
instructions on the box are “All Radio Yesteryear tapes are recorded at 1/2 track to insure
compatibility with all machines. To play this tape on a 1A track recorder, turn the right
channel playback volume control to ‘off’”.
22


fC/iCIC yESTECyE4C)
BOX H CROTXDIM-OM-HUDSOIM, IM.Y. 10520
mdip name* d«t <*> «« »«» ««** <*“*»
Perm, is prpbiind by In. Itkdio IMUm* «»«>«* so mpcroibltity (or rlleaal uso.
Sides A & B
Z-Tape #1 "Hot l Sweet 1930
0 3 3/4 IPS
â–¡ 7 V3 IM
All Radio yesteryear tapes ere recorded ty track to insure computability^wittii all ma-chines- To play this tape wio (rack recorder, tom the rifM channel playback volume
Figure 2.5 Front of tape box for commercially released 3% IPS tape.
The archiving process can be much less complicated when the documentation for the tape is provided with the tape itself. However, in many cases, there is little or no documentation and the tapes themselves must be identified by a best guess. Absent of documentation, tape track configuration can be viewed with a magnetic viewer. (Bailey, 2012). It is unlikely that a studio or freelance engineer would have a need for this device unless their work involves archiving on a regular basis. The cost of a magnetic viewer is between $99 and $400. If the content on the tape is unknown, and the tape appears to be in good condition, the engineer may attempt to play the tape, but immediately stop if the playback presents any signs of degradation: stiction, shedding,
23


squealing or any other symptom that does not occur in normal operation. At that point, the engineer must decide if and how the tape will be restored for playback.
The playback machine must be clean and well-maintained, the A/D converters should be high-quality and capable of a minimum of 96 kHz sample rate and 24 bit depth. The signal path should be as clear as possible to achieve transparency in order to faithfully capture the content and meet standards put in place by the various guidelines.
Archiving Procedure
The study examines the procedures involved in migrating analog audio to a digital format. The migration process began with research and consultation through referencing guidelines and seeking expert counsel. Every attempt was made to follow best practices, given real-world time and budget constraints. Decisions were made regarding which guideline to follow at any given step, and how to proceed.
The importance of this section is to demonstrate the level of ease or challenge a typical independent audio engineer would encounter in correctly digitizing and archiving a vintage recording.
Objective
The NRPB defines the objective of migrating audio as capturing “complex analog signals with as much transparency to the original as practical” (National Recording Preservation Board, 2006, p.34). Given that stipulation, the tape selected for this study will inherently not satisfy the criteria, as it is not a first generation recording, and it is known that the transfer in 1985 introduced at least one device into the recording chain.
24


Additionally, the engineer who completed the transfer believes that he may have transferred the 14 inch tape to 2-inch tape and then back to the 1/2 inch tape, making the tape in the study a third generation transfer. However, criteria can be set for this tape, as the standards for migration can be applied to this specific transfer. The content of the final digital object will not be true to the original recording, but it can be as true as possible to the content in its current state.
Guidelines
Three published, and publically accessible, guides were selected to use as a reference during the migration process: The National Recording Preservation Board Capturing Analog Sound for Digital Preservation: Report of a Roundtable Discussion of Best Practices for Transferring Analog Discs and Tapes (National Recording Preservation Board, 2006), ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation (Brylawski et al., 2015), and Guidelines on the Production and Preservation of Digital Audio Objects (I AS A Technical Committee, 2009). These guides offer a broad view and some details into the archiving process. Additional resources were consulted, including publications, websites and experts in the field. Selected topics from these guidelines are compared in the following table.
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Table 11.1 Guide comparison chart, pag
e 1.
NRPB ROUNDTABLE, 2006 ARSC GUIDE, 2015 IASA Guidelines on the Production and Preservation of Digital Audio Objects (web edition), 2009
Access • Free Downloadable PDF Free Downloadable PDF • Free Web Version, fee for PDF or paper copy
Objective • To capture complex analog signals with as much transparency to the original as practical. The guide aims to help public and private institutions, as well as individual collectors, that have sound recordings in their collections but lack the professional expertise in one or more areas to preserve them. • The aim of preservation is to provide our successors and their clients with as much of the information contained in our holdings as it is possible to achieve in our professional working environment (1.2).
Identify Composition • Use any clues, box or documentation (can be unreliable), ask person providing tape, consult experts. Use non-destructive evaluation techniques. Sound recordings must be decoded via the proper device or codec. Preservation requires knowledge of what the recording is made ot, what types of deterioration might be expected, and how damage can be limited or repaired. Accurate identification of a format can provide at least approximate dates for undated materials. • Description of tapes and years of manufacture in section 5.4.1.2.; does not include physical identifying features.
Repair Damaged Splices • Replace old paper or plastic tape leaders with new, acid-free paper leaders. Plastic may accumulate electrostatic charges. Clean and repair splices. Weakened splicing tape or paper leader can result in broken splices that cause delays in transfer time and possible mechanical damage. Polyester leader should replace broken paper leader. • If needed, remove splice adhesive with solvent like highly purified light fuel with Q-tip. Test before cleaning, and allow to evaporate. Replace or add leader tape as needed (5.4.3.2).
Cleaning • Plastic or Polyester: use isopropyl alcohol (did not indicate 99%) or naphtha based lighter fluid (such as Ronsonol). • Acetate will be destroyed by alcohol (document offers no further suggestions for acetate cleaning or repair). • Every tape does not need to be cleaned before transfer. Use isopropyl alcohol to clean (did not indicate 99%). Cleaning should not be abrasive, Not react chemically with the playing surface, Leave the recording dry and without residue. Understand when to use dry cleaning versus wet cleaning. • Dirty or contaminated tapes should be cleaned of dust and debris with a soft brush and low vacuum before spooling (5.4.3.1).
Storage • If tape is in loose wind, hand wind and bypass heads to prevent their wear. Audio formats should be housed in containers or sleeves that are sturdy, clean, and protective against environmental factors, such as dust, mold, fingerprints, scratches, water damage, or shocks. Stabilize and clean all recordings and rehouse in archival housing when first acquired. Provide separate archival storage for accompanying documentation. Maintain a record of the documentation that was originally with each recording. Providing a clean, cool, dry, and level storage space with reliable temperature and humidity control are key factors for the long-term preservation. • 5.4.13.2 Recommended that tapes be stored “tail out”, in which case the post echoes are louder than the pre echoes and less obvious. German broadcast standards specified that tapes be wound with the oxide out, in which case the reverse applies, and tapes should be stored “head out”.
SBS (SSS) Binder Hydrolysis - a chemical decomposition due to addition of water • Describes sticky shed and lubrication loss as a telltale squealing noise during playback. SSS: Stickiness, shedding and squealing during playback of PET tapes. Vinegar syndrome: Cellulose acetate and paper-based tapes are more prone to binder hydrolysis when stored in humid locations and may give o a vinegar smell. • 5.4.3.3 Describes sticky brown or milky deposits on heads or guides, sometimes accompanied by squeal and reduction in audio quality, https:// www.iasa-web.org/tc04/magnetic-tapes-cleaning-and-carrier-restoration.
SSS Damage Mitigation • Extended baking at low heat in scientific or convection oven for temporary remedy that reverts over time (use as last resort); Other treatment methods include using environmental chambers and desiccants. Alternative methods should be explored. Consider baking when tape needs to be played within a month and as a last resort. Do not bake tapes on plastic flanges, only on metal flanges. Do not bake acetate tapes. • 5.4.3 Room temperature, low humidity; Heated respooling; Elevated stable temperature (50 degrees C/122 F) 8-12 hours, low (0%) humidity; Heat causes print-through -Interleaving with new tape may be of benefit in reducing the level of print activity, which can be activated by temperature increases. Tapes should be rewound a number of times to reduce the effects of print through caused by elevated temperatures (good details and further reading easily accessible through links) 5.4.13.3 Printed signals are reduced by the act of rewinding the tape prior to playing, by a process termed “magnetostrictive action". Systematic tests have shown, however, that it is wise to rewind a tape at least three times to sufficiently diminish print through.
Machine Recommendations • No Recommendation. New open reel playback decks are no longer manufactured but many are available used or refurbished. Machine surfaces and metal guides should be cleaned after every reel with isopropyl alcohol (preferably 99 percent). Pinch rollers should be cleaned with polyurethane cleaner. Additionally, playback heads should be demagnetized periodically. Larger open reel formats, such as those using 1/2-inch or 2-inch tape, require preservation engineers, as their play- back equipment is more complex than consumer, machines and servicing can be both expensive and difficult to find. • 5.4.4.7 Tape machines should be capable of replaying signals with a frequency response of 30 Hz to 10 kHz ±1 dB, and 10 kHz to 20 kHz +1, -2 dB..5.4.4.8 The equalisation on a reel replay machine should be capable of being aligned for replaying NAB or I EC equalisation, preferably being able to switch between them without realignment.5.44.8 The equalisation on a reel replay machine should be capable of being aligned for replaying NAB or IEC equalisation, preferably being able to switch between them without re-alignment. 5.4.4.10 A professional archival reel machine should also have gentle tape handling characteristics so that it does not damage the tape during replay. Many of the early and middle generation studio machines depended on the robust characteristics of the modern tape carrier for their successful operation. These machines may cause damage to older tapes, or to long play tapes or thin tapes used for field recording.


