January 20, 2022

Preservation of Audio Materials at British Library Focus of Financial Times Article

From the FT (Free Online, Reg. Required):

The purpose of his [Mr Will Prentice oversees audio preservation at British Library] department is to “preserve the audible memory of the nation” by storing records, cassettes and mini-disc recordings digitally. His office is strewn with huge audio players – clunky pieces of equipment such as reel-to-reel players – which he connects to digital recorders.


Mr Prentice would love the library to collect mobile phone ringtones as a way of reflecting social trends. “Different subcultures appear based on forms of technology,” he says.

The sound archive comprises 1.6m or so physical items – such as records or cassettes – plus a great many digital items “that never had a physical manifestation”.

He says there is a “very robust back-up system for [the] digital library system. We have a complete copy of our entire digital library system here in London, we have another one in Yorkshire, we have another one in Edinburgh and we have another one in Wales, in Aberystwyth. It’s meant to be disaster-proof.”

Read the Complete Article

Direct to Preservation Advisory Centre at BL

Direct to Sound Archive at BL

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.