Monday, August 20, 2007

Rescuing Recorded Sound from Ravages of Time

This is just plain cool!
Scientists are using modern technology to archive the recordings off of older media. I wonder what our media's shelf life will be. I doubt CD's will really last beyond 30 years, and I wonder how long a harddrive can last inactive, let alone early wax cylinders which have lasted over 100 years.

Still it's fascinating work:

"These echoes of a bygone era were recorded on media such as wax
cylinders and shellac and lacquer discs. But many are now too fragile
to play in their original format; the pressure of a stylus or
phonograph needle could cause irreversible damage. Others are too
broken, worn or scratched to yield high-quality sound. The archivists
needed a means to preserve the recordings without injuring them further.

A physicist with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Haber
was developing subatomic particle detectors to be used at CERN in
Geneva, Switzerland. This involved using digital cameras and robots to
place each delicate detector in precisely the right place. In a flash
of insight, Haber realized that an optical scanning system could solve
the Library's quandary."

Read the rest @ huliq

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