Table 11.2 Guide comparison chart, page 2.
NRPB ROUNDTABLE, 2006 ARSC GUIDE, 2015 IASA Guidelines on the Production and Preservation of Digital Audio Objects (web edition), 2009
Calibration • Adjust Azimuth to original recording; Use frequency alignment tape with correct flux density; monitor with peak level meters, not VU; avoid introducing distortion with monitoring equipment; Make sure playback EQ curve matches the source (NAB/CCIR) - inconclusive whether it is possible to transfer from original without introducing signal alteration. • Ideally, an audio preservation engineer should be used for preservation transfers of all audio tape. All playback engineers should have a basic knowledge of how to realign the azimuth and playback head to maintain the integrity of the recording. The tape should move freely through the guides and across the playback head without being scraped or stretched. • 5.4.7 Alignment: Clean tape head and path every 4 hours of operation, isopropyl alchohol on metal parts/dry cotton buds (or with water) on rubber or polyurethane pinch rollers (alcohol increases wow and flutter; 5.4.10 provides details EQ standards table for a large number of manufacturers (NAB 15 ips. 38 cm/s (1953) current standard 3180 ps 50 ps); Carefully choose replay speed in the first transfer process, and to document chosen speed and justification; NR Decoding is better undertaken at the time of transfer, As with equalisation, the lack of documentation may require the operator to make such decisions aurally.
Digital Standards • 96 kHz, 24 bit for preservation copies due to interoperability with lASAand improved digital converters, with room for later debate. Loss of quality is acceptable when downsampling to 44.1 kHz, 16 bit for access copies. • he accepted specifications for audio digitized from analog sources are a sampling rate of 96 kHz and a bit depth of 24 bits per channel. • The International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA) recommends a minimum sampling rate of 48 kHz, yet some projects may benefit from a sampling rate higher than 96 kHz (IASA 2009) • 2.2 IASA minimum 48kHz, with 96kHz as advisable, but not upper limit, bit depth 24 (except born digital, which should match the original content) 6.2.2.1 IASA recommends the use of .wav or preferably BWF .wav files [EBU tech 3285], Because of the simplicity and ubiquity of linear Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) [interleaved for stereo] IASA recommends the use of WAVE, (file extension .wav) developed by Microsoft and IBM as an extension from the Resource Interchange File Format (RIFF). Also details many more standards i.e. A/D converters, audio path, THD+N, etc.
Metadata • Note speed variations in playback. • The administrative metadata is information that assists in the management of a digital file, such as how it was created, its provenance, its technical specifications, and any access restrictions that may be associated with it. • Structural Metadata shows directory structures and file names, project file exports, such as generic edit decision lists or AES31-3, audio decision lists (Audio Engineering Society 2008), track markers, time stamps, METS document • Embedded metadata can be defined as metadata that are stored inside the same file, or container, that stores the essence to which the metadata refer • https ://www. iasa-web. org/catal og u i n g -rules/7b-notes charachteristics and condition of media, and program content.
Storage • No Recommendation. • Storage options can be local or outsourced (also known as cloud storage). • Online storage: In this context, online has nothing to do with the Internet; it simply means that the data are immediately available to users of a storage system. An example is a spinning disk server. • Nearline storage: The data are available to users with some lag time, but without human intervention. An example is magnetic tape libraries. • 0 ine storage: The data are stored on a medium in a location where retriev- al requires human intervention. An example is an LTO tape stored in a physi- cal storage facility that must be retrieved and placed in an LTO deck before the data can be retrieved. • Redundancy: Data Tapes, RAID, HDD - 5 yr life span.
NOTES ■ If the tape being copied is second or third generation, it can be difficult to optimize for azimuth correction. The azimuth alignment of each recording deck used to make each generational copy could differ, thus preventing optimal reproduction because cancellations will take place. • Allow three times the run time of content to do this: Audio Object inspection; Alignment of playback equipment; signal extraction; quality control; embedding of metadata; checksum calculation; Ingest into long-term storage. • Glossary of terms https://www.iasa-web.org/ cataloguing-rules/appendix-c-terms-physical-condition-sound-recordings More comprehensive, but not within one document-searchable on the site.
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Process
The ARSC Guide indicates that the process of archiving content from one physical medium to another is expected to take three times the run time of the content. These steps, according to the guidelines, include:
• Audio Object Inspection
• Alignment of Playback Equipment
• Signal Extraction
• Quality Control
• Embedding of Metadata
• Checksum Calculation
• Ingest Into Long-Term Storage
In order to estimate the length of time needed for the study, the Vz inch tape stored on a IOV2 inch reel was examined and found to be somewhat less than 2500 feet in length at a speed of presumably 30 IPS. The manufacturer provided markings describing the length of tape on the tape reel, and the engineer inscribed the speed on the tape storage box; it should be noted that speed could not be confirmed until the initial audition playback. Using a tape run time chart, the run time was determined to be less than 15 minutes, which established the archiving time to be approximately 45 minutes.
Audio Object Inspection. The inspection process is an information-gathering exercise, which can include everything from the content on the tape to the properties of the media itself. During the initial inspection on March 31, 2018, the tape was examined
28


in its box at Colorado Sound Studios. The only information on the box included an inscribed “30 IPS”, with no additional tracking sheets or further information. When visually inspected, the tape appeared to be in good condition with no visible signs of mechanical damage. The engineer who provided the tape for the study was present, and was consulted on the nature of the recording. He also advised throughout, and contributed to the migration process. The Ampex ATR-104 tape machine operation was new to the author and supervision was necessary to operate it effectively.
The information gathered from the engineer’s recollection is that the tape was likely still in the original box and on the original reel, so it was presumed that the tape was a Scotch 3M 226. The content was recorded from a 14 inch reel-to-reel two track binaural tape recording. The engineer could not recall the exact year, but remembered the album he was working on that was released in the same year, which was Chuck Pyle’s Drifters Wind. Given that information, it was determined that the content was recorded onto the Vz inch tape in 1985. This information led to the detail that the signal would have been sent through the console that was in the studio in 1985, which was a Trident TSM. The engineer believed that it was likely that the content was mixed through the Trident TSM onto a 2-inch tape. Then it would have been bounced in stereo onto the Vz inch tape presented for the study.
Since there was no documentation with the tape box to verify that the content was what was believed to be on the tape, and to determine whether the tape was suffering from SSS (as expected, based on the fact that it is a Scotch 3M 226 tape), the decision was made to attempt to play it.
29


The tape machine used for playback is the precise machine that was used in 1985 to transfer the content to the Vz inch tape. It is an Ampex ATR-104. The machine was prepared by removing the head stock and cleaning with 99% isopropyl alcohol on cotton swabs and demagnetized with a degausser. The machine was then calibrated with MRL reproducer alignment tape: OdB, 30 IPS, AES (IEC2) Equalization, 250 nWb/m ref. fluxivity; for +6 dB, it was set to -3dB.
Figure 2.6 MRL calibration tape.
After the machine was calibrated, the heads, guides and tension arms were cleaned with 99% isopropyl alcohol and cotton swabs one more time before playback.
As the audition playback began, it was determined that the content on the tape was the content that was expected. However, the tape quickly showed signs of SSS with stiction causing the tape to slow the machine and tension arms to be put under stress. The playback was stopped and the tape was shuttle wound tails out for restoration.
Although it is advised to wind vintage tapes in play speed for a library wind with a flat tape pack even tension throughout, shuttle wind on the Ampex ATR-104 is a compromise between Play and Fast Forward or Rewind. Time restrictions demanded a
30


faster solution than playback. The machine was cleaned again, and found to have deposits on the heads, as is common with SSS. The time involved in the entire process of testing the tape was approximately 50 minutes.
Because the tape was exhibiting signs of SSS, and the project needed to be completed promptly, the decision was made to incubate the tape. More conservative solutions would have taken too long to complete in the timeframe allotted for the project. An important test to ensure that the tape is a candidate for incubation is to shine light from behind the tape with something behind the tape to view a shadow (see figures below). The objective is to determine the composition of the base of the tape. If the tape is PET based, it will be opaque. This will indicate that it is safe to bake. If the tape is acetate based, it will be transparent and cannot be baked without damaging the tape and must be treated differently.
Figure 2.7 PET based tape is opaque, and light will not pass through. This test determined that this tape is safe to bake for restoration.
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Figure 2.8 Acetate based tape is transparent, as a shadow is visible when illuminated from behind. This tape cannot be baked for restoration without damage to the tape.
Restoration. The steps from the ARSC guidelines that suggest the time it takes to complete a migration do not include restoration, though many media items will require restoration prior to capturing the signal. The incubation process on this 1/2 inch tape was completed on April 5, 2018 at Colorado Sound Studios. Equipment used included a NESCO American Harvest 500 watt dehydrator with a variable thermostat and modified trays, a domestic grill thermometer to monitor the dehydrator’s internal temperature and an iPhone as a timer.
32


Figure 2.9 Incubator rig.
An arbitrary incubation temperature and time were selected based on consulting the guides, the patent, advisors, and from personal experience. Since the tape was sticky and shedding only to a minor degree, but not squealing or leaving excessive deposits, it was determined that a 11/2 hour bake at 130°F would be attempted. Recommendations for much longer times were disregarded, as the tape could be returned to incubate again should the first incubation fail to produce desired results.
33


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Figure 2.10 Domestic dehydrator used for tape incubation.
Figure 2.11 Thermometer placed in center of dehydrator to monitor temperature.
34


Figure 2.13 Monitoring time and temperature with domestic thermometer and iPhone.
35


The dehydrator was first pre-heated while empty, with the thermostat set to approximately 130°F while monitoring the temperature. It was discovered that the the thermostat on the dehydrator was alarmingly inaccurate, and needed to be adjusted down at least 5°F to achieve the correct temperature. The tape was not inserted until the temperature was accurate.
The tape was placed on the second to the bottom ring of the dehydrator to keep it farther from the dehydrator motor and fan and still allow air flow. The tape was flipped at 30 minutes, 30 minutes, 15 minutes and removed after the final 15 minutes, enabling even incubation time on each side of the tape. The temperature monitor indicated that each time the lid was lifted to flip the tape, the internal temperature dropped approximately 8°F and would take about one minute to get back up to temperature after the lid was closed again. After one hour of operation with the thermostat set at the same level, the temperature increased to 134°F, and the thermostat was adjusted down to achieve a temperature closer to 130°F. The inconsistency in the dehydrator temperature demands that any incubation that is not in a laboratory-grade oven be closely monitored. Further study regarding temperature inconsistencies in domestic dehydrators would be useful, as well as further study on the acceptable amount of temperature fluctuations in incubation without further compromising the media.
Upon completion of the process at approximately 6:30 pm, the dehydrator was opened and the tape was left to cool overnight to prepare for the transfer session the next morning. According to guides, in ideal conditions incubated tapes should be cooled to the ambient temperature of the room where the transfer will take place. They
36


should not be played back on tape machines until they have cooled.
Figure 2.14 Tape left to cool. A useful modification to the dehydrator is when plastic grills are carefully cut out from every other ring in order to accommodate 2 inch tape formats.
Results of the incubation would not be revealed until the next morning, as there are no visual indicators of a successful incubation. The incubation process took approximately 4 hours from unpacking equipment to packing it back up and leaving the tape to rest for the night.
Alignment of Playback Equipment. According to the ARSC guidelines, step two begins with alignment of the playback equipment. For this study, it is step three, and took place at 7:30 am on April 6, 2018. The Ampex ATR-140 was cleaned and aligned in exactly the same fashion that it was done during the inspection phase. The tape head stack was removed, cleaned and demagnetized and then replaced in preparation for the calibration tape. The machine was calibrated with MRL reproducer
37


alignment tape, OdB, 30 IPS, AES (IEC2) Equalization, 250 nWb/m ref. fluxivity. The machine was calibrated at 1kHz on Repro Gain to -3dB on VU meters, 10kHz on Repro EQ Hi Speed Hi Freq to -3dB on VU meters, 16kHz it was observed that VU meters dropped 1dB (but there is no adjustment available), and 100Hz Repro EQ Hi Speed Low Freq to -3dB on VU meters. This is the precise adjustment that was done on the machine in 1985, given that the engineer from the original session was present, advising and contributing to this session.
The heads, guides and tension arms were cleaned with 99% isopropyl alcohol on cotton swabs before the tape was prepared for transfer.
Signal Extraction. Consideration in the signal extraction phase includes decisions regarding the media and format to migrate the program content to, creating a transparent signal path for optimal reproduction, optimal levels, and preparing for failures. Ideally, when digitizing analog content that is on a compromised medium, it is best to transfer to a RAID system so that multiple copies can be captured at once in case of failure. The NRPB and IASA agree that the digital standards for archival preservation are 96 kHz sample rate and 24 bit depth BWF.wav files. The organizations arrived at this decision after much debate when considering interoperability, simplicity, and ubiquity of linear Pulse Code Modulation (IASA Technical Committee, 2009). While they recognize that alternatives should be explored, the current standard is set for now.
With these considerations in mind, it was decided that the signal would pass from the tape machine, through a patch bay and patched directly into input 1-2 in the DAW, Avid Pro Tools HDX version 12. While the ideal would be to remove the patch bay from
38


the signal chain, it was not practical to do so. Storage was on a G-Drive external hard drive with thunderbolt connector with a transfer rate of 165 MBps and spindle speed of 7200 rpm (G-Technology).
Additional specifications for this session include the following:
Mac Pro 6-Core Intel Xeon E5/3.5 GHz Processor/16GB RAM Avid Pro Tools HDX Version 12 Avid Pro Tools HD I/O
Metering with iZotope Insight as plugin on the Master Fader The Pro Tools session was set up for 96 kHz sample rate and 24 bit depth with a BWF .wav file. While the author considered the full guidelines, several concessions were made in the decisions based on time considerations, accessibility and experience.
The initial playback test signals appeared to be within an acceptable level, with Peak Levels L at -3dBFS and R at -2.7dBFS. The guidelines call for “as close to OdBFS” Peak Levels as possible, which is somewhat vague for a non-specialist to interpret. Without knowing the content material on the entire tape, and given that it is best to play the tape back only once if possible, the levels were left as is, even if slightly lower than optimal to account for higher levels in the content later on the tape. The tape was shuttle rewound, and the signal extraction began.
A technical complication arose during the recording of the first song. There was a buffer size error that necessitated stopping and reviewing the session setup.
39


Audio processing could not complete due to conflicts with other CPU tasks or a potential docking issue. If this occurs often, verify your sync cables or try changing the HW Buffer Size setting in the Playback Engine dialog. In most cases, a larger HW buffer size will prevent the problem. (AAE -9171)
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Figure 2.15 CPU failure during the first playback.
The message is uncommon in this specific system at Colorado Sound Studios, so the system setup was reviewed and found to be normal.
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Session Start:
Session Length:
Incoming Time: 00:02:37:26
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Positional Reference
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96 kHz 24 Bit SYNC HD 1059 samples -3.0 dB
The tape was rewound a third time, and replay began again in order to continue capturing the content. The remaining session went according to plan. The tape was stopped between each of the three songs, and the session was saved. The Peak Level on the all three songs remained close to, but below, OdBFS. The session was saved a final time, the studio was returned to normal and the hard drive was retrieved when the session ended at 8:33 am. The program content run time including three songs, was found to be 9 minutes 28 seconds. The transfer session took slightly more than 1 hour.
Quality Control. The quality control begins during the session while monitoring for quality sound and any anomalies. The metering is important in order to make certain that peak levels stay below OdB full scale, but close to it, since the capture for archival
41


purposes will not undergo any further mastering. The meter used was the iZotope Insight plugin on the master track in Pro Tools.
Figure 2.17 Metering with iZotope Insight.
The recorded content was reviewed by listening to the full program material in Studio B at Colorado Sound Studios, and found to be complete with no dropouts.
Results of the metering were logged:
Song 1: Getting Hip
Peak L: -2.2dBFS, Peak R -2.2dBFS; Integrated LUFS -15.2; LU 4.3 Song 2: She’s Allright
Peak L: -3.1dBFS, Peak R -2.7dBFS; Integrated LUFS -15.7; LU 4.7 Song 3: Gamalama
Peak L: -1.5dBFS, Peak R -2.5dBFS; Integrated LUFS -13.9; LU 4.1 Though the guides leave some interpretation for optimal peak levels, it is evident that the guidelines do specify to stay below OdBFS, which was accomplished. The files were
42


played from within Pro Tools, and as a .wav file in the Mac OS Preview to verify that the files were not corrupted. Additional quality control was not conducted beyond these tests.
Embedding of Metadata. This specific project does not necessitate embedding of metadata, as the content will not be released to the public and is not part of a library collection. However, metadata options were explored regarding the RIN (Recording Information Notification) standard developed by DDEX. The Soundways RIN-M plugin is free of charge and compatible with Pro Tools. It allows the metadata of a recording session, from song title, to performer, to engineer, ISRC codes and more to be logged in a .rin file that is sent upstream to any other production house that works on the project. Presumably, the .rin file would stay with the song files. While this plugin is useful for the music industry, it does not appear to be a solution for archiving purposes, as the fields may not offer what is needed for preservation files. Metadata suggestions for large collections or libraries are available in the ARSC Guide. There are links to free file management solutions available on the Library of Congress website, as well.
If the metadata was to be captured for this project, it would include information about the content, with song titles, date, performers, studio where it was originally recorded, any information available from the tracking sheets, the media, speed and track configuration from the original media, then the same information for the 1/2 inch tape that was used in the study, including condition and restoration activities. The recommendation is to include all information available to future-proof the content.
Some examples of the metadata that accompanies professionally
43


produced media are tracking sheets and tracking detail reports. Television tracking
reports contain different information than tracking sheets for music.
Figure 2.18 Example of a tracking detail report from broadcast television.
Figure 2.19 Tracking sheet from a recording session.


Details on the content of the recording are not the only metadata to be stored with digital objects. The ARSC Guide outlines the metadata to be included as inventory of content and its storage location, administrative metadata, transformative metadata and log events, technical and descriptive metadata, and preservation metadata. This guide is geared toward library use and larger collections, but these guidelines, or parts of the guidelines, might be useful for an individual as well.
Checksum Calculation. A checksum calculation is a process to test data integrity. The decision was made to disregard this step for the purpose this study.
Ingest into Long-Term Storage. Modern digital objects are often more fragile than the media that the content has migrated from for the purpose of preservation.
Digital files must be actively managed as files can be corrupted, erased, storage devices damaged, and digital formats can become obsolete (Brylawski et al., 2015). Large organizations have robust digital storage systems in place to manage their collections. However, individuals and small organizations must take special care to store files in the safest way possible. The ARSC Guide suggests making several copies of the same set of files to store in different geographic locations. For this study, the files were copied from the original hard drive at the studio to a second external hard drive that is stored in a different location, and a third copy stored in the cloud in Dropbox.
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CHAPTER III
RESULTS
The objective of the transfer was to migrate the analog signal on the 1/2 inch tape to an accepted digital format for archiving with as much transparency as possible. Absent of the ability to perform tests on the content from original tape that was suffering from SSS, there is no way to measure the transparency of the transfer. The content could not be migrated until the tape was restored to playable condition, and it is believed that incubation can change the character of the original media. However, the conditions were as favorable as possible, with access to the same tape machine that the content was recorded on as well as contributions and advice from the engineer who recorded the content onto the 1/2 inch tape in the study. The signal path was considered, and kept as transparent as reasonable. The content on the tape was captured with acceptable levels.
The program content run time is 9 minutes 28 seconds. Based on the run time, according to the ARSC guide, the entire migration process should have taken a little over 28 minutes to accomplish. This study required 7 hours 50 minutes and included testing, restoration, and the remaining steps in migration. This time does not account for many hours of research necessary to learn vocabulary and grasp a deeper understanding of the analog tape medium. The contrast between the expected time and actual time to complete the transfer demonstrates the level of difficulty a non-specialist can encounter while learning the process.
46


