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Tuesday, October 27 • 20:00 - 20:30
Glastonbury New Bands Competition: a report into the technical challenges migrating an optical disc collection

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The Glastonbury Festival donated the 2003 – 2006 competition entries for their New bands Competition to the British Library for long-term preservation; the collection totals over 4000 optical discs, primarily Compact Disc-Recordable (CD-R).  The New Bands Competition is run as part of the annual music festival and gives unsigned bands/musicians the opportunity to submit their demo recordings to a panel of judges, who then select their favourites to perform at the summer festival.  The collection was transferred to a stable file-based format in 2019, as part of the Library's ambitious Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project.  

The migration of the collection presented many challenges, and contradictions - being optical media, large parts of the workflow could be automated, the data extracted verifiably bit-perfect and faster than real time. However as the collection is populated by poor-quality CD-R stock with many examples written in low-quality domestic burners, the data was not easily extractable in many cases and we had to develop a multi-stage workflow that could rip large quantities of discs without problem, while being easily adjustable to accommodate 1:1 transfer of severely degraded discs.

Our paper will outline the step-by-step workflow and the hardware/software employed, including tools developed in-house, to successfully extract and preserve this unique content.  The collection represents a wonderful snap-shot of the British music scene in the early 2000s, which has now been fully preserved, and adds further re-enforcement that optical media is not a stable storage medium.


Gosha Shtasel

Preservation Audio Engineer, British Library
Gosha Shtasel is a Preservation Audio Engineer & Trainer at the British Library. He works on preserving the British Library sound collection and provides training and support to three regional hubs as part of the Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project.
avatar for Tom Ruane

Tom Ruane

Preservation Audio Engineer / Trainer, British Library
Tom Ruane is a Preservation Audio Engineer & Trainer at the British Library, with over 10 years experience in the audio preservation field. In his current role on the ambitious Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project, which aims to digitise and fully preserve 160,00 at-risk recordings... Read More →

Tuesday October 27, 2020 20:00 - 20:30 GMT
b. Session 1