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Getting a collection of recordings into a computer involves digitisation. If you are new to digitisation AHDS and E-MELD are a good starting point. They give overviews as well as detailed information. The Wisconnsin Digital Collections Center also has a very good example of an audio procedures and workflow document.

Digitisation also involves becoming familiar with jargon such as DAT, dbx and Hertz. If you strike a term that doesn't make sense, try a glossary like the one provided by AHDS



  • Why Digitise
    Targeted toward institutions with large audiovisual collections this introductory overview addresses drivers for digitisation of existing archives. These include support for longterm preservation, digital restoration, accessibility and improved archival management.

    Tutorials and procedures


  • Audio and Video Conversion
    This section of the E-MELD School of Best Practice tutorial provides an overview of issues surrounding analogue to digital conversion of speech recordings as well as issues concerning conversion from one digital format to another.


  • Audio Digitization Quality Issues
    This section of the E-MELD School of Best Practice tutorial discusses issues that determine quality of audio digitisation. It includes an explanation of fundamental processes such as sampling rate and bit depth as well as issues surrounding compressed and uncompressed file formats.


  • Audio Procedures and Workflow for the University of Wisconnsin Digital Collections Center
    This comprehensive working tool provides an example of a procedures document developed for use within a digitisation centre. It offers explanations of technical topics such as sample rates and bit depths as well as preservation issues. It also highlights problems that may occur during analogue to digital conversion.


  • Audio-Visual Prototyping Project : Audio Digitization Requirements
    This document provides an example of factors to consider when outsourcing an audio digitisation project. It includes specifications for archival master files and derivative service files (e.g. for use over the internet) as well as quality factors such as noise reduction and calibration of playback equipment.


  • Capturing Analog Sound for Digital Preservation : Report of a Roundtable Discussion of Best Practices for Transferring Analog Discs and Tapes
    This comprehensive best practices document includes coverage of planning, intellectual property, outsourcing and quality control issues. It also contains guidelines for creating digital audio including a discussion of sample rates, bit depths and file types.


  • Computers For Audio
    This section of the UK Arts and Humanities Data Service Guide to Good Practice describes equipment used to convert analogue recordings into digital audio files. It includes a discussion of digital audio tape and the relative merits of using Apple, PC and Linux computers and operating systems.


  • Creating the Digital Audio Files : A Step-By-Step Guide
    This section of the UK Arts and Humanities Data Service Guide to Good Practice describes each step in the audio digitisation process. Topics include setting up audio connections, monitoring the process, checking the storage media and configuring equipment settings for analogue to digital conversion.


  • Digital Audio Best Practices
    The document provides guidelines and best practice for the tranfer of analogue recording to digital formats, as well as covering recording on digital formats. Also discussed is the storage and preservation of digital audio, file types and metadata for digital audio. The document includes a glossary and resource list.


  • Digitising Audio : An Outline
    This section of the UK Arts and Humanities Data Service Guide to Good Practice provides a brief overview of audio digitisation issues. It discusses reasons for digitising, pitfalls and required resources.


  • Digitization of Audio Files
    This section of the E-MELD School of Best Practice tutorial provides an overview of audio digitisation issues such as quality and file formats.


  • Guidelines on the Production and Preservation of Digital Audio Objects
    These guidelines discuss key principles and standards, metadata, signal extraction from originals and target formats in the production and preservation of digital audio objects. It includes information on the reproduction of optical disk media such as CD and DVD and digital magnetic carriers. Target formats and systems include Digital Mass Storage Systems (DMSS), optical disks and magneto-optical (MO) disks.


  • How To Digitize Analog Audio Recordings
    This section of the E-MELD Best Practice tutorial describes a step-by-step process for digitising cassette tape speech recordings. It describes hardware, software, file formats, metadata requirements and backup procedures.


  • NINCH Guide to Good Practice in the Digital Representation and Management of Cultural Heritage Materials : Audio/Video Capture and Management
    This section of the NINCH Guide provides an overview of issues to consider when deciding on specifications for audio digitisation. It includes a discussion of sampling rates and strengths and weaknesses of a variety of audio formats.

    File formats and standards


  • Archival Formats for Audio Digitization
    This secion of the E-MELD School of Best Practice tutorial explains why archival master copies of audio files should be stored in uncompressed formats such as WAV and AIFF.


  • Digital Media File Types: Survey of Common Formats : Audio
    The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology provides introductory information for some of the most popular audio formats (e.g. mp3, wav, aac). Although not comprehensive in its coverage the site provides a valuable analysis of support, recommended uses, advantages and disadvantages as well as references to associated standards.


  • Presentation Formats for Audio Digitization
    This section of the E-MELD School of Best Practice tutorial discusses the use of formats suitable for online delivery of audio.


  • Sustainability of Digital Formats : Sound
    The U.S. Library of Congress provides a comprehensive, authoritative and regularly updated resource for information on audio file formats. It includes coverage of how to evaluate an audio format and detailed analyses of many formats. Each format document discusses quality, functionality and sustainability issues.



  • Creating Digital Audio Resources : A Guide to Good Practice : Glossary


  • Presto Key Links Systems Specification Document : Chapter 1.4 : Glossary



  • Audio File Size Projection Tool (Excel spreadsheet)
    This calculator developed by the U.S. Collaborative Digitization Program estimates storage requirements based on numbers of hours and digitisation resolution. The higher the resolution, the greater the accuracy of reproduction (and the greater the storage needs).