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1951 Louis Armstrong Record Label, photo by Klaus Hiltscher

Back in the 1980s, five libraries -- including Stanford's -- undertook an effort to provide better user access to their sound recording collections. The result of this effort was a union catalog of pre-LP disc holdings that made it possible for users to find out what each of the five institutions actually owned.

An image of a problematic cassette in original housing.

Compact cassettes, despite their simplicity, often present problems during digitization. This entry will highlight an approach to digitizing compact cassettes that exhibit squealing and speed instability after being rehoused using new hubs, slip sheets and associated components.  Since I have started here the only cassettes, to present this problem are labeled “Stanford Bookstore”, so the actual manufacturer of the cassettes is unknown. Currently there are two common treatments for addressing squealing cassettes: playback in a cold environment or lubrication of the tape during playback. This entry describes tape lubrication and is informed by the work of Richard Hess and Marie O’Connell. I will first introduce the collection currently being digitized then briefly highlight an approach to applying D5 (Decamethylcyclopentasiloxane) lubricant to rehoused cassettes. For more information on D5 and soft binder syndrome, visit Richard Hess’s webpage here: http://bit.ly/11SBTVP.

 

Abraham Tewolde

It is with a heavy heart that I introduce the fourth and final post by our Stanford University Libraries 1st-generation intern Abraham Tewolde, whose time with us here at the Archive of Recorded Sound comes to an end this Friday, August 16th. Working with Abraham this summer has been a real joy. The diligence, aptitude, and speed Abraham has demonstrated during his work here has been nothing short of remarkable, and witnessing the enthusiasm he has shown as he has learnt about the history of recorded sound, library research methods, and archival practice has been a true pleasure.

Thanks must go to Felicia Smith and Chris Bourg for devising and coordinating the excellent 1st-generation intern program here at Stanford Libraries. Thanks also goes to Benjamin Bates, Interim Operations Manger at the Archive of Recorded Sound, for his supervision of Abraham's daily tasks and help coordinating his schedule over the past few months. 

All the staff here at the Archive would like to wish Abraham well as he starts college here at Stanford in the fall, and thank him for all of his hard work. We look forward to hopefully seeing more of him in the Archive in the near future. 

Pipes in the Fisk-Nanney organ

In June 2009, University Organist Dr. Robert Huw Morgan embarked on a year-long series of recitals in honor of the 25th anniversary of the majestic Fisk-Nanney organ in Stanford’s Memorial Church. The programs consisted, quite simply, of the complete works for organ by another career organist, Johann Sebastian Bach. The Stanford Music Library is pleased to present streaming audio of these fourteen recitals through our website.

In the third of a series of posts our Stanford University Libraries 1st-generation intern Abraham Tewolde has produced during his summer at the Archive of Recorded Sound, Abraham discusses the research work he is currently undertaking into the Archive's world class phonograph collection. This work has involved him learning basic research methodology, utilizing Searchworks, XSearch, and other such discovery tools to identify books, articles, and online resources pertaining to phonographs. I tasked Abraham with improving upon the Archive's current information for each phonograph, locating information for facets such as original price, city and country of production, date of production, and any additional background information he found during his search. The results of his research will form the basis of a description for each item in an upcoming online phonograph gallery, to be published shortly on the Archive's website

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.

Abraham Tewolde

Following on from his first post a few weeks ago, our Stanford University Libraries 1st-generation intern Abraham Tewolde updates us on the work he has been doing recently at the Archive of Recorded Sound.  Be sure to watch out for further updates between now and the end of Abraham's internship in mid-August.

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