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Studies FY2010

The themes of studies FY2010 are as follows:

(1) Research on the technical specifications of the audio materials

The standards of the recording media, formats and availability of the playback equipment of the audio materials were researched. The target materials were the following: cassette tapes, open reels, SP (Standard Playing) records, LP (Long Playing) records, EP (Extended Playing) records, phonosheets, filmons (filmon sound belts) and CDs (Compact Disc).

The playback equipment for these materials, apart from filmons and open reels, was easily available in the market, as of February 2011. No playback equipment of filmons was in the marketplace. As for open-reels, only one manufacturer of the playback equipment remained in the market, and its product did not support all of the recording formats. Therefore, filmons and open reels needed to be digitized as soon as possible by estimating necessary time and costs and formulating a detailed plan to prepare a sufficient amount of the playback equipment and analog-digital (A/D) conversion tools.

(2)Research on the status of audio materials held in the NDL

The status of the audio materials in the NDL was summarized by interview with the NDL staff in charge and by observation of the storage and service environments. The target materials were the same as (1).

Although the NDL had a large amount of audio materials which were at risk of becoming obsolete, no serious problems were considered in the current storage environment and method. However, some materials stored over their estimated life-span were found to be physically deteriorated. It was necessary to consider countermeasures to ensure the availability of these materials for the future. Some of the playback equipment of these materials was no longer available in the market. Others might be also at risk of being obsolete soon. It was necessary to keep the availability of their contents over the long term by converting to the digital recording media.

(3) Research on the "Guidelines on the Production and Preservation of Digital Audio Objects 2nd Edition" (IASA TC04 2nd Edition)

According to the questionnaire survey conducted in FY2009, the Guidelines on the Production and Preservation of Digital Audio Objects 2nd Edition (IASA TC04 2nd Edition) created by the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA) were being widely used in major libraries overseas. From the Guidelines, "5.3 Reproduction of Microgroove LP Records" and "5.4 Reproduction of Analogue Magnetic Tapes" were referred to clarify the technical recommendations and issues in digitizing LP records and cassette tapes.

One of the findings from this research was that digitization tasks in accordance with the IASA guidelines were estimated to be time-consuming, especially for media conversion of analog magnetic tapes, therefore it is necessary to consider how to secure sufficient time and cost. This research also showed that it was important to effectively conduct A/D conversion and sound check, and to accumulate experience.

(4) Research on the trial media conversions of cassette tapes and phonosheets

In this research, trial media conversions were conducted targeting the physically deteriorated cassette tapes and phonosheets published in the 1960s and 1970s in the NDL, and related issues were clarified according to the research result.

The results of these conversions showed the status of deterioration which could not be found by only visual inspection and the problems in the operation procedure. Based on their results, this report proposed the best procedures and methods to be employed in the future mass digitization of audio materials in the NDL.

Other FY2010 activities

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