It was discovered that the three guides that were consulted were helpful, but not adequate as practical guides to transfer the recording for a non-specialist. It was necessary to research further and seek help from experts in order to learn to calibrate and use the unfamiliar tape machine. While the objective was achieved, it would not have been possible without consulting supplementary publications and experts in the field.
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CHAPTER IV
CONCLUSION
The study was to ascertain the feasibility of an independent audio engineer to be able to migrate an analog tape recording to a digital copy for the purpose of preserving the recorded content. While the migration from analog to an accepted digital format was achieved, a non-specialist could not have easily completed the project, in isolation, with written guides as the sole resource for information and training.
The guides were found to be excellent resources on background information and selected granular elements, but did not include comprehensive details in most cases. The guides are freely accessible to the public, providing that Internet service is available. In electronic form, the guides were searchable and easily readable.
However, some of the information and descriptions were ambiguous and need further definition. For example, specifications for an “acceptable level of introduced altered signal” are included but not defined. What is “acceptable” in this instance? What criteria would be used to define “acceptable”? The guideline for Peak Level as close to OdBFS without going over is not specific. Is the target peak level at -3dBFS close enough, or -5dBFS? This should be defined within a range for clarity. These frustrations inspired searching for answers from different resources.
The most helpful supplemental guidance was found to be consulting with a professional expert, reading publications from the Audio Engineering Society (AES), and the ARSC listserv. These resources are less accessible, as access to the AES publications requires membership or access to a library that subscribes to the
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publications. The ARSC listserv is accessible with membership to the organization and a request for permission to participate. Personal access to experts in the field can be difficult if relationships have not been cultivated. Most successful professionals have limited time and would need to consider whether they can afford to take the time to mentor someone.
A great deal of preparation is required in order to develop the specialized skills needed for audio preservation and archiving. Beyond consulting the industry guidelines, the steps that can better prepare a non-specialist for this undertaking include:
• Learn the Vocabulary
• Read the Manual
• Join Professional Organizations such as AES, ARSC, IASA
• Find a Mentor/Advisor
• Participate in Community
The work of audio preservation and archiving is important and rewarding, but it cannot be done in isolation.
Additional Considerations
Recording preservation does not have the perception of importance of other challenges that face humanity. For example, when bees vanish due to colony collapse disorder, the earth will have no food. That thought can elicit enough fear to move people into action. However, when warned that many thousands, and possibly millions, of recordings will be destroyed due to age and will be lost forever, there is apathy. The National Recording Preservation Act was introduced 18 years ago. In that time, only
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small steps have been achieved in the activity of migrating our most vulnerable media by comparison to the media that has not been preserved.
Illuminating the value of these recordings and archiving activities for educational purposes, connection to community, and connection to history from the ground up may result in a renewed interest in this important work. These aspects of preservation work could be explored, communicated and prioritized. Limiting the archiving process to only specialists results in a lost opportunity to connect young people, students, and nonspecialists to this rewarding work. Partnerships could be explored with local library programs where students participate in preservation; universities with audio programs have many students who could be a valuable resource. When framed correctly, local partnerships could offer another solution to create a workforce in the colossal task at hand.
Final Thoughts
Given the amount of migration that must be accomplished in the time prior to media deteriorating beyond playability, the independent audio engineer or audio engineering student could provide an important resource by participating in the preservation task. However, an incredible level of expertise, experience and guidance is necessary to do this work. The barrier to entry is high, and for many, there is little financial reward due to the time commitment and immense amount of overhead. According to the Library of Congress, it is estimated that 400 years of man-hours would be required for archiving just their collections.
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Non-specialists need help to close the information gap, and that could start with the NRPB re-evaluating the barrier to entry and prioritizing the completion their self-described Priority #1 from the Roundtable Discussion in 2006:
Develop a Web site that identifies the core competencies for audio preservation engineers. This information could be distributed in video format (National Recording Preservation Board, 2006, p. 13).
Apprenticeships are preferred, but the number of specialists who could take on apprentices is not adequate to train the sheer number of people necessary for the work. If the NRPB and Library of Congress were able to provide a free video training or online video certification program for non-specialists in each medium, disseminating the research in an accessible way, perhaps requiring assessments to receive a certificate, the independent non-specialist would have an incentive to participate. When time is the enemy, a video training program, rather than academic publications, could provide a better solution to prepare a workforce. Video training can be far less time-consuming and more comprehensible for the learner than doing the independent research that is necessary when referencing guidelines alone. While the publically accessible guidelines are a tremendous primer, they do not offer the depth of study needed to actually do the work.
Non-specialists could be encouraged to use media and program content that is not crucial to preserve in order to practice and fail, and in the process they would gain the necessary skills to help with this work. When more people are prepared and qualified to do the work, all stakeholders win.
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Another option for enlisting assistance in recording preservation would be to incentivize college-level audio programs to include an archiving component as a graduation requirement. The feasibility of these solutions should be considered further.
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REFERENCES
Bailey, C. (2012). Analog tape: Do it yourself? Retrieved from http://www.baileyzone.net/analog tape diy.htm
Bamberger, R., & Brylawski, S. (2010). The state of recorded sound preservation in the United States: A national legacy at risk in the digital age. N. p.
U.S. Department of Labor (2018). Occupational Outlook Handbook, Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/broadcast-and-sound-engineering-technicians.htm
Brylawski, S., Lerman, M., Pike, R., & Smith, K. (Eds.) (2015). ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation. CLIR. Retrieved from https://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub164/
Butterworth, B. (2017). The Reel-to-Reel Deal: Why analog-obsessed audiophiles are returning to reel-to-reel. JazzTimes. Retrieved from https://jazztimes.com/reviews/audio-files/reel-to-reel-audiophile/
Chamoux, H. (2018). Dictaphone Belt Digitization. ARSCIistserve. Retrieved April 7, 2018
Ciletti, E. (2011). If I Knew You Were Coming I'd Have Baked A Tape! Retrieved from http://tangible-technology.com/tape/baking1 .html
IASA Editorial Group. (1999). Appendix C. Terms for describing the physical condition of sound recordings. Retrieved from https://www.iasa-web.org/cataloguing-rules/appendix-c-terms-physical-condition-sound-recordings
IASA Technical Committee. (2009). Guidelines on the production and preservation of digital audio objects (web edition). IASA-TC 04 Retrieved from https://iasa-web.org/tc04/audio-preservation
IASA Technical Committee. Dietrich Schuller,D. & Hafner, A. (Eds.)(2014). Handling and Storage of Audio and Video Carriers, (= Standards, Recommended Practices and Strategies, IASA-TC 05). Retrieved from www.iasa-web.org/tc05/handling-storage-audio-video-carriers/\uc//o and Video Carriers
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Library of Congress. Guide to Vintage Audio Formats - National Recording Preservation Plan. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.loc.gov/programs/national-recording-preservation-plan/tools-and-resources/guide-to-vintage-audio-formats/
G-Technology G-DRIVE with Thunderbolt Specs, (n.d.). Retrieved from
https://www.cnet.com/products/g-technology-g-drive-with-thunderbolt-3tb/specs/
Hess, R. (2006). Tape Degradation Factors and Predicting Tape Life. AES 121st Convention.
Medeiros, D.A., Curtis, J.L., Perry R.H., & Underwood, J.D. (1993). U.S. Patent No. US5236790. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
National Recording Preservation Board. (2006). Capturing analog sound for digital preservation: Report of a roundtable discussion of best practices for transferring analog discs and tapes. Published: Council on Library and Information Resources and Library of Congress.
Nelson-Strauss, B., Gevinson, A. & Sam Brylawski. (2012). The Library of Congress National Recording Preservation Plan. N. p., 2012. Web.
Peoples, C., & Maguire, M. (2015). CHAPTER 1 Preserving Audio. In K. Smith, R. Pike, M. Lerman, S. Brylawski, & U. U. Undefined (Eds.), The ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation (p. 6). Eugene, OR: Association for Recorded Sound Collections, Council on Library and Information Resources.
Sayers, J. (2013). A Recorded Sound Timeline Compiled by the Recorded Sound Section Library of Congress (pp. 1-5, Rep.). Washington, DC: Library of Congress.
United States. Cong. House. H.R. 4846. National Recording Preservation Act of 2000. United States: N. p., 2000.
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Full Text

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THE ROLE OF THE INDEPENDENT AUD I O ENGINEER IN THE NATIONAL RECORDING PRESERVATION PLAN by LYNNAE J. ROME B.A., Uni versity of Colorado at Boulder, 1 995 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in parti al fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Recording Arts Program 2018

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! ii © 2018 LYNNAE J. ROME ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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! iii This thesis for the Master of Science degree by Lynnae J. Rome has been approved for the Re cording Arts Program by Leslie Gaston Bird, Chair Lorne Bregitzer Gus Ski nas Date : May 12, 2018

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! iv Rome, Lynnae J. (M.S., Recording Arts Program ) The Role of the Independent Audio Engineer in the National Recording Preservation Plan Thesis d irected by Associate Professor Leslie Gaston Bird ABSTRACT T his re port explore s the Library of Congress' actions , including reports and recommendations made by the National Recording Preservation Board following the pass age of the Nation al Recording Preservation Act in 2000 . The report calls attention to the audio preservation activities of private and non profit organizations, which are a cause for national concern . Finally, a case study of the process and procedure of archiving a vintage, ! inch reel to reel mag netic tape recording into a recommended digital format will be presented. This will serve as a demonstration for how the independent audio engineer , though consulting published guides on audio preservation , may contribut e to this important work. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved by : Leslie Gaston Bird

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! v DEDICATION I dedicate this work to my husband , Steven Cleveland . Without his efforts in making homemade pizza, I would not have eaten t oday.

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! vi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank Kevin Clock, mentor and friend, for participating in this project and making it happen no matter what, as you do . I wish to recognize the MEIS faculty, particularly Leslie Gaston Bird, David Bondelevitch, Lorne Bregitzer, Jeff Merkel and Pete Buchwald for their encouragement and guidance throughout my studies. I extend my appreciation to Gus Skin as for participating on the committee for this study . I also extend my thanks to fellow members of the Colorado Section of the Audio Engineering Society, especially Doug Greenlee and Tim Gulsrud who never t urn down a chance to talk shop.

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! vii TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 1 ! History ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 1 ! National Recording Preservation Act ................................ ................................ ........ 1 ! National Recording Preservation Registry ................................ ............................. 2 ! National Recording Preservation Board ................................ ................................ 3 ! National Recording Preservation Foundation ................................ ........................ 3 ! National Recording Preservation Plan ................................ ................................ ...... 4 ! Plan Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 5 ! Achievements to Date ................................ ................................ ........................... 5 ! Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 5 ! Opportunities for Independent Audio Engineers ................................ ....................... 6 ! Audio Preservation Education Programs ................................ ............................... 7 ! Diversity of Source Media ................................ ................................ ...................... 8 ! Grant Funding ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 10 ! II. METHODS ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 12 ! Purpose of the Study ................................ ................................ ............................... 12 ! Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 12 ! ! Inch Reel to Reel Magnetic Tape to Digital ................................ ......................... 13 Signs of Degradation ................................ ................................ ........................... 13 ! Mitigation ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 18

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! viii Challenges ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 21 Archiving Procedure ................................ ................................ ................................ 24 Objective ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 24 Guidelines ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 25 Process ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 28 III. RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 46 ! IV. CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 48 ! Additional Considerations ................................ ................................ ....................... 49 ! Final Thoughts ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 50 ! REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 53 !

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! 1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION History I n 2000, the United States Congress passed the National Recording Preservation Act directing the Librarian of Congress to establish a plan to archive the nation's recorded sound history and make recommendations for cooperation between all stakehol ders of this national treasure. It took thirteen years and the help of a do nation from musician Jack White to finally establish the National Re cording Preservation Foundation, which aims to begin enacting the p reservation plan. The challenges in preserving these treasured recordings are numerous, including the sheer number of rec ordings that require archiving, the limited number of qualified personnel, the acute need to rapidly complete the preservation process due to deteriorating media, technical considerations and lack of best practices, copyright barriers, and limited funding. National Recording Preservation Act There were seve ral Congressional mandates in the National Recording Preservation A ct of 2000, including the establishment of the following: • National Recording Registry • Nationa l Recording Preservation Board • National R ecording Preservation Foundation The purpose, as stated by the act , was to "to establish the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress to maintain and preserve sound recordings that are culturally,

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! 2 historically, or aesthetically signif icant, and for other purposes " (United States. Cong. House. H . R. 4846 , 2000, p.1 ) . Alt h ough ther e have been useful studies with regard to the scope of audio collections in need of archiving and the medium on which the recordings exist , significant re sults of this conservation project a re yet to be delivered. In May of 2015, the ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation was published. This guide was commissioned for and sponsored by the N ational Recording Preservation B oard (NRPB) and co published by the Asso ciation for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) , the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and the Library of Congress (LOC) . Additionally, several professional organizations and experts in the field have published publically accessible preser vation guidelines , as well as white papers and journal articles that are accessible though membership or subscriptions. A s of this writing , the public awaits a singular , definitive international standards and best practices manual for migrating and archivi ng recorded works. National Recording Preservation Registry The registry that was mandated by the National Recording Preser vation Act has been active since 2002. The Preservation Board has been tasked with choosing an d preserving audio recordings t hat a re culturally, historicall y or aesthetically significant (United States. Cong. House. H . R.4846 ) . Each year, beginning in 2002, the board has selected 25 recordings to be archived and included in the registry. The selections are eli gible for in clusion based on 1) Librarian 's criteria and 2) having been created at least ten years prior to its inclusion. The 2012 registry included the titles "A Program of Song" (album) Leontyne Price (1959); "The Dark Side of the Moon" (album) Pink Floyd (1973);

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! 3 a nd "Music Time in Africa: M auritania " Leo Sarkisian, host (July 29, 1973). The Registry aims to provide a collection of significant works that are available to the public , but is certainly not comprehensive . The complete registry can be accessed at the L ibrary of Congress Website https://www.loc.gov/programs/national recording preservation board/recording registry/complete natio nal recording registry listing/ . I t is estimated that there are 46 million works in libraries and public archives with 44 percen t of those work s being reported in "unknown condition" (Bamberger & Brylawski , 2010 ) . National Recording Preservation Board The board consists of qualified members of seventeen organizations including performance rights organizations, the Music Library Associati on, the Audio Engineering Society, the Digital Media Association and other stakeholders and experts in recorded sound. The board is designated to meet a minimum of one time annually. The terms and responsibilities of the board are outlined in the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000. National Re cording Preservation Foundation The foundation was also mandated and provides funding for private collectors, libraries and commercial entities that do not have the resources to preserve their collections. I ts mission is to " support archives, libraries, cultural institutions and others committed to preserving America's radio, mus ic and recorded sound heritage." The foundation has established a website at www.recordingpreservation.org that acts as an aggregat or for both technical guides and links to audio archives that are available for public consumption.

