Marvin Duchow Music Library’s Audiovisual Archives Celebrate World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

In celebration of UNESCO’s World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, the Marvin Duchow Music Library’s Audiovisual Archives opened its doors on Monday, October 27, inviting visitors to learn more about its collections and services, as well as its ongoing preservation efforts.

In addition, special guests Gaétan Pilon and Meggie Savard from the Musée des Ondes Emile Berliner provided a wealth of information regarding the museum’s preservation and conservation efforts, while regaling us with stories of Montreal’s unique audio heritage.

Musee des Ondes Emile Berliner Berliner World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

Gaétan Pilon, President, and Meggie Savard, Development Director, from the Musée des Ondres Emile Berliner

As the preservation of unique performances on obsolete formats is of global concern, the McGill Audiovisual Archives plays a vital role in providing continued access to its unique collection for current and future students, teachers and scholars. In order to shed some light on the precariousness of some of these audiovisual formats, visitors were invited to view a display showcasing a sample of audio and video objects of interest.

Here, we see a few items showing various degrees of deterioration: the long-term effects of fingerprints on a shellac 78 disc, the delamination of an aluminum-based lacquered transcription disc, as well as a CD showing signs of “bronzing”, a form of CD rot.

Unstable formats, deteriorating materials, scarcity of playback equipment and parts in addition to qualified repair technicians are but some of the challenges audiovisual archivists are faced with when it comes to preserving content stored on the multitude of formats typically found in their care.

The open door event in celebration of the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage provided us an opportunity to share with our peers, students and faculty the importance of these preservation initiatives as we continue our efforts to ensure the accessibility of our audiovisual collections for generations to come.

Hard drives, keyboards and cameras, Oh My!

The MDML has acquired several new types of equipment for loan and already they are proving to be popular additions.

For students who need to transfer files that are too large to email, we’ve purchasd two portable external hard drives. There are two 500GB hard drives available for short term loan. These drives are intended to facilitate transfers only, so please be sure to bring your own personal storage solutions for backups and more permanent storage.

Students can also make use of our four new portable keyboards. There are two M-AUDIO KeyRig 49 and two KORG microKEY-37 USB powered MIDI keyboards available to borrow. As the names suggest, the KeyRig 49 has 49 separate velocity-sensitive keys while the microKey 37 has 37 velocity-sensitive keys.

To keep up with the ever-growing demand, the Music Library has also obtained four new handheld HD camcorders. The ZOOM Q2 HD video recorders are extremely portable, user-friendly and can shoot in 720p and 1080p for high definition recordings. The camcorders take SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards.

Music students, faculty and staff can reserve in advance any of the equipment highlighted in this post at the service desk on the 4th floor. If reservations are not booked, the hard drives, keyboards and cameras are loaned on a first-come, first served basis.