A study commissioned by the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress and titled “The State of Recorded Sound Preservation in the United States: A National Legacy at Risk in the Digital Age,” was released a few days ago. Written by Rob Bamberger and Sam Brylawski, the study was co-published by the Council on Library and Information Resources and the Library of Congress. It’s quite long but the abstract available here explains the three major findings:
This study tells us that major areas of America’s recorded sound heritage have already been destroyed or remain inaccessible to the public. It suggests that the lack of conformity between federal and state laws may adversely affect the long-term survival of pre-1972-era sound recordings in particular. And, it warns that the continued lack of national coordination among interested parties in the public and private sectors, in addressing the challenges in preservation, professional education and public access, may not yet be arresting permanent loss of irreplaceable sound recordings in all genres.
Later this year, the Library of Congress will issue a National Recording Preservation Plan that “will make specific recommendations for addressing the complex problems” addressed in the study. Here is a Library of Congress press release about the study; articles about it can be found at BBC News and The Washington Post.