Library of Congress Magazine (LCM), Vol. 1 No. 2: November-December 2012 Page: 4
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EVERYTHING OLD IS MADE NEW AGAIN
THE LIBRARY'S RECORDED-SOUND and
moving-image collections are the largest in
the world, comprising approximately 4.5
million items. The task at hand is to preserve
and provide access to these historical and
The Library's Packard Campus for Audio
Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Va.,
provides ample cool, dry storage space
and the latest tools and technologies with
which to extract images and sounds from
disintegrating media. They can then be
preserved in digital formats that can be
served easily to generations of users. Each
type of media presents its own challenges.
At the Packard Campus, pre-1951 motion
pictures made on flammable nitrate film
stock are transferred and preserved on
polyester-based film stock. From there, they
can be transferred to digital media. Several
hundred early motion pictures are accessible
on the Library's website.
Whether the recording medium is an 1880s
wax cylinder, a "shellac" 78-rpm disc from
the 1940s, an eight-track audio tape from
1964 or a Betamax video from 1975, the
Library must maintain the original playback
equipment to preserve its content.
The Packard Campus contains an incredible
wealth of television programs dating back
to the 1940s. Many of these shows are on
old videotape formats which are no longer
manufactured or supported.
"We are always looking for old videotape
machines that work, or spare parts, until
the day comes when we have all the old
programs transferred to an archival format,"
said Michael Mashon, head of the Moving
Image Section of the Motion Picture,
Broadcasting and Sound Division.
The oldest tape format was produced on
2-inch Quadruplex videotape machines
(Quad decks), which were introduced in the
late 1950s and used well into the 1970s.T he
Packard Campus maintains an inventory of
27 Quad decks, of which just a few are in
working condition but valuable sources for
SThe Library keeps old machines
like these on hand in order to play
back film and audio recordings in a
variety of formats. Photo I Abby Braca
First use of color television in )
Washington, D.C. 2-inch Quadruplex
videotape, WRC-TV, May 22, 1958.
President Eisenhower is congratulating NBC on its achievement.
I Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound
Recorded sound preservation is also a challenge. The Library holds
the papers of Emile Berliner (1851-1929), a German-born immigrant
whose inventions, such as the gramophone, contributed to the birth
of the recording industry. The collection includes more than 100 discs
produced by the Berliner Gramophone Company from the mid-1890s
to 1900. The Library has preserved the analog audio to high quality
WAVE files and Real Audio streaming files, and made them accessible
In May 2011, the Library of Congress and Sony Music Entertainment
launched the National Jukebox, a website of more than 10,000 rare
historic sound recordings issued by the Victor Talking Machine
Company between 1901 and 1925. This was made possible by digitizing
the audio from the 78-rpm discs.
"The National Jukebox project makes available to a worldwide
audience a vast collection of music and spoken recordings that have
fallen from our collective cultural memory, bringing them back onto
our soundscape in ways that only digital technology can," said Gene
DeAnna, head of the Recorded Sound Section.
O MORE INFORMATION:
Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation
www. Ioc.gov/avconservat ion/
4 LCM I Library of Congress Magazine
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Office of Communications, Library of Congress. Library of Congress Magazine (LCM), Vol. 1 No. 2: November-December 2012, periodical, November 2012; Washington, D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc133017/m1/6/: accessed April 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .