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SMPL's open door

The Stanford Media Preservation Lab (SMPL) has completed installation of audio and video digitization equipment in its new facilities at 425 Broadway in Redwood City, and has resumed all services. We're 100% back to work, supporting researcher access to SUL's world-class collections of sound recordings and moving images. 

Obsolete tape cleaning equipment packed for the move

The Stanford Media Preservation Lab (SMPL) is making good progress in setting up shop at our new location in Redwood City. 

SMPL moved from Page Mill Road in Palo Alto -- along with HighWire Press, Stanford University Press, LOCKSS, and parts of both Preservation and Special Collections -- to 425 Broadway over Labor Day weekend. (Shortly thereafter Stanford announced plans to redevelop the Redwood City site and create a major auxiliary campus.)  We're very excited about the new space!  It provides us with several opportunities to streamline and improve our facilities, workflows and services. More about that in a future post. For now, here are some photos illustrating our progress. 

Wiki home page

Did you know the Stanford Media Preservation Lab (SMPL) has helped create an online wiki collecting and describing audio and video artifacts one might encounter in the course of reformatting legacy media? Check out our two year update on the Atlas on Indiana University's media preservation blog

Arpa players

Have you ever wanted to explore new music but perhaps needed some inspiration? Some site that wasn’t Top 40 radio?  Let me recommend Smithsonian Global Sound (access for Stanford students, faculty and staff). I recently looked for some traditional mariachi music--perfect for those warm summer days. A search for “mariachi” led me to over 20 albums of mariachi music and related genres.  I chose to play music of the conjunto de arpa grande (big harp ensemble), a “country cousin” of the mariachi ensemble.  These big harp ensembles consist of violins, guitars, and harp, without the trumpets so common to mariachi groups. The sones (sentimental songs) and valonas (poetic narratives) were sung with a wonderful directness and vocal flair.  The playing was rhythmic, tuneful, and celebratory.  Perfect!

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.

Piano performances are in abundance on Medici.tv.

Medici.tv. provides high-definition webcasts of live classical music performances and an extensive video-on-demand catalog. Access is available to all current Stanford students, faculty, and staff.

Watch live-streamed concerts in real time or on delayed streaming. Concerts remain accessible generally for several weeks.

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.

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