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Research Guides

Audio Preservation: Audio Preservation @ UW

This site suggests resources for research and practice in audio preservation and restoration.

UW Media Lab+Arcade

UW Libraries Media Lab (formerly the Media Center) has been active with preservation level reformatting of audio and video resources since the early 2000s. The Lab's staff currently follows the following standards: 

  • Analog Audio: 24bit/96kHz PCM in a BWAV format (see our "Audio Preservation & Restoration" workflow here). 
  • Analog Video: FFV1/PCM in a Matroska (MKV) container.

The Media Arcade in Suzzallo-Allen Library (3rd floor) provides UW students, staff, and faculty with access to suite of audio/video reformatting, viewing, listening, and editing equipment and software. The onsite Archival Jukebox, includes recordings from the Media Center's featured collections.

Featured collections include:

A unique collection of video documenting the UW Chamber Dance Dance Company's over 25 year history of performing modern dance classics.

The Crocodile Café Collection contains over 3000 hours of live music recordings. Recorded at the Café between 2002 and 2007 by audio engineer Jim Anderson, these recordings document performances by dozens of artists, notable and obscure.

Recordings from the collection of Seattle recording engineer, Kearney Barton (1931-2012).

Seattle Sounds is a UW Libraries project that aims to archive and share information about the kaleidoscopic nature of music from Seattle and the Puget Sound region.

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UW Ethnomusicology Archives

The University of Washington Ethnomusicology Archives has been collecting and curating unique ethnographic music recordings for over 50 years. Its holdings of more than 15,000 items include field recordings documenting music traditions of all kinds from most areas of the world, concert recordings of visiting musicians, and films and videos of a variety of musical events, as well as several hundred musical instruments. The Archives serves the students and faculty in the UW Ethnomusicology Program, the broader university community, Pacific Northwest tribes, and an international clientele of musicians, students, and teachers.

Archival recordings are available for on-site listening. Depending on collection deposit agreements, copies of some materials may be obtained by researchers. Students are particularly encouraged to utilize archival materials to assist with class projects and help prepare for their own field work. Students and other researchers are invited to deposit their field collections in the Archives.

Featured collections include:

In How Musical Is Man?, John Blacking draws on his field research with the Venda people of the Northern Transvaal, South Africa, as well as his own musical background to demonstrate relationships between patterns of sound and patterns of human organization. This site presents recordings of the musical examples found in his work.

In March 2005 Upper Skagit elder Vi Hilbert donated her extensive personal research collection of recordings and manuscripts to the University of Washington, where she taught Lushootseed language and literature from 1972-1987. The manuscript collection is housed in the U.W. Libraries’ Special Collections, and the audio and video recordings reside in the U.W. Ethnomusicology Archives. In addition to her own recordings of local elders, the collection includes recordings made between the 1950s and 2005 by linguists, anthropologists, and other collectors of the local language and song traditions.

The Allen Yonge Collection (UW Ethnomusicology Archives collection 2009-14) includes original, unpublished recordings as well as commercial recordings documenting flamenco performance from the past to the present. In addition to Allen Yonge's studio recordings, radio programs, and published records and CDs, the collection includes field recordings made in the "baja Andalucía" region of Spain by Chris Carnes, Maureen Silver, and Carol Whitney.

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UW Music Library

The UW Music Library provides research help and access to all things music, and also holds a number of audio collections.

Featured collections include:

School of Music ensemble recordings can be found using UW Libraries Search and listened to on-site at the UW Music Library. A video tutorial from the UW Libraries' "Quick Learning Series" demonstrates how to find these recordings.

Recordings of Gloria Swisher's music performed by Joel Salsman. For recordings, contact

  • Melvin Harris Collection

Early recordings of wind instruments performances. For recordings, contact

Tape performances conducted by Milton Katims and marked conductor scores. For tapes, contact For scores, contact Special Collections.

The Offenbacher Mozart Collection is a collection of standard play (78 rpm)and long play (Lp) recordings of the vocal music (operatic arias and ensembles, concert arias, lieder, and sacred music) of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This extensive collection was donated to the University of Washington Libraries in 1978 by Dr. Eric Offenbacher. Since that time the Music Library has added to this collection which now contains over 1500 recordings.

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