The sound recordings preservation and access program at Berea College's Hutchins Library began in 2006.
The program's focus is on Berea's collections of noncommercial recordings that document Appalachian history and culture and the history of Berea College. The recordings are especially strong in the areas of traditional music, religious expression, folklore, radio programs, College events, and oral history. Preserving these one-of-a-kind recordings is an urgent need because the open reel and cassette tape on which they are recorded is nearing the point of being unplayable due to age and scarceness of proper playback equipment.
In accomplishing the task of accurately and reliably preserving the recordings for the very long term, the program is guided by the recommendations of the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives as set forth in IASA-TC04 Guidelines on the Production and Preservation of Digital Audio Objects: Standards, Recommended Practices, and Strategies.
Key elements of Berea’s preservation and access efforts include converting the original recordings to high resolution digital files, providing CD listening copies for Library use, and storing the digital files on a dedicated server which is backed up at remote locations. A searchable online database of collection contents and selected audio files are available through Hutchins Library’s Sound Archives Search Page.