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Stanford Mendicants 1976/1977 - Album Cover

Ahead of their 50th anniversary show this Saturday (October 26th) at the Bing Concert Hall, I am very pleased to announce the successful recent completion of a 6 month project aimed at archiving and digitally preserving the Stanford Mendicants' complete recorded output between 1964-2012.

Front cover image from the album Stanford Mendicants '65

The Stanford Media Preservation Lab (SMPL) has many partnerships on campus and the recent move provided a great opportunity to spend some time working in the audio room of one of those partners, the Archive of Recorded Sound (ARS). Several recordings were digitized and documented while there. Two projects completed of interest are the digitization of several recordings made by the a cappella group the Stanford Mendicants and the transfer of cassette tapes from the book and audio set: Photochemistry of Organic Molecules (POM) held by the Media & Microtext Center.

Aretino - Phonograph (after 1906). Designed to only play discs with a 3" diameter hole.

In addition to its extensive audiovisual and print collections, the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound also maintains a collection of audio equipment that highlights the development of playback and recording since the turn of the 20th century. At the center of this collection is a magnificent set of historic phonographs, ranging from a 1901 Edison Home A cylinder phonograph to a 1926 Victrola Credenza. These machines practically demonstrate the rapid changes in audio playback formats and machinery that occurred during the first quarter of the 20th century. 

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Abraham Tewolde, our Stanford University Libraries 1st-generation intern this summer, details and images of notable examples from this collection, along with demonstration videos, can now be found on the Archive's website. 

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

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