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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.

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.

Abraham Tewolde

It is my pleasure to introduce Abraham Tewolde, a new intern at the Archive of Recorded Sound who is taking part in Stanford University Libraries 1st-generation summer intern program this summer.  During his time here Abraham will be learning how a sound archive functions and operates, including work on finding aids, digitization, inventory control, accessioning, and research skills.

Abraham will also be a guest blogger during his time here. Please enjoy below the first of a series of posts Abraham will be offering over the summer. 

Today marks 100 years to the day since the infamous first performance of Igor Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) at the Théâtre des Champs‐Elysées in Paris on 29 May 1913. The 31-year-old composer's two-part ballet score, coupled with 24-year-old Vaclav Nijinsky's choreography, provoked a riot on the opening night that according to most accounts rendered the music inaudible for most of the performance. The protests were so loud that Ballet Russes Director, Serge Diaghilev, was supposedly forced to shout instructions to his dancers onstage while flashing the auditorium's house lights in an attempt to quell the enraged audience. 

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. 

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.

The Dichterliebe, recorded by Thom Denijs in 1928 (HMV 092026)

Schumann’s Dichterliebe, op. 48, from 1840 weds music and text into one of the most memorable song cycles of the Romantic period. The cycle consists of sixteen songs on poems from Heinrich Heine’s Lyrisches Intermezzo. The earliest recordings of the entire cycle were by Dutch baritone, Thom Denijs (1877-1935), who recorded the cycle twice in London with his wife, Emmy Denijs-Kruyt (1878-1964), as pianist, first in an acoustic recording on 5 April 1923 and later as an electrical recording in three sessions in January and July 1928.

The Stanford Media Preservation Lab has recently finished reformatting the 440 audiocassettes in the Fred Ross papers, an immense body of audio documenting the training meetings held by labor organizer Fred Ross Sr. Housed in Special Collections, the digitized audio focuses extensively on house meetings in the 1970s and 80s, an organizing technique Ross developed and taught. A small portion of the tapes include Cesar Chavez, who Ross hired and trained in the early 50s. Chavez later went on to form the National Farm Workers Association, but Ross always remained a mentor and strong influence. "As time went on, Fred became sort of my hero," Chavez said. "I saw him organize and I wanted to learn." 

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