Survey of Existing Sound Recordings in Collections in United States

In 2014, AVPreserve and the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC), with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, undertook an in-depth, multi-faceted assessment to quantify the existing audio items held in institutional collections throughout the United States. This was performed in response to The Library of Congress National Recording Preservation Plan and its call for the appraisal of collections, as well as to establish a foundation for articulating the current preservation need of sound recordings in collections nationwide.

Their conclusions include the following:
• Over 537 million sound recordings in collection-holding organizations across the US.
• Academic libraries and archives/museums hold the highest quantities of sound recordings in the US.
• Grooved media and magnetic media are the most widely-held recorded sound media in collection-holding organizations in the US.
• 57% of audio holdings in US collections are either unique or rare.
• 17% of audio holdings in US collections have already been digitized to date.
• Of the total existing sound recordings in US collection-holding organizations, over 250 million items are preservation-worthy and have not yet been digitized; of these, over 80 million (32%) will require a specialized audio preservation workflow.
• The estimated cost of digitizing all preservation-worthy items in audio collections in the US that have not yet been digitized is over $20 billion.

"Quantifying the Need: A Survey of Existing Sound Recordings in Collections in the United States" is available as a PDF from AVPreserve: