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The Digital Audio Collection aims to preserve a broad spectrum of sounds to reflect the UK’s audio publishing industry.
Until recently, published sound has been acquired by the British Library as physical objects, via voluntary deposit agreements with record labels. However, the transition to file-based distribution, coupled with the emergence of many different platforms and services offering sound recordings, requires a different approach.
Part of the Save our Sounds programme, the Digital Audio Collection project is designed to address this. Its primary aim is to acquire, for long term preservation and access, a broad coverage of audio to create a representative document of the UK’s audio publishing, underpinned by widespread voluntary deposit arrangements.
To achieve this, the project has the following objectives:
- Developing an integrated digital music acquisition system. This will deliver a largely automated service for high-volume file-based releases from the traditional industry’s digital supply chain, as well as a manual submission mechanism for smaller-scale file-based published output.
- Developing models for engaging with record and audio industry bodies, companies, labels, producers and artists to increase reach for voluntary deposit.
- Engaging with external stakeholders for exchange of knowledge and experience in relation to metadata.
While the project focuses on file-based output, it recognises the need to continue acquiring physical items. For example, CDs, vinyl and compact cassettes continue to be released in the file-based context and many of these physical releases offer added value through detailed notes and special packaging.
Furthermore, while the project concerns the UK audio industry and ‘published’ output, it recognises that the Library will continue to acquire international publications, as well as acquiring and creating file-based unique or ‘unpublished’ recordings. Collection overviews are available on our Sound subject page.
The project began officially in October 2015 with an analysis of the UK’s recording industry landscape.
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