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! 4 National Recording Preservation Plan The Council in Library and Information Resources and Library of Congress published The Library of Congress National Recording Preservation Plan in 2012. The plan is the foll ow up to the 2010 National Recording Preservation Board document, The State of Recorded Sound Preservation in the United States: A National Legacy at Risk in the Digital Age. The plan outlines 32 re commendations for sh ort and long term preservation. The plan requires participation from the public and private sector, inviting expertise and contribution from all stakeholders. The topics of concern in the plan are preservation infrastructure, preserva tion strategies, public access to the archived recordings and long term solutions. One notable detail of th e 2012 National Recording Preservation P lan (p.19) is to : Initiate a program to videotape interviews and demonstrations by senior audio engineers. To do cument recording practices used to capture sound from legacy media, lecture demonstrations by expert practitioners should be videotaped. They should cover older formats, playback techniques, and playback systems. The videos should be developed under t he auspices of the Board and made available on the Audio Preservation Resource Directory as free podcasts or webcasts. Possible partners with the Board include ARSC and AES, as these organizations already have taken preliminary steps to address this i ssue by identifying and interviewing experts . This would provide an invaluable resource for non specialists in audio archiving by providing credible information and advice.

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! 5 Plan Overview The Plan encompasses four main points of necessity. 1. The plan identifies the need to develop the infrastructure necessary including storage facilities, education, and research. 2. The second point is to develop a centralized strategy for preservation including practical tools and implementation models. 3. Third is provid ing public access to archives for educational purposes. This will include solving complications arising from copyright laws. 4. The last area of concern is long term strategies. The Board will be central in this phase of the plan in providing strong leadersh ip. Achieve ments to Date The National Recording Preservation Act of 2000 has resulted in the achievement of a few primary goals. The Registry, Board, and Foundation are in place. The Bo ard has been instrumental in publishing several publications based on studies and roundtable discussions , including the ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation (2015) . The $200 million dollar Packard Campus faci lity dedicated to audio visual c onservation was establishe d in Culpeper, Virginia in 2007 (Nelson Strauss et al . , 2012 ) . The ambitious video program has, unfortunately, not come t o fruition as of this writing. Limitations Implementing the goals of the National Recording Preservation Plan will continue to be a protracted process. The Na tional Recording Preservation Board has been tasked with a colossal und ertaking that requires funding, consensus among experts in

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! 6 the field, cooperation from large and small institutions, a highly specialized labor force, and time. Given that the National Re cording Preservation Board is tasked to meet only annually , and took thirteen years to produce a plan for the future, it can be predicted that the full recommendations will fail to take hold until well into the future. The board has made an encouraging , while gradual, st art. Unfortunately , this task requires increased urgency due to the physical formats and playback devices deteriorating rapidly over time, which could prevent the program content to be captured and migrated , and perhaps lost forever. Op portunities for Independent Audio Engineers According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the job growth fo r sound engineering technicians between 2016 and 2026 is projected at 1,100 new jobs, or 6 % growth (U.S. Department of Labor, 2018 ) . New job opportunit ies in the field appear to be scarce for sound technicians , therefore the traine d audio engineer s may look to careers in which they are self employed . The question remains as to wh at the incentive might be for a freelance audio engineer to participate in t his preservation work. The work demands a high level of expertise; it is time consuming and requires expensive materials and equipment with high operation costs . Playback equipment costs are often governed by the whims of the consumer market, as evidence d by the current inflated cost of reel to reel tape machines. Audiophiles are embracing reel to reel tape and are consequently snatching up vintage professional tape machines at a cost of $10,000.00 and up , inflating the cost of the machines due to high d emand (Butterworth , 2017 ) . In addition

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! 7 to this financial hurtle, the engineer must invest time and money into research, education and training. W hen charging market rate for archiving work, the job may become cost prohibitive to many small and large coll ectors alike , and the engineer can easily lose a bid . Freelance audio engineers , non specialists and small studios may quickly find the business of audio preservation to be an unsustainable business model. However, with the proper standards in place alon g with free access to guidelines and training, access to playback and recording hardware/software, and infrastructure, perhaps the independent engineer may offer an important contribution to the critical task of audio preservation and archiving . This woul d demand partnerships with public libraries, educational institutions and professional organizations. The freelance audio labor force may be an untapped resource within the National Rec ording Preservation Plan. Audio P reservation Education Programs A m ap to successfully archive recordings will include education for audio engineers. Highly skilled preserv ation engineers work t hroughout the U.S., but there remains no authoritative manual directing audio engineers on proper methods of preservation for eac h given format . A number of preservation guidelines that are accessible to the general public are very useful, but they are not comprehensive and do not replace the guidance offered by professionals in the field. The Library of Congress website that is de dicated to the National Recording Preservation Plan provides a list of university programs under Tools & Resources where only five university programs are listed . Given the scarcity and barriers to entry of related university programs, the field is

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! 8 in nee d of profound solutions to disseminate the information and skills necessary to participate in audio preservation. Diversity of Source Media There is a tremendous diversity of source media among the items in need of digitizing and archiving. Many of the media types are obsolete, have deteriorated to the point that they are unplayable, or the playback machines are no longer functional. Audio preservation experts have devised new ways of transferring this obsolete media. For example, it is advised in the ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation that rare or important wax cylinders are not played on historical equipment. Similarly, as Dictaphone belts become more brittle and present with creases, they cannot be played on historical equipment that bends them betwee n two rollers, so mo dified playback devices are being used to replay the content (Chamoux , 2018 ) . Below is a table of vintage physical media , demonstrating the variety of some media utilized over time . This does not include modern digital media formats, which are also susceptible to damage and loss.

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! 9 Table I.1 Compiled table of audio recording media (Hess , 2006 ) (Library of Congress)

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! 10 A ccording to the 2010 report from the National Recording Preservation Board, 90% of the media in small collec tion s are on cassette tapes (Bamberger & Brylawski , 2010 ) . Cassette tapes were manufactured from 1962 Ð present, and are subject to the same deterioration that can be seen in reel to reel tapes. As they are polyester based, loss of tape lubrication and binder hydrol ysis , or sticky shed syndrome , can present in tapes that have been stored in heat or humidity. Due to their portable nature, the tapes are often subjected to excessive heat and debris, as they are often stored in cars. T apes in these climate conditions ca n become unplayable as well as dama ge the playbac k machine (Brylawski et al . , 2015 ) . Restoration presents a special challenge, as the thickness of the tapes makes them more fragile than reel to reel tapes and the proven damage mitigation techniqu es cannot be used on cassettes (Hess , 2006 ) . Grant Funding Both public and private collections will require funding to archive their recordings. The 2010 report o n the State of Recorded Sound exam ines the problems with funding and advocacy . Funding and advo cacy for recorded sound preservation is decentralized and inadequate. Recorded sound preservation has been declared a national objective; however, without greater support as a matter of public policy, this objective will not be realized (Bamberger & Brylawski , 2010 , p. 4 ) . The report notes that the additional considerations of copyright ownership and legal access to the audio recordings complicate the matter of grant funding. Requests for

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! 11 funding for recording preservation will compete with preservation of differe nt media absent of this additional obstacle.

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! 12 CHAPTER II METHODS Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study is to ascertain the feasibility of an independent audio engineer to migrate an analog tape recording to a digital copy for the purpose of preserving the recorded content . Overview To conduct the study, a vintage ! inch reel to reel tape was obtained from a pri vate collector. The tape contains what is believed to be a second or third generation transfer of a n early Otis Redd ing recording session. Documentation indicates the content is a session of The Shooters from July 21, 1960 recorded at Gold Star Recording Studios. The original program content occupied a " inch reel to reel tape and was migrated as a mix to the ! inch r eel to reel tape in 1985 . Three best practices documents were consulted while migrating the recording, including Capturing Analog Sound for Digital Preservation : R eport of a Roundtable D iscussion of Best Practices for Transferring Analog D iscs and T apes from the National Recording Preservation Board published in 2006, the ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation from May 2015 , and the IASA Guidelines on the Production and Preservation of Digital Audio Objects (web edition) from 2009. Additionally, t he engineer w ho transferred the original content to the ! inch tape was consulted before, during , and after the migration to digital format .

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! 13 ! I nch Reel to Reel Magnetic Tape to Digital Reel to reel, or open reel , m agnetic tape is a format that was manufactured from 1935 to the p resent. Th is layer based format is subject to deterioration that arises from age, unfavorable storage conditions and mishandling . The layers include a flexible substrate or base film (paper, cellulose acetate, or PET, Polyethylene terephthal ate aka M ylar/ P olyester / T enzar ), fine ferromagnetic particles (oxide) suspended in a binder that includes lubrication. Some tap es are also produced with a back coating (Hess , 2006 ) . Each layer can present a unique point of failure for degradation of the medium. T here have been a wide variety of chemical formulations used in the production of magnetic tape over the course of 80 years, making the task of identifying the exact type of tape difficult. Properties of each chemical formulation have different ef fects over time , and under cert ain conditions, which leaves preservationists in a position where they must make educated , but uncertain decisions about how to care for the tape that is in their custody. Signs of Degradation Vintage reel to reel tapes, even when stored in ideal conditions, can present signs of degradation. C ommon problems that are observed i n magnetic tape are cupping, binder hydrolysis ( or sticky shed syndrome /SSS ) , and vinegar syndrome in acetate tape . In the case of cupping, the bin der layer of magnetic tape may shrink at a different rate than the base o f the tape (Brylawski et al . , 2015 ) . Identifying sticky shed syndrome can be difficult until the tape is played back, as the symptoms may not present with the naked eye. If the tape is sque aling, presenting signs of stic tion (tape

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! 14 sticks to heads and guides on the playback machine) and/or leaves a gummy deposit on the machine, chances are likely that the tape is suffering from SSS. Figure 2 .1 Gummy deposit accumulated on heads aft er playing a tape with SSS.

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! 15 Figure 2 .2 Residue from cleaning heads on tape machine after playing a tape with SSS. Mechanical damage can occur when a tape is stored with a loose or uneven tension pack , or on a hub without flanges or hold down tape to pro tect it from unwinding and other physical harm. Wrinkles can imprint on the tape causing dropouts as the wrinkl ed parts of the tape pass un evenly over the repr oduce head on the tape machine. Multiple layers of the tape can inherit the wrinkles if the def ormed part of the tape is wound within the tape pack and st ored that way .

