When was the last time you listened to an oral history played through a reel-to-reel tape machine? Does your organization own operating equipment that allows access to sound recordings gathered during the 1950s or earlier? Heritage Bulletin 19: Audio Preservation, a new publication from Oregon Heritage, may provide solutions for retrieving audio records.


Access to valuable oral histories and other information, captured through the means of audio recordings, can be lost due to obsolete machines. Sound recordings found in many collections across Oregon’s reside on a range of media, including acetate and vinyl discs, wax cylinders, wire recordings and cassette tapes. Environmental conditions can cause media to deteriorate and become unstable.


Heritage Bulletin 19: Audio Preservation describes the importance of undertaking an audio digitization project to preserve sound files in a stable and accessible format. By digitizing sound files, an organization not only preserves their audio collections; they once again provide access to them.


The process of preserving photographic and film images through digitization is a common practice today; however, preserving sound files through digitization is unfamiliar to many. Thanks to technology, this is changing. Heritage Bulletin 19 considers the equipment and software necessary to convert sound recordings from analog to digital format, and includes information about digitization standards.


Patrons can now access digital sound files through local community organizations as well as the Internet. The bulletin, available through the Oregon Heritage website, provides advice to organizations about cataloging, storage and access to converted sound files as well as links to funding sources for an audio preservation project.


Visit the Oregon Heritage website to discover additional bulletins on a variety of topics that will assist your organization. Do you have an idea for a Heritage Bulletin? Email heritage.info@state.oregon.us with your ideas, questions or for further information.


Mark your calendar for the 2013 Heritage Conference to take place in Portland May 9 and 10!

Oregon Heritage, part of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, provides technical support and services to people and organizations documenting, preserving, interpreting and sharing Oregon's heritage. Keep up with the latest issues and trends by following the Oregon Heritage Exchange blog.

Oregon Heritage News is a service of the Oregon Heritage Commission. Contact us by emailing heritage.info@state.or.us .