Intercontinental digitisation efforts
Leif Druedahl's music collection goes global
Bob George selecting and packing 78 rpms in Roskilde for preservation and digitisation
Bob George, director of the NY ARChive of music and Internet Archive sound collections curator, came to Roskilde in November to pack over 6000 78 rpm records donated by Leif Druedahl of the 78'er klubben for the Great 78 project of the Internet Archive.
The discs, mostly Danish but also British, Russian and German, will be sent to George Blood LP in Philadelphia for cleaning, digitisation and basic cataloguing (sponsored by the Kahle/Austin Foundation), so that they can join the online collection available to everyone in the world and already accessed by millions. The discs will then be stored for long-term preservation in the Internet Archive's physical archive in California. On archive.org a 78'er klubben collection already hosts mp3 files for part of the 22 thousand discs digitised across the years by Leif Druedahl alone. The collections are already linked by several Wikipedia articles in various languages.
The cooperation with ARC/Internet Archive sparked a 3 min section by national network TV2, broadcast on the 20th of November in its prime time evening news for Zealand.
Leif Druedahl in his barn with his discs and cat
Leif and the 78'er klubben for several years now have collected records for preservation, relying on donations from people who would otherwise have trashed them. The records were then catalogued by Leif and shared privately via a mailing list. Later Leif has held a monthly Radio Roskilde show where celebrity guests comment the music from the old records. The radio show increased awareness about the need to preserve old records, and many new donations were received. The project, still hosted entirely in Leif's barn in Roskilde, stepped up when it received a donation of about 130 thousand records from an old collector who needed to remove them from their storage within a month.
In coordination with some volunteers and a music professor of Roskilde, the records have been sorted by label and inventory number to identify duplicates and note down the frequency of each record; the best preserved copy was kept by the 78'er klubber, while up to 3 extra copies were sent to other collectors in Denmark and any remaining copy was discarded. Thanks to this sorting, ARC has been able to select a first batch of discs which were thought to be present in just a single copy and which will form the first ever donation of discs the Internet Archive has received and shipped from outside the USA. The more frequent discs are expected to be sent later, so that their frequency statistics can be collected systematically and used for the purpose of research on the music market and the musical tastes of Danish people before the 1950s, for which no data currently exists.
To complete the packing of the over 3 tons of material in less than one week, Leif and Bob were joined by Joonas, Lars and Simon, librarians (formerly) at the Copenhagen central library, and by Federico, of ArchiveTeam and Wikimedia IT/DE/FI, who flew at his expense from Helsinki.
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