Tag Archives: Archives

A new way to navigate the BBC Archives

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Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, William Lee, who shares a link to this article on the BBC Blog:

Currently there are over 15,000 permanently available programmes, largely radio programmes, on the BBC website dating back decades, but they can be very difficult to find. From today, we’re launching a new piece of technology called ADA (Automated Data Architecture) that unearths and helps people navigate the BBC’s rich archive of permanently available programmes.

As you can see below, it adds a list of related topic tags under the description of the programme. So if you’ve just listened to an episode on Ada Lovelace and were interested in other notable women of the Victorian era, you can now click that tag and find all the permanently available programmes on that topic. There are programmes on Beatrix Potter, Florence Nightingale and Sylvia Pankhurst to name a few. There will also be up to three recommended programmes on the right hand side, with a link to the topic that connects them.

This seemingly small change to a programme page can lead you down interesting little alleyways to fascinating places you never expected to visit. For example, starting off at Ada Lovelace can take you all the way to a programme on Julius Caesar via ‘the Byron family’ followed by ‘Fellows of the Royal Society’ then ‘Captain James Cook’ and finally the ‘Deaths by stabbing’ topic tags. Give it a try here and see where you end up.

Some programmes like Desert Island Discs, which have a lot of programmes available, have navigation which is tailored very carefully to the brand. This makes it easy to find programmes but also means the system cannot be re-used across other BBC brands or programmes.[…]

Click here to continue reading this article on the BBC Blog.

Dan offers services to digitally preserve off-air recordings on legacy formats

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Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who writes:

Some years ago, I urged those of us survivors in the shortwave listening  community to transfer any reel or cassette tapes to digital format. In recent years we have lost many top DX’ers to illness. Collections of recordings have unfortunately also been lost because family members are not able to preserve them or have no interest in doing so.

If any SWLing Post readers have such recordings, I am able to transfer them from/to to any format — including MD, SONY Microcassette (both of these are obviously still legacy formats but many still use MD for example), and straight to solid state media such as SD, MicroSD, etc

While I realize that most people do have the knowledge and capabilities to transfer old  recordings, I know many lack the time and patience to do so. So I am offering my services here, for reasonable fees to compensate for time invested. You can reach me at: dxace1@gmail.com

Those who wish to simply donate recordings can send them to me (please get in touch first).  Anyone who does wish to have their recording collection(s) transferred in full and to have  original tapes or cassettes returned, I ask to be compensated for postage costs. If you wish  to provide solid state media for the transfers that is fine, but please make sure that thumb drives  or memory cards are of sufficient size. Otherwise I will obtain memory cards/sticks and add this to the cost.

In recent years I have transferred recordings of about a dozen DX’ers who have passed, and for a few who left the hobby. All of these recordings are valuable as they represent snapshots of the SW broadcasting era and of history — they should be preserved.

I can certainly vouch for Dan and his integrity, so if you would like to have your recordings transferred, he’s the guy to do it. Thanks, Dan!

From the UNT Digital Library: Music USA as heard in Lagos, Nigeria in 1959

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Many thanks to UNT Archivist, Maristella Feustle, who shares the following set of recordings she recently published in the UNT Digital Library Willis Conover collection.

The description reads:

“A broadcast of Music USA transmitted by station WLWO in Cincinnati, Ohio, and recorded off of shortwave radio in Lagos, Nigeria. It was sent to the Voice of America to document the quality of radio reception in that area. As a live broadcast, the recording also includes news breaks and station identification.”

I should add that you might also hear ambient sounds from Lagos if you listen carefully! Click on the links below to listen  to the recording sets via the UNT Digital Library:

Part 1:

http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824409/m1/

Part 2:

http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824410/

Thanks again, Maristella, for all of your work to preserve and share these valuable recordings! 