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! 16 Figure 2 .3 Example of wrinkl ed 2 inch tape submitted f or migration to digital format. Wrinking can occur from mishandling and not properly winding the tape. This tape also suffers from SSS. A cultivated vocabulary is crucial to the learning process . This allows for more targeted research and clear communication with mentors and advisors. Any audio engineer who is inexperienced in restoration and archiving would be advised to ex plore vocabulary in glossaries, professional journals and among colleagues . One example of a robust list of terms and definitions to describe tape condition is available on the IASA website in the publication IASA Cataloguing Rules (IASA Editorial Group, 1999) , and includes: • Backcoat shedding • Bleeding • Blocking

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! 17 • Brittleness • Cinching • Cupping • Curvature • Damaged reel (or cassette or cartridge casing) • Dust or Dirt (Dirty/Oily) • Edge damage • Embossing • Gummy deposit • Hydrolysis • Interlayer adhesion • Kink • Leafing • Loose w ind • Magnetic coating lift • Magnetic coating shedding • Magnetic losses • Manufacturing surface defect • Mould (Mouldy) • Scouring • Splice • Splice, dry (Dry splice)

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! 18 • Spoking • Squealing • Stiction • Stretch • Vinegar Syndrome • Windowing (Windows) • Wrinkle Mitigation Some of the symptoms of damage can be mitigated in order to bring the tape to a state in which it can be played back. Mechanical damage, such as wrinkling, may be repaired by cutting off the damaged section and using splicing tape to replace it with acid free paper leader tape, providing there is no program content on the wrinkled section. Hydrolysis (moisture absorption) is the offender that can cause sticky shed syndrome. Magnetic particles shed and debris begin s to build up on the tape machine, making playbac k impossible as both the tape and the machine become damaged. There are a variety of options for repairing PET tapes suffering from sticky shed syndrome (SSS , also known as binder hydrolysis and a sub category of sticky binder syndrome) that are suggested in the NR PB r oundtable discussion, ARSC guide and IASA g uidelines including environmental chambers and desiccants (substance that absorbs moisture from the air) , and baking (incubation). All three guides warn against incubation unless it is a last resort and done for preservation transfers only . Incubation is a

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! 19 remedy for polyester based tapes only . Acetate tapes must be treated differently ; they are likely to be damaged by the baking process. Mitigation for acetate tapes is a subject in need of further research, as there is little me ntion of procedures for acetate backed tapes in any of the guidelines. The ARSC guide state s that "baking should be done in laboratory grade ovens by trained professionals " and only with metal flanges, not plastic (Brylawsk i et al., 2015, p.60) . However, the 1993 patent that describes the process suggests that the advantage is that it can be practiced with the use of a standard por table consumer convection oven ( Medeiros et al ., 1993 ) . While t he NRPB, ARSC and IASA recommen d treating SSS with the less destructive use of desiccants and environmental chambers , the se method s are time consuming , as they must be done over the course of several months. It is reported that desiccants are not always effective. Therefore, i ncubatio n offers expediency that man y restoration projects require. According to Richard Hess, PET tapes that are expected to suffer from sticky shed syndrome and respond well to incubation include: • Pre 1990 Agfa PEM 468 and PEM 469 • Ampex/Quantegy 406, 407, 456 , 457 • Early 1980s Audiotape/Capitol: Q15 • Scotch/3M: 226, 227, 806, 807, 808, 809 PET tapes that do not respond to incubation are: • Scotch/3M 175 • Sony PR 150

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! 2 0 • Melody 169 • Pyral tapes • Any cassette that squeals ( Hess, 2006, p. 11 12). These lists are not compreh ensive, but do offer some insight on the more common tapes that might emerge in migrating content in the course of an audio engineer's career. The NRPB, ARSC and IASA guidelines present only a birds eye view of mitigation processes, therefore detailed ins tructions to repair damaged media for playback must be researched before proceeding with any process . US Patent 5,236,790 sets forth basic guidelines for incubation and can be referenced as a starting point for restoration from SSS . The 1993 patent is as signed to Ampex Systems Corporation and suggests that typica l tape restoration incubation temperature is 54¡ C ( or 129.2¡ F) for 16 hours at ambient humidity. Alternately, the IASA guidelines suggest incubation at 50¡C (122¡ F) for 8 12 hours at 0% humidity. Upon further searches, the incubation (baking) procedures provided in anecdotal resources such as the Tangible Technology website and the ARSClistserv range from 120¡F t o 145¡F with incubation times anywhere f rom 1 hour to 24 hours or more. It appears t hat incubation times and temperatures that are effective vary and depend on the tape composition and condition , how many tapes are being baked at once, the size of the tape and other factors . Because there is no standard agreement between published resour ces, t he procedures appear to be largely experimental.

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! 21 As a practical guide, the instructions from Eddie Ciletti on his Tangible Technology website have been an effective resource for incubation, with suggestions on the exact consumer level dehydrator t hat can be used as opposed to a convection oven or hair dryer. The Ciletti guide makes note of checking for magnetic fields on the incubation device so as not to bring about damage to the magnetic particles on the tape, and also offers time and temperatur e suggestions for various tape sizes (Ciletti, 2011 ) . The guide instructs the user to flip the tape every half hour of incubation. The author has consulted this guide to restore dozens of vintage PET tapes and has found that the suggestions that are on t he conservative side of temperatures and times have been effective for successful playback . Challenges While restoration is possible in many cases of PET based tapes , there are circumstances when the media cannot be restored to allow for playback. Damage d tape with paper or acetate ba se can present special challenges that may require specialized equipment or materials that may be considered too difficult or expensive to acquire. These restorations may also demand techniques that are too risky or advanced for an engineer new to audio ar chiving. In this circumstance, the engineer must consider whether s/he has the resources to properly complete the transfer. The quality and condition of the pl ayback machine and recording rig must be considered to meet bas ic recommendations for archival quality transfers , and to meet the needs of the media . Reel to reel tape offers a variable format with different playback speeds, track numbers and track configurations. Two consumer tapes that were

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! 22 considered for the study contain descriptions of the track . The Fantasia tape alerts the user "This tape recording contains two automatic reversing signals, one at end of side A program, the other at the end of side B. These program reversing signals function only with tape rec orders which are equipped with Ampex style reversing circuitry." Figure 2 .4 Back of tape box for commercially released recording. Another example of an alternate tape track conf iguration is below. T he printed instructions on the box are "All Radio Yes teryear tapes are recorded at ! track to insure compatibility with all machines. To play this tape on a " track recorder, turn the right channel playback volume control to Ôoff'".

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! 23 Figure 2 .5 Front of tape box for commercially released 3# IPS tape. The archiving process can be much less complicated w hen the documentation for the tape is pr ovide d with the tape itself. However, in many cases, there is little or no documentation and the tapes themselves must be identified by a best guess. Absent of docume ntation, tape track configuration can be viewed with a magnetic viewer. (Bailey , 2012 ) . It is unlikely that a studio or freelance engineer would have a need for this device unless their work involves archiving on a regular basis . The cost of a magnetic v iewer is between $99 and $400. If the content on the tape is unknown, and the tape appears to be in good condition, the engine er may attempt to play the tape, but immediately stop if the playback presents any signs of degradation: stiction, shedding,

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! 24 sque aling or any other symptom that does not occur in normal operation. At that point, the engineer must decide if and how the tape will be restored for playback. T he playback machine must be clean and well maintained , the A/D converters should be high quali ty and capable of a minimum of 96 kHz sam ple rate and 24 bit depth. T he signal path should be as clear as possible to achieve transparency in order to faithfully capture t he content and meet standards put in place by the various guidelines . Archiving Pr ocedure The study examines the procedures involved in migrating analog audio to a digital format. The migration process began with research and consultation through referencing guidelines and seeking expert counsel . Every attempt was made to follow best practices , given real world time and budget constraints . Decisions were made regarding which guideline to follow at any given step, and how to proceed . The importance of this section is to demonstrate the level of ease or challenge a typical independen t audio engineer would encounter in correctly digitizing and archiving a vintage recording . Objective The NRPB defines the objective of migrating audio as capturing "complex analog signals with as much transpare ncy to the original as practical " (National R ecording Preservation Board , 2006, p.34 ) . Given that stipulation, the tape selected for this study will inherently not satisfy the criteria , as it is not a first generation recording, and it is known that the transfer in 1985 introduced at least one devic e into the recording chain.

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! 25 Additionally, the engineer who completed the transfer believes that he may have transferred the " inch tape to 2 inch tape and then back to the ! inch tape , making the tape in the study a third generation transfer . However, cr iteria can be set for this tape, as the standards for migration can be applied to this specific transfer. The content of the final digital object will not be true to the original recording, but it can be as true as possible to the content in its current s tate. Guidelines Three published , and publically accessible, guides were selected to use as a referen ce during the migration process: The National Recording Preservation Board Capturing Analog Sound for Digital Preservation: Report of a Roundtable D iscuss i on of Best Practices for Transferring Analog Discs and T apes (National Recording Preservation Board, 2006) , ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation (Brylawski et al . , 2015), and Guidelines on the Production and Preservation of Digital Audio Objects (IASA Technic al Committee, 2009) . These guides offer a broad view and some details into the archiving process. Additional resources were consulted, including publications, web sites and experts in the field. Selected topics from these guidelines are compared in the fol lowing table.

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! 26 Table II.1 Guide comparison chart, page 1 .

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! 27 Table II.2 Guide comparison chart, page 2 .

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! 28 Process The ARSC Guide indicate s that the process of archiving content from one physical medium to another is expected to take three t ime s the run time of the content. These steps , according to the guidelines, include: • Audio Object Inspection • Alignment of Playback Equipment • Signal Extraction • Quality Control • Embedding of Metadata • Checksum Calculation • Ingest Into Long Term Storage In o rder to estimate the length of time needed for the study, the ! inch tape stored on a 10! inch reel was examined and found to be s omewhat less than 2500 feet in length at a speed of presumably 30 IPS . The manufacturer provided markings describing the leng th of tape on the tape reel, and the engineer inscribed the speed on the tape storage box ; it should be noted that speed could not be confir med until the initial audition playback. Using a tape run time chart, th e run time was determined to be less than 1 5 minutes , which established the ar chiving time to be a pproximately 45 minutes. Audio Object Inspection. The inspe ction process is an information gathering exercise, which can include everything from the content on the tape to the properties of the media itself. During the initial inspection on March 31, 2018, the tape was examined

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! 29 in its box at Colorado Sound Studios . The only information on the box included an inscribed "30 IPS" , with no additional tracking sheets or further information . When visually inspected, the tape appeared to be in good condition with no visible signs of mechanical damage. The engineer who provided the tape for the study was present, and was consulted on the nature of the recording . He also advised throughout , and contributed to the migration process . The Ampex ATR 104 tape machine operation was new to the author and supervision was necessary to operate it effectively . The information gathered from the engineer's recollection is that the tape was likely still in the original b ox and on the original reel, s o it was presumed that the tape was a Scotch 3M 226. The content was recorded from a " inch reel to reel two track binaural tape recording . The engineer could not recall the exact year, but remembered the album he was working on that was released in the same year, which was Chuck Pyle's Drifters Wind. Given that information, it was determined that the content was recorded onto the ! inch tape in 1985. This information led to the detail that the signal would have been sent thr ough the console that was in the studio in 1985, which was a Trident TSM. The engineer believed that it was likely that the content was mixed through the Trident TSM onto a 2 inch tape. Then it would have been bounced in stereo onto the ! inch tape prese nt ed for the study. Since there was no d ocumentation with the tape box to verify that the content was what was believed to be on the tape, and to determine whether the tape was suffering from SSS ( as expected , based on the fact that it is a Scotch 3M 226 tape) , the decision was made to attempt to play it.

