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Berea College Sound Archives

Digital File Formats

According to IASA TC-03 The Safeguarding of the Audio Heritage: Ethics, Principles and Preservation Strategy, preservation transfer should produce master files that are unmodified, "without subjective alterations or improvements."

Creating and storing an unaltered, unmodified digital file means no editing of content. Every second on the source recording, no matter how irrelevant, is transferred in order to obtain a full, authentic representation of the original recording. This preserves content that future researchers may find important in ways that we cannot anticipate today. In addition, the original sound field, whether stereo or mono, is preserved in the master archival file.

Berea’s master archival sound files are 24-bit, 96 kHz PCM encoded BWAV files, more than twice the resolution of standard CD audio. This ensures that the full range of reproduced material is captured and preserved with utmost accuracy.

Derivative audio files are created for any form of editing, signal processing, or other alterations from the original preservation file. This includes making reference CDs for in-house listening, and encoding MP3 files for online access through the Sound Archives Guide.

Digital Preservation

Once high-resolution, unaltered archival master files are created, they are transferred to a dedicated high volume networked storage array. While this acts (and even appears on the workstation desktop) as a huge hard disk drive (HDD), it is really a redundant array of independent discs (RAID) on the Berea College network. As a precaution against data loss, the Sound Archives’ server files are backed up by the college’s Information Systems and Services. Coming soon the Berea Sound Archives digital assets will be migrating to a cloud-based storage system with a robust management, delivery, and backup system.

Audio Highlight

Uncle Homer Walker

Uncle Homer Walker - Summers County, WV
"Steal Away," 10-28-1978.
Celebration of Traditional Music Collection, RG 11.08

Digital Access

Selected portions of the Berea's digitized recordings are available online via the following resources: