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The Stanford Media Preservation Lab (SMPL) – the unit responsible for digitization and preservation of Stanford University Libraries' (SUL) extensive holdings of sound recordings and moving images -- is busy this summer preparing for our new home at 425 Broadway in Redwood City. SMPL is one of several SUL divisions relocating from our current occupancies at 1450-1454 Page Mill Road at the behest of the University.

Over 50 pieces of film, audio, video playback and treatment equipment -- nearly 1 ton of gear -- plus the desks of SMPL's four staff will be moved over Labor Day weekend (August 31 – September 2, 2013). In preparation for the move, normal lab operations will begin to wind down in early August. The work to reconfigure, cable and re-install the equipment will take 2-4 weeks. We expect to resume regular levels of services and productivity by October 1.

Catgut Acoustical Society logo

Stanford University Libraries has provided digital access to large portions of the Musical Acoustics Research Library (MARL) making available important research papers from some of the most eminent acousticians of the 20th century. The MARL collection consisting of nearly 60 linear feet of materials is dedicated to the study of all aspects of musical acoustics.

The Digital Production Group recently finished digitization of the Musical Acoustics Research Library collection and the content is now online.  This collection consists of independent archives or libraries assembled by distinguished groups or individuals in the field of musical acoustics research.  MARL is comprised of the Catgut Acoustical Society Library, the Arthur H. Benade Archive, the John Backus Archive, and the John W. Coltman Archive.

Some of the acoustical knowledge in this research archive has been used by leading players and manufacturers to modify the production of instruments, and the design of concert halls and recording studios.  The research covers not only wind instruments, but also room acoustics, and the interplay between acoustical physicas and the mechanisms of auditory processing . The collection consists of papers, photograhs, medua, digital materials, wood samples, clarinet mouth pieces, and lab equipment.

Above photo taken from the Catgut Acoustical Society Library, Series1, Box18, Folder8 - Condax, Louis M. - Photos: Curtis, and Condax in Studio (http://purl.stanford.edu/qq458wj3438#flipbook)

Check out the collection online: http://www.oac.cdlib.org/view?docId=kt6h4nf6qc;developer=local;style=oac4;doc.view=items

Edward A. Feigenbaum, circa 1970s

With the University Archives making more and more collections available online, I'd like to take the opportunity to highlight some of the novel ways in which these materials are being used by researchers. What follows is a recent report from Ed Feigenbaum, Kumagai Professor of Computer Science Emeritus, about how his papers in particular are yielding interesting connections: 

Betty Grover Eisner audiotape

The Stanford Media Preservation Lab recently completed reformatting the audio tapes contained in the Betty Grover Eisner papers, held by University Archives. Eisner was at the vanguard of using LSD and other psychedelic drugs in her psychotherapy research during the 1950s and 60s. The majority of the tapes document long, multi-hour therapy sessions, with patients on mind alterting substances. Because of the content, which is often sexually explicit, these tapes are restricted; those interested patrons who want to listen to these tapes should contact the University Archivist for more information. A handful of tapes do have worldwide access however, including this cassette of a talk Eisner gave at a UCLA psychology seminar exactly 42 years ago. 

This month marks the start of Stanford Media Preservation Lab's effort to reformat the audiovisual materials from the Benoit Mandelbrot collection. Over the course of the next month, SMPL will complete the project, making the materials available to researchers and patrons through SUL's Department of Special Collections.

Page from journal created by Arthur H. Benade. Acoustical Theory - Woodwind BOIK (Book of Infinite Knowledge) misc. subjects., 1970-1986. (M1711_S3_B74_F1)

Many of the unpublished materials in the Musical Acoustics Research Library records have been digitized, except for personal correspondence and other miscellaneous documents. This includes materials from the four collections: the Catgut Acoustical Society, the John W. Coltman Collection, the Arthur H. Benade Collection, and the John Backus Collection. Researchers may access the digital copies through links from the description in the online finding aid.

The collection was processed in 2011 by Andrea Castillo. For more information please see Andrea's previous article.

The beginning of 2013 has seen a number of significant developments at Stanford's Archive of Recorded Sound, especially in the area of patron services, both at the Archive itself and online.  

Information relating to these improved services can be found on the Archive's new website. This detailed resource also includes information on the Archive's extensive collections, guidelines for planning a research trip to the Archive, and finally recommendations for notable sound recording research tools, both online and in print.

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