KIRO saves radio history by accident

Crosley-Dial-BlackAndWhiteMany thanks to SWLing Post reader, William Lee, who shared the following story from Mynorthwest.com about how radio station KIRO saved a bit of radio history through “accidental preservation.” Here’a an excerpt:

One of the most important events of the 20th century was World War II. The Cold War that followed and many of the national borders that exist to this day were largely created during that deadly, years-long conflict from the late 1930s to 1945.

An expert speaking at the Library of Congress at the first-ever Radio Preservation Task Force Conference described how one of the most important tools for understanding World War II is available to researchers only because of an “accident” at KIRO Radio more than 70 years ago.

During his keynote address last week in Washington, DC, longtime archivist and librarian Sam Brylawski spoke of KIRO Radio’s role in saving a priceless audio record of American history.

It was a case of “accidental preservation,” Brylawski told the audience of more than 200 radio history scholars from around the US and Canada, that resulted in the creation of a nearly complete archive of CBS news broadcasts during World War II.

“KIRO is the station in Seattle that cut lacquer discs to timeshift,” Byrlawski said, explaining how the scheduling of live broadcasts of CBS Radio’s news coverage was aimed at the Eastern time zone, which was not convenient for West Coast audiences. KIRO, as Brylawski described, violated network radio policies to make recordings of news programs on giant, 16-inch diameter discs, and then play them back a few hours later at times that were more convenient to Seattle-area listeners.

Continue reading the full article and listen to the audio report at Mynorthwest.com…

Radio Preservation Task Force conference in the press

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Last week, the Radio Preservation Task Force held a conference which focused on saving America’s radio heritage. I had hoped to attend in DC, but sadly had a conflict in my schedule that weekend.

I’m happy to see that the conference got several mentions in the press.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill Patalon, for sharing a link to this article in RadioWorld:

Preservation Conference Highlighted Unique Radio Perspectives

The launch of the first “Save America’s Radio Heritage” conference saw a greater turnout than expected, with a total of roughly 300 attendees over two days in the nation’s capital last week.

The event, held at the Library of Congress and the University of Maryland, focused on the state of radio preservation, but the conference was more than just about the process of preserving historical recordings and other radio documents, but sharing some of America’s unique uses of the medium.

The Radio Preservation Task Force calls itself the first national radio history project of the Library of Congress. It grew out of the Library’s ambitious National Recording Preservation Plan, published in 2012. The task force says radio is “perpetually declared to be a dying medium” but nevertheless attracts dedicated listeners and commercial and public support. The organizers have said radio’s history is a chronicle of culture and a potential trove for historical researchers. The national plan in 2012 specifically called for a symposium to discuss the challenges of preserving American radio broadcasts; last week it was put into action.[…]

Continue reading on RadioWorld’s website…

The conference also caught the attention of APM’s Marketplace:

Task force aims to preserve radio history

A group of librarians, academics, and audio enthusiasts is gathering in Washington Friday for a first-of-its kind conference. The topic: “Saving America’s Radio Heritage.” The meeting is part of a massive effort to preserve recordings going back to the early 20th century.

The effort is not focused on the classic network quiz shows and radio plays of the 1930s through 50s, said Chris Sterling, who chairs the Radio Preservation Task Force at the Library of Congress.

“We’ve pretty much got that stuff,” he said. “What we’re talking about instead is trying to get the local radio voice in America: commercial, educational, college radio, all of that.”

One example is a 1956 interview with Rosa Parks from the Pacifica Radio Archives, recorded after Parks’ arrest for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on an Alabama bus.

Also at PopUp Archive:

Saving America’s radio heritage

And on the CBS Radio Network:

Those of us who work in radio are proud it has such a long and interesting history…

[…]But there’s a problem: Radio, by its very nature, is ephemeral. That makes its history a little hard to document.

A conference going on in Washington, DC is helping to make the airwaves a bit more solid.[…]

Continue reading and listen to the full audio report on the CBS Radio Network.

I hope the RPTF hosts another conference next year as I would like input on archiving AM/MW spectrum recordings–something I suspect few in the field even know exists!

Any SWLing Post readers attend the conference?