Thousands of records are being digitised and made available to listen to for free

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Thousands of records are being digitised and made available to listen to for free

Photo: Kevin McCutcheon

The massive project is designed to preserve previously un-digitised audio.

In partnership with the Boston Public Library, the angels at the Internet Archive have started digitising more than 100,000 audio recordings from the library’s collection, including LPs, wax cylinders and 78 RPMs. The genres being digitised span from classical to rock to pop.

The process begins by taking a high-resolution scan of the cover art, the disc itself and any other material that comes with the LP. Workers can digitise 12 LPs at a time by setting up turntables, playing the audio and recording it in a FLAC format. The archive estimates it can digitise ten LPs an hour.

“The LP was our primary musical medium for over a generation. From Elvis to The Beatles, to the Clash, the LP was witness to the birth of both rock’n’roll and punk-rock,” said director of special projects CR Saikley.

“It was integral to our culture from the 1950s to the 1980s and is important for us to preserve for future generations.”

As of late October, 900 LPs from the Boston Public Library’s collection have been digitised (and are available to listen to), with plenty more still to go. Most of the audio files will be available to listen to in full, but others will, unfortunately, only be available in 30-second excerpts due to copyright.

For more info on the project, head to the Internet Archive’s blog.

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