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An Hour in the Life of a Project

It’s the middle of summer and campus is quiet. Despite the seeming inactivity, I realize that nearly all Media Preservation Initiative (MPI) hands are on deck, so I begin asking everyone what they are working on. With summer break in full swing we have not been communicating as regularly through this blog and I figure an update is in order. Plus, I’m curious about how our project looks at this particular moment in time. Here is a snapshot — it’s Wednesday, July 11 at 1:30 pm.

Radio & Television Services (RTVS)
MPI graduate assistant Anthony Guest-Scott and RTVS Assistant Chief Engineer John Wright are transferring a 1999 Betacam SP video tape to a 10 bit uncompressed .mov digital file. This tape is a recording of the annual IU Traditions and Spirit event for incoming freshmen. They encounter three error regions – two with video errors (clogged heads, most likely), and one instance of audio dropout – all on the source tape. They report that “on the recording, automatic gain control was doing some heavy work, and the screams of IU freshmen in the stands are overpowering the mics while the band down on the court is almost inaudible at times.” They further report that “right along with the new freshmen gathered in Assembly Hall we are learning all the various chants and cheers, including the IU fight song, that are a long-standing tradition at games and sporting events.” I’ll ask for a demonstration at our Working Group meeting next week…

Lilly Library
MPI assistant Patrick Feaster and graduate assistant Jason Evans Groth are at the Lilly Library working on prioritization of collections using our two new software tools: MediaSCORE to evaluate condition, obsolescence, and risk and MediaRIVERS to assess research and instructional value. Right now they are working their way through a collection of 82 audio cassettes in the John Ford papers. These cassettes feature interviews by Ford’s son, Dan, of such notable figures as Henry Fonda, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart, John Wayne, and many others including John Ford himself.

Archives of Traditional Music
Audio engineer Tony Tadey, working for MPI two days per week as part of our collaboration with the Jacobs School of Music and the Cook Music Library, is in Studio 4 at the Archives of Traditional Music transferring tape number TP .A512669-4-14 v.2.

American Woodwind Quintet rehearsal at Indiana University in 1965 (photo courtesy of Indiana University Bloomington Office of Archives and Records Management)

This is a 7-inch reel of Scotch 201 tape recorded full track mono at 7.5 inches per second. It is the second reel from a recording of the performance that took place in the School of Music’s Recital Hall at 8:30 PM on April 14th1969. The performance was a faculty concert by the American Woodwind Quintet (Harry Houdeshel, Flute; Jerry Sirucek, Oboe; Philip Farkas, Horn; Leonard Sharrow, Bassoon; Earl Bates, Clarinet).  Alfanso Montecino, Piano was assisting the Quintet on this concert. The reel contains the last work of the evening: Sextet for Piano, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, and Horn by Francis Poulenc.

Susan Hooyenga, MPI Collections Processing Coordinator

MPI collections processing coordinator Susan Hooyenga is taking a break from quality control to address database issues. Our interim database for video technical metadata goes live today and needs a few last-minute tweaks. She is also exploring ways to provide copies of MediaRIVERS directly to units to aid their prioritization research.

MPI audio engineer John Dawson is working the evening shift in Studio 4 today due to a computer problem in Studio 1. Around 6 PM he will continue transferring the Orson Welles lacquer discs held at the Lilly Library.

Cook Music Library
Matt Tobey, hourly assistant funded by MPI who is working for Tony Tadey, is in the Preservation Studio in the Music Library basement transferring an IU Performance CD-R from 2002 and scanning its program. This is a recording of a graduate recital by Ji-Hye Chang, Piano.

And myself? Besides checking in with the team, I’m working on scoring issues with MediaSCORE. We are collaborating with AudioVisual Preservation Solutions to develop this software. The data entry module is already in use with development of the scoring or points system just underway.

That’s our project, on this day at this time. It will be different tomorrow or next week as our work continues to unfold, but many of these tasks are ongoing.  Back to work!

// Mike Casey


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