Audio Preservation Lab
The goal of the Audio Preservation Lab is to provide appropriate digital products for NARA audio collections as well as to provide the needed services and expertise to assist NARA staff and other stakeholders in dealing with audio collections at the technical level.
In line with the widely accepted practice in the archival community at large (see Sources Consulted for Audio Products), the Audio Preservation Lab supports an analog-to-digital reformatting workflow for both preservation and distribution purposes. The Audio Preservation Lab also works with selected born digital audio material in accessioned NARA collections. The Audio Preservation Lab has developed a suite of products to satisfy a wide variety of demands for different material types. Selection of an appropriate product or set of products is a collaborative process between archival and technical staff.
In complement to the products produced, Audio Preservation Lab staff also provides a complement of essential services and expertise which support the archival process across NARA and the broader community.
There is a consultative process between archival staff and technical staff during which the most appropriate product(s) are chosen. "Flat" transfer is encouraged in most cases. This means that the sound is transferred "as is" without correction or interference. The Audio Preservation Lab strives to replicate the same listening/viewing experience for the user of the digital materials as he would have using the physical format material. Some cases call for clean-up of the digital file for distribution purposes. In general, the preservation master file is captured and saved unedited and uncorrected.