January 26, 2022

Audio Preservation: At Harvard, Technology Resurrects Long-Silent Voices Of Poets

From a of a recent WBUR-Boston report (audio linked below).

“It’s a very humanizing thing,” says archive curator Christina Davis. “I mean I think audio archives, because it’s so connected to the body and breath — in a way that text is somewhat divorced from — you know, kind of reunite us with the total body.”

But the voices on many of these brittle, early records have been dead — silenced for nearly a century. They’re too damaged to play. That is, until today. [Harvard Researcher Mary] Walker Graham has always wanted to listen to a fragile T.S. Eliot recording with a written note saying: extra word at end.

She says she’s been dreaming about that extra word. “Where instead of, in the end of his famous poem, ‘The Hollow Men,’ which everyone knows the line: The world ends ‘Not with a bang but a whimper.’ I had a dream that it was: ‘Not with a bang but a chicken cluck,’” she says, laughing. “Just last night. So, we’ll see!”

They are going to see, thanks to a new service from the nonprofit Northeast Document Conservation Centerin Andover. In November, NEDCC began offering a preservation technology called IRENE to museums, archives and private Northeast Document Conservation Center.

“IRENE can do something that no other technology can do, which is to put Humpty Dumpty back together again,” says NEDCC director Bill Veillette.

Read the Complete Article, Listen to Audio Report (Also Embedded Below)

See Also: Northeast Document Conservation Center Web Site

See Also: Learn More IRENE Technology at NEDCC

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.