April 16, 2004 Library Collaborates on Preservation Research with U.S. Dept. of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley Lab

Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
Public Contact: Mark Roosa (202) 707-5213

The Library's Preservation Directorate has entered into an interagency agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to conduct research into media preservation. The work will explore the feasibility of implementing several preservation methods that Berkeley Lab has developed for grooved media such as recorded cylinders and discs.

"With thousands of grooved discs and cylinders in the Library's collections, the possibility of developing a method of mass digitization to enhance both access and preservation is very attractive," said Mark Roosa, the Library's director for preservation. "The groundbreaking research that our colleagues at Berkeley Lab are undertaking signals an important new direction for preservation of collections of this type, which we hope will be of benefit to libraries and archives everywhere."

The goal of the work is to acquire data about media in various conditions (e.g., pristine, worn, damaged, moldy, etc.) using 3-D surface imaging techniques and then to use this data as a basis for developing a system to enhance access to recorded sound.

Supported by the Department of Energy's Office of Science, the Physics Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has been conducting research in elementary particle physics and cosmology. As part of this research, various techniques have been developed for detecting and analyzing the behavior of particles and radiation created at high-energy accelerator labs such as Fermilab near Chicago and the European Center for Particle Physics near Geneva. Berkeley Lab researchers realized that some of their findings could be applied to the problem of reconstructing mechanical audio recordings.

"Such developments are a good example of how basic or pure research in the physical sciences can benefit other fields of science and culture," said Carl Haber, senior scientist in the Berkeley Lab's Physics Division.

The Berkeley Lab is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory in Berkeley, Calif. Managed by the University of California, it conducts unclassified scientific research. For more information, visit the lab's Web site at www.lbl.gov.

The Library of Congress has one of the most extensive preservation programs for library materials in the world. Each year the Library's preservation staff provides preservation treatment for approximately 500,000 items from a collection of nearly 128 million items in all formats.

For additional information, visit the Preservation Directorate's Web site at www.loc.gov/preserv.


PR 04-073
ISSN 0731-3527