Tech Roundup

Technology Committee members here at Towson University’s Cook Library are always on the hunt for new technology applications to bring into the library or technology-related issues our library should be addressing.  As we scour the internet for important, interesting, or just plain cool examples of technology applications, issues, or news, we post links and  summaries with our take here to the blog.

Archiving Sound with IRENE

With millions of early sound recordings deteriorating across various institutions throughout the nation, there is an urgency to digitize and preserve these recordings before they become unplayable. Now a revolutionary image-scanning technology called the IRENE (Image Reconstruct Erase Noise Etcetera) system has been developed by experimental physicist, Carl Haber and his colleagues. With this technology, a precise image of the grooves in records is captured by special cameras with enough detail to play back the sound not from the grooves but from the image itself. Over the last decade, IRENE has been used to extract sound from discs made from tinfoil, photosensitive glass, or wax-and-cardboard; countless of field recordings, often documenting extinct languages and/or folk rituals; early recordings of folk music; and the first playback of one of the world’s earliest recordings of a human voice from 1860.

IRENE has the potential to capture old recordings before they deteriorate any further, helping audio preservationists to buy some crucial time, however some questions remain. Will this technology prove to be scalable and affordable enough to become a practical tool for most institutions to use? But as David Giovannoni, an independent audio historian, points out, “IRENE is fantastic because it allows us to hear recordings that we otherwise would not be able to hear. The downside is cost, but the good news is that we don’t need this new technology to transfer and preserve 99.99 percent of our grooved audio heritage.” – Armando

Look Before You Link

As explained in this Gizmodo article, a proposed change to copyright law by the U.S. Copyright Office could make posting links a lot more risky. At first, I thought I might be overreacting, but I was relieved of that worry when I saw that Dan Cohen of DPLA fame had blogged about this topic. Most creators who publish their creations openly on the web want people to link to them. It would seem that this addition would inhibit that. Would libraries have to get permission to link to an open access journal? Defeats the point, doesn’t it? – David

Top Trends & Themes from SXSW Interactive

Didn’t make it to SXSW Interactive this year? Ellyssa Kroski over at iLibrarian has a great summary of “Top Trends, Themes, and Quotes of SXSW Interactive” for those of us who missed out! – Kim

 Our Bleeding Hearts

ICYMI: The Heartbleed security flaw was the news of the Internet last week. The flaw has been covered in a number of news outlets and you may have received messages from some of your favorite web services asking you to change your password. ReadWriteWeb has some great, easy to understand information about why Heartbleed is a big deal and some suggestions for steps you might take to protect your data. – Kim


What do you think about some of the issues or technologies presented?  Have you found anything interesting online this week? Share in the comments!

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