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! 30 The tape machine used for playback is the precise machine that was used in 1985 to transfer the content to the ! inch tape. It is an Ampex ATR 104. The machine was prepared by removing the head stock an d cleaning with 99% isopropyl alcohol on cotton swabs and demagnetized with a degausser. The machine was then calibrated with MRL reproducer alignment tape: 0dB, 30 IPS, AES (IEC2) Equalization, 250 nWb/m ref. fluxivity; for +6 dB, it was set to 3dB. F igure 2.6 MRL calibration tape. ! After the machine was calibrated , the heads, guides and tension arms were cleaned with 99% isopropyl alcohol and cotton swabs one more time before playback. As the audition playback began, it was determined that the conten t on the tape was the content that was expected. However, t he tape quickly showed signs of SS S with stiction causing the tape to slow the machine and tension arms to be put under stress. The playback was stopped and the tape was shuttle w ound tails out f or restoration. Although it is advised to wind vintage tapes in play speed for a library wind with a flat tape pack even tension throughout, shuttle wind on the Ampex ATR 104 is a compromise between Play and Fast Forward or Rewind . Time restrictions dema nded a

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! 31 faster solution than playback. The machine was cleaned again, and found to have deposits on the heads, as is common with SSS. The time involved in the entire process of testi ng the tape was approximately 50 minutes. Because the tape was exhibitin g signs of SSS, and the project needed to be completed promptly, the decision was made to incubate the tape. More conservative solutions would have taken too long to complete in the timeframe allotted for the project. An important test to ensure tha t the tape is a candidate for incubation is to shine light from behind the tape with something behind the tape to view a shadow (see figure s below) . The objective is to determine the composition of the base of the tape. If the tape is PET based, it will be opaque. This will indicate that it is safe to bake. If the tape is acetate based, it will be transparent and cannot be baked without damaging the tape and must be treated differently. ! Figure 2 .7 PET base d tape is opaque, and light will no t pass through. This test determined that this tape is safe to bake for restoration .

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! 32 Figure 2 .8 Acetate base d tape is transparent, as a shadow is visible when illuminated from behind. This tape cannot be baked for restoration without damage to the tape . Restoration. The steps from the ARSC guidelines that suggest the time it takes to complete a migration do not include restoration, though many media items will require restoration prior to capturing the signal. The incubation process on this ! inch ta pe was completed on April 5, 2018 at Colorado Sound Studios. Equipment used included a NESCO America n Harvest 500 watt dehydrator with a variable thermostat and modified trays, a domestic grill thermometer to monitor the dehydrator's internal temperature and a n iPhone as a timer.

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! 33 Figure 2 .9 Incubator rig . An arbitrary incubation temperature and time were select ed based o n consulting the guides, the patent, advisors, and from personal experience. Since the tape was sticky and s hedding only to a minor degree, but not squealing or leaving excessive deposits, it was determined that a 1! hour bak e at 130¡ F would be attempted. Recommendations for much longer times were disregarded, as the tape could be returned to incubate aga in should the first incubation fail to produce desired results .

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! 34 Figure 2 .10 Domestic dehyd rator used for tape incubation. Figure 2 .11 Thermometer placed in center of dehydrator to monitor temperature.

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! 35 Figure 2 .12 Thermostat set t o just above 125¡F to reach a temperature of 130¡F. Figure 2 .1 3 Monitoring time and temperature with domestic thermometer and iPhone.

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! 36 T he dehydrator was first pre heated while empty , with the thermostat set to approximately 130¡F while monitoring the te mperature. It was discovered that the the thermostat on the dehydrator was alarmingly inaccurate, and needed to be adjusted down at least 5¡F to achieve the correct temperature. The tape was not inserted until the temperature was accurate. The tape was placed on the second to the bottom ring of the dehydrator to keep it farther from the dehydrator motor and fan and still allow air flow. The tape was flipped at 30 minutes, 30 mi nutes, 15 minutes and removed after the final 15 minutes, enabling even incu bation time on each side of the tape. The temperature monitor indicated that each time the lid was lifted to flip the tape, the internal temperature dropped a pproximately 8¡F and would take about one minute to get back up to temperature after the lid was closed again . After one hour of operation with the thermostat set at the same level, the temperature increased to 134¡F, and the thermostat was adjusted down to achieve a temperature closer to 130¡F. The inconsistency in the dehydrator temperature demand s that any incubation that is not in a laboratory grade oven be closely monitored. Further study regarding temperature inconsistencies in domestic dehydrator s would be useful , as well as further study on the acceptable amount of temperature fluctuations i n incubation without further compromising the media . Upon completion of the process at approximately 6:30 pm, the dehydrator was opened and the tape was left to cool overnight to prepare for the transfer session the next morning . According to guides , in ideal conditions incubated tapes should be cooled to the ambient temperature of the room where the transfer will take place. They

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! 37 should not be pla yed back on tape machines until they have cooled. Figure 2 .1 4 Tape left to cool . A useful modif ication to the dehydrator is when plastic grill s are carefully cut out from every other ring in order to accommodate 2 inch tape formats. Results of the incubation would not be revealed until the next morning, as there are no visual indicators of a succes sful incubation. The incubation process took approximately 4 hours from unpacking equipment to packing it back up and leaving the tape to rest for the night. Alignment of Playback Equipment. According to the ARSC guidelines, step two begins with alignmen t of the playback equipment. For this study, it is step three , and took place at 7:30 am on April 6, 2018 . The Ampex ATR 140 was cleaned and aligned in exactly the same fashion that it was done during the inspection phase. The tape head stack was remove d, cleaned and de magnetized and then replaced in preparation for the calibration tape. The machine was calibrated with MRL reproducer

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! 38 alignment tape, 0dB, 30 IPS, AES (IEC2) Equalization, 250 nWb/m ref. fluxivity . The machine was calibrated at 1 kHz on Re pro G ain to 3dB on VU meters, 10kHz on Repro EQ Hi Speed Hi Freq to 3dB on VU meters, 16kHz it was observed that VU meters dropped 1dB (but there is no adjustment available ), and 100Hz Repro EQ Hi Speed Low Freq to 3dB on VU meters . This is the precise adjustment that was done on the machine in 1985, given that the engineer from the original session was present, advising and contributing to this session. The heads, guides and tension arms were cleaned with 99% isopr opyl alcohol on cotton swabs before th e tape was prepared for transfer. Signal Extraction . Consideration in the signal extraction phase includes decisions regarding the media and format to migrate the program content to, creating a transparent signal path for optimal reproduction, optimal lev els, and preparing for failures. Ideally, when digitizing analog content that is on a compromised medium, it is best to transfer to a RAID system so that multiple copies can be captured at once in case of failure. The NRPB and IASA agree that the digital standards for archival preservation are 96 kHz sample rate and 24 bit depth BWF.wav files. The organizations arrived at this decision after much debate when considering interoperability, simplicity , and ubiquity of linear Pulse Code Modulation (IASA Techn ical Committee, 2009 ) . While they recognize that alternatives should be explored, the current standard is set for now. With these considerations in mind, it was decided that the signal would pass from the tape machine, through a patch bay and patched di rectly into input 1 2 in the DAW, Avid Pro Tools HDX version 12. While the ideal would be to remove the patch bay from

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! 39 the signal chain, it was not practical to do so. Storage was on a G Drive external hard d rive with thunderbolt connector with a transf e r rate of 165 MBps and spindle speed of 7200 rpm (G Technology ) . Additional specifications for this session include the following: Mac Pro 6 Core Int el Xeon E5/3.5 GHz Processor/1 6GB RAM Avid Pro Tools HDX Version 12 Avid Pro Tools HD I/O Metering with i Z otope Insight as plugin on the Master Fader The Pro Tools session was set up for 96 kHz sample rate and 24 bit depth with a BWF .wav file. While the author considered the full guidelines, s everal concessions were made in the decisio ns based on time consi derations, accessibility and experience. The initial playback test signals appeared to be within an acceptable level, with Peak Levels L at 3dBFS and R at 2.7 dBFS. The guidelines call for " as close to 0dBFS " Peak Levels as possible, which is somewhat vague for a non specialist to interpret. Without knowing the content material on the entire tape, and given that it is best to play the tape back only once if possible , the levels were left as is , even if slightly lower than optimal to account for higher levels in the content later on the tape . Th e tape was shuttle rewound, and the signal extraction began . A technical complication arose during the recording of the first song. There was a buffer size error that necessitated stopping and reviewing the se ssion setup.

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! 40 Figure 2 .1 5 CPU failure during the first playback . The message is uncommon in this specific system at Colorado Sound Studio s , so the system setup was reviewed and found to be normal.

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! 41 Figure 2 .1 6 Setup verification. The tape was rewo und a thir d time, and replay began again in order to continue capturing the content. The remaining session went according to plan. The tape was stopped between each of the three songs, and the session was saved. The P eak Level on the all three songs rem ained close to, but below, 0dB FS . The session was saved a final time , the studio was returned to normal and the hard drive was retrieved when the session ended at 8:33 am. The program content ru n time including three songs, was found to be 9 minutes 28 s econds. The transfer session took slightly more than 1 hour. Quality Control. The quality control begins during the session while monitoring for quality sound and any anomalies. The metering is important in order to make certain that peak levels st ay below 0dB full scale, but close to it, since the capture for archival

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! 42 purposes will not undergo any further mastering. The meter used was the iZ otope Insight plugin on the master track in Pro Tools. Figure 2 .1 7 Metering with iZ otope Insight. T he recorded content was reviewed by listening to the full program material in Studio B at Colorado Sound Studios , and found to be complete with no dropouts. Results of the metering were logged: Song 1: Getting Hip Peak L: 2.2dBFS, Peak R 2.2dBFS; Integr ated LUFS 15.2; LU 4.3 Song 2: She's Allright Peak L: 3.1dBFS, Peak R 2.7dBFS; Integrated LUFS 15.7; LU 4.7 Song 3: Gamalama Peak L: 1.5dBFS, Peak R 2.5 dBFS; Integrated LUFS 13.9; LU 4.1 T hough the guides leave some interpretation for optimal peak l evels, it is evident that the guidelines do specify to stay below 0dBFS, which was accomplished. The files were

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! 43 played from within Pro Tools, and as a .wav file in the Mac OS Preview to verify that the files were not corrupted. Additional quality control was not conducted beyond these tests. Embedding of Metadata. This specific project does not necessitate embedding of metadata, as the content will not be rel eased to the public and is not part of a library collection. However, metadata options were e xplored regarding the RIN (Recording Information Notification) standard developed by DDEX. The Soundways RIN M plugin is free of charge and compatible with Pro Tools. It allows the metadata of a recording session, from song title, to perfor mer, to engine er, ISRC codes and more to be logged in a .rin file that is sent upstream to any other production house that works on the project. Presumably, the .rin file would stay with the song files. While this plugin is useful for the music industry, it does not ap pear to be a solution for archiving purposes, as the fields may not offer what is needed for preservation files. Metadata suggestions for l arge collections or libraries are available in the ARSC Guide. There are links to free file management solutions av ailable on the Library of Congress website , as well. If the metadata was to be captured for this project, it would include information about the content, with song titles, date, performers, studio where it was originally recorded, any information available from the tracking sheets, the media, speed and track configuration from the original media , then the same information for the ! inch tape that was used in the study , including condition and restoration activities . The recommendation is to include all inf ormation available to future proof the content. Some example s of the metada ta that accompanies professionally

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! 44 prod uced media are tracking sheets and tracking detail reports. Television tracking reports contain different information than tracking sheets for music. Figure 2 .1 8 Example of a tracking detail report from broadcast television. Figure 2 .19 Tracking sheet from a recording session.

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! 45 Details on the c ontent of the recording are not the only metadata to be stored with digital objects. Th e ARSC Guide outlines the metadata to be included as inventory of content and its storage location, administrative metadata, transformative metadata and log events, technical and descriptive metadata, and preservation metadata. This guide is geared toward library use and larger collections, but these guidelines, or parts of the guidelines , might be useful for an individual as well. Checksum Calculation . A checksum calculation is a process to test data integrity. The decision was made to disregard this s tep for the purpose this study. Ingest into Long Term Storage. Modern digital objects are often more fragile than the media that the content has migrated from for the purpose of preservation. Digital files must be actively managed as files can be corrup ted, erased , storage devices damaged, and digita l formats can become obsolete (Brylawski et al . , 2015 ) . Large organizations have robust digital storage systems in place to manage their collections. However, individuals and small organizations must take s pecial care to store files in the safest way possible. The ARSC Guide suggests making several copies of the same set of files to store in different geographic locations. For this study, the files were copied from the original hard drive at the studio to a second external hard drive that is stored in a different location , and a third copy stored in the cloud in Dropbox.

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! 46 CHAPTER III RESULTS The objective of the transfer was to migrate the analog signal on the ! inch tape to an accepted digital for mat for archiving with as much transparency as possible. Absent of the ability to perform tests on the content from original tape that was suffering from SSS, there is no way to measure the transparency of the transfer. The content could not be migrated until the tape was restored to playable condition, and it is believed that incubation can change the character of the original media. However, the conditions were as favorable as possible, with access to the same tape machine that the content was recorded on as well as contributions and advice from the engineer who recorded the content onto the ! inch tape in the study. The signal path was considered, and kept a s transparent as reasonable. The content on the tape was captured with acceptable levels. The program content run time is 9 minutes 28 seconds . Based on the run time, a ccording to the ARSC guide, the entire migration process should have taken a little ove r 28 minutes to accomplish. This study required 7 hours 50 minutes and included testing, rest oration, and the remaining steps in migration. This time does not account for many hours of research necessary to learn vocabulary and grasp a deeper understanding of the analog tape medium. The contrast between the expected time and actual time to compl ete the transfer demonstrates the level of difficulty a non specialist can encounter while learning the process.

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! 47 It was discovered that the three guides that were consulted were helpful, but not adequate as practical guides to transfer the recording for a non specialist . It was necessary to research further and seek help from experts in order to learn to calibrate and us e the unfamiliar tape machin e. While the objective was achieved, it would not have been possible without consulting supplementary publ ications and experts in the field.

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! 48 CHAPTER IV CONCLUSION The study was to ascertain the feasibility of an independent audio engineer to be able to migrate an analog tape recording to a digital copy for the purpose of preser ving the recorded content. While the migration from analog to an accepted digital format was achieved, a non specialist could not have easily completed the project, in isolation, with written guides as the sole resource for information and training . The g uides were found to be excellent resources on background information and selected granular elements , but did not include comprehensive details in most cases . The guides are freely accessible to the public, providing that Internet service is available. In electronic form, the guides were searchable and easily readable. However, some of the information and descriptions were ambiguous and need further definition. For example, specifications for an "acceptable level of introduced altered signal" are include d but not defined. What is "acceptable " in this instance? What criteria would be used to define "acceptable"? The guideline for Peak Level as close to 0dBFS without going over is not specific. Is the target peak level at 3dBFS close enough, or 5dBFS ? This should be defined within a range for clarity . These frustrations inspired searching for answers from different resources . The most helpful supplemental guidance was found to be consulting with a professional expert, reading publications from the Audio Engineering Society (AES) , and the ARSC listserv . These resources are less accessible, as access to the AES p ublications requires membership or access to a library that subscribes to the

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! 49 publication s . The ARSC listserv is accessible with m embershi p to the organization and a request for permission to participate . Personal access to experts in t he field can be difficult if relationships have not been cultivated. Most successful professionals have limited time and would need to consider whether they can afford to take the time to mentor someone. A great deal of preparation is required in order to develop the specialized skills needed for audi o preservation and archiving. Beyond consulting the industry guidelines, t he steps that can better prepare a non sp ecialist for this undertaking include : • Learn the Vocabulary • Read the Manual • Join Professional Organizations such as AES, ARSC, IASA • Find a Mentor/Advisor • Participate in Community The work of audio preservation and archiving is important and reward ing, but it cannot be done in isolation. Additional Considerations Recording p reservation does not have the perception of importance of other challenges that face humanity. For example, when bees vanish due to colony collapse disorder, the earth will ha ve no food. That thought can elicit enough fear to move people into action. However, when warned that many thousands, and possibly millions, of recordings will be destroyed due to age and will be lost forever , there is apathy . The National Recording Pr e servation Act was introduced 18 years ago. In that time, only

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! 50 small steps have been achieved in the activity of migrating our most vulnerable media by comparison to the media that has not been preserved. Illuminating the value of these recordings and arc hiving activities for educational purposes, connection to c ommunity, and connection to history from the ground up may result in a renewed interest in this important work. These aspects of preservation work could be explored , communicated and prioritized . Limiting the archiving process to only specialists results in a lost opportunity to c onnect young people , students, and non specialists to this rewarding work . Partnerships could be explored with local library programs where studen ts participate in prese rvation; universities with audio programs have many students who could be a valuable resource . When framed correctly, local partnerships could offer another solution to create a workforce in the colossal task at hand . Final Thoughts Given the amount of mig ration that must be accomplished in the time prior to media deteriorating beyond playability, the independent audio engineer or audio engineering student could provide an important resource by participating in the preservation task. However, an incredible level of expertise, experience and guidance is necessary to do this work. The barrie r to entry is high, and for many , there is little financial reward due to the time commitment and immense amount of overhead. According to the Library of Congress, it is estimated that 400 years of man hours would be required for archiving just their collections.

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! 51 Non specialists n eed help to close the information gap, and that could start with the NRPB re evaluating the barrier to entry and prioritizing the completion the ir self described Priority #1 from the Roundtable Discussion in 2006: Develop a W eb site that identifies the core competencies for audio preservation engineers. This information could be distributed in video format ( National Recording Preservation Boar d, 2006, p. 13) . Apprenticeships are preferred, but the number of specialists w ho could take on apprentices is not adequate to train the sheer number of people necessary for the work. If the NRPB and Library of Congress were able to provide a free video training or online video certification program for non specialists in each medium, disseminating the research in an accessible way, perhaps requiring assessments to receive a certi ficate , the independent non specialist would have an incentive to participa te . When time is the enemy , a v ideo training program , rather than academic publications, could provide a better solution to prepare a workforce . Video training can be far less time consuming and more comprehensible for the learner than doing the independ ent research that is necessary when referencing guidelines alone. While the publically accessible guidelines are a tremendous primer, they do not offer the depth of study needed to actually do the work. Non specialists could be encouraged to use media a nd program content that is not crucial to preserve in order to practice and fail , and in the process they would gain the necessary skills to help with this work. When more people are prepared and qualified to do the work, all st akeholders win.

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! 52 Another op tion for enlisting assistance in recording preservation would be to incentivize college level audio programs to include an archiving component as a graduation requirement. The feasibility of these solutions should be considered further.

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! 53 REFERENCES B ailey, C. ( 2012). Analog t ape: Do it yourself? Retrieved from htt p://www.baileyzone.net/analog tap e diy.htm B amberger, R., & Brylawski , S. (2010) . The state of recorded sound p reserv ation in the United States!: A national legacy at risk in the digital a ge . N. p . U.S. Department of Labor (2018). Occupational Outlook Handbook , Broadcast an d Sound Engineering Technicians. Bureau of La bor Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media and c ommunication/broadcast and sound engineering technicians.htm Brylawski, S., Lerman, M., Pike, R. , & Smith, K. (Eds.) (2015 ). ARSC Guide to Audio Preserv ation. CLIR. Retrieved from https://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub164/ Butterworth, B. (2017) . The Reel t o Reel Deal : Why analog obsessed audiophiles are returning to reel to reel. JazzTimes. Retrieved from https://jazztimes.com/reviews/audio files/reel to reel audiophile/ Chamoux, H. (2018) . Dictaphone Belt Digitization . ARSClistserve . Retrieved April 7, 20 18 Ciletti, E. (2011 ) . If I Knew You Were Coming I'd Have Baked A Tape! Retrieved from http://tangible technology.com/tape/baking1.html IASA Editorial Group. (1999). Appendix C. Terms for describing the physical condition of sound recordings. Retrieved fro m https://www.iasa web.org/cataloguing rules/appendix c terms physical condition sound recordings IASA Technical Committee. (2009). Guidelines on the production and preservation of digital audio objects (web edition). IASA TC 04 Retrieved from https://iasa web.org/tc04/audio preservation IASA Technical Committee. Dietrich SchŸller,D. & HŠfner, A. (Eds.)(2014). Handling and Storage of Audio and Video Carriers, (= Standards, Recommended Practices and Strategies, IASA TC 05). Retrieved from www.iasa web.org/tc 05/handling storage audio video carriers Audio and Video Carriers

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! 54 Library of Congress. Guide to Vintage Audio Formats National Recording Preservation Plan. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.loc.gov/programs/national recording preservation plan/tools a nd resources/guide to vintage audio formats/ G Technology G DRIVE with Thunderbolt Specs. ( n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cnet.com/products/g technology g drive with thunderbolt 3tb/specs/ Hess, R. (2006). Tape Degradation Factors and Predicting Tape Li fe. AES 121 st Convention. Medeiros, D.A., Curtis, J.L., Perry R.H., & Underwood, J.D. (1993) . U.S. Patent No. US5236790. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. National Recording Preservation Board . (2006) . Capturing analog sound for digital preservation: R eport of a roundtable discussion of best practices for transferring analog discs and tapes. Published: Council on Library and Information Resourc es and Library of Congress . Nelson Strauss, B., Gevinson, A. & Sam Br ylawski . (2012) . The Library of Congress National Recording Preservation Plan . N. p., 2012. Web . Peoples, C., & Maguire, M. (2015). CHAPTER 1 Preserving Audio. In K. Smith, R. Pike, M. Lerman, S. Brylawski, & U. U. Undefined (Eds.), The ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation (p. 6). Eugene, OR: Association for Recorded Sound Collections, Council on Library and Information Resources. Sayers, J. (2013). A Recorded Sound Timeline Compiled by the Recorded Sound Section Library of Congress (pp. 1 5, Rep.). Washington, DC: Library of Congress. United States. Cong. House. H.R. 4846. National Recording Preservation Act of 2000 . United States: N. p., 2000.