Audio Services

The Audio Preservation Lab offers a range of services in support of the archival process for both on-site NARA staff as well as external stakeholders. The goal of these services is primarily to assist custodial units and other stakeholders make informed preservation and reformatting decisions for NARA's audio collections. Sound quality editing and enhancement is available to improve the listening experience of selected distribution files for special purposes. An integral part of the transfer process is the stabilization of physical objects in order to achieve appropriate information capture. Technical services staff assure digital products are of expected and consistent quality and the file format deliverables are well-formed and valid. In addition, the Audio Preservation Lab offers limited technical support and training for NARA staff specifically in the Regions and Presidential Library system. Finally, the Audio Preservation Lab is a conduit for information exchange between NARA and the global audio preservation community to help NARA's archival process stay on pace with the latest research and developments in the field at large.

  • Consultation with NARA stakeholders

    • Advice on outsourcing to vendor versus what can be accomplished more successfully in-house
    • Advice on digital product deliverables in vendors or partner contracts
    • On-site visit to vendors/partners to review availability and condition of proposed transfer equipment
    • Provide advice on long term preservation planning options and actions
    • Provide technical guidance for digitization activities
    • Audio: Consultation with NARA stakeholders

      • Selection of appropriate digital audio products for specific purposes
      • Serve as subject matter experts in analog and digital audio preservation
  • Risk assessment

    • Physical condition assessment
    • Assist in setting priorities for yearly work plan and ongoing lab workflow
  • Enhancement for access

    • Audio: Enhancement for access

      • Limited enhancement of distribution copies for improved sound quality to meet specific institutional needs
  • Stabilization of physical objects

    • Limited mold remediation, rehousing and cleaning for specific formats
    • All physical issues with textual and photographs are referred to Conservation staff.
    • Audio: Stabilization of physical objects

      • Sticky shed remediation/tape baking
      • Tape splicing
      • Demagnetization
  • Technical Services

    • Technical metadata identification, collection, validation and schema development
    • Tool identification, evaluation and testing
    • Format obsolescence monitoring
    • Quality assurance program development
    • Quality control of digital products through automated systems and human driven processes
    • Equipment identification, evaluation, monitoring, testing and maintenance
  • Technical Support

    • Audio: Technical Support

      • Application, hardware and software identification, research and testing
      • DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) hardware and software installation
      • Audio playback equipment installation and troubleshooting
  • Education and Training

    • Cross training provided for NARA staff (including Regions and Presidential Libraries)
    • Teach internal and external workshops and other classes
    • Host interns and lead departmental tours
    • Give presentations at professional conferences
    • Author articles, publications, or programs for internal and external journals as well as for events
    • Audio: Education and Training

      • Training on DAW and playback equipment for NARA staff (Regions and Presidential Libraries especially)
  • Collaboration and outreach beyond NARA

    • Participate in the development of tools and standards
    • Monitor technical compliance with industry standards
    • Survey developments in comparable institutions in both process and products
    • Audio: Collaboration and outreach beyond NARA

      • Develop and maintain essential relevant interaction beyond NARA through active participation in professional organizations such as ARSC (Association for Recorded Sound Collections), IASA (International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives), and SAA (Society of American Archivists Recorded Sound Roundtable) as well standard committees such as AES (Audio Engineering Society) and FADGI (Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative).

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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272