A number of organizations are involved in research and promotion of guidelines for best practices in preserving audio. Here are some good sources on audio archiving, with links to relevant Web sites:
Founded in 1966, the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to research, study, publication, and information exchange surrounding all aspects of recordings and recorded sound. The Website also has details about ARSCLIST-an unmoderated mail reflector to promote communication among those interested in preserving, documenting, and making accessible the history of recorded sound.
This organization is composed of more than 400 members from more than 60 countries that represent a broad palette of audiovisual archives which are distinguished by their focus on particular subjects and areas: e.g. archives for all sorts of musical recordings, historic, literary, folkloric and ethnological sound documents, theater productions and oral history interviews, bio-acoustic, environmental and medical sounds, linguistic and dialect recordings as well as those for forensic purposes.
Mandated by the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, this advisory group brings together pro organizations and expert individuals concerned with the preservation of recorded sound. The board also maintains a National Recording Registry, allowing anyone to submit recordings deemed to be of significant cultural or historical value for inclusion in the registry. Details and nomination forms are available on the site.
According to this site from NARAS, the Grammy organization, “the music industries’ transition from an analog to a digital world has presented new challenges and common problems resonating with the users of the new technologies.” This prompted the P&E Wing to create national committees-that along with the input of the entire wing constituency-addressed these problems and attempted to provide solutions in the form of guidelines and recommendations.
Your tax dollars at work: The Recorded Sound Reference Center provides access to the commercial and archival audio holdings of the Library of Congress. The collection contains over 2 million items encompassing audio formats from cylinders to CDs.
The AES SC-03 Subcommittee on the Preservation and Restoration of Audio Recording includes test methods, practices, and specifications pertaining to the life expectancy and retrieval of audio information recorded on mechanical, optical and magnetic systems, including their respective media. It includes coordination with other organizations concerned with this scope and with those concerned with preservation and restoration of recorded images.