“The Great 78 Project has the potential to be a great resource to researchers and teachers in higher education who do not have access to the sounds from tens of thousands of 78 rpm records at our home institutions, which is to say most of us. The size and breadth of the collections makes it feasible, for example, to explore a time slice of history – what were record companies issuing in 1920, the year that Mamie Smith’s ‘Crazy Blues’ came out, and how do the sounds of those other records help us to appreciate why that one record became such a big hit?”
— Mark F. DeWitt, Professor of Music, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Many of the recordings preserved on 78rpm discs didn’t make it onto LPs, 8 track tapes, audio cassettes, or CDs. The fragility of the discs, their relative obscurity, and the scarcity of equipment to play the physical items mean that we may lose access to millions of recordings if we don’t act to preserve them.
A large collection of digitized 78s allows researchers from around the world to examine and experiment with these recordings. We will post research here as it becomes available.
Stylus Size And Speed Selection In Pre-1923 Acoustic Recordings
by George Blood
Soon to be available in:
Stoeltje, R., Shively, V., Boston, G., Gaustad, L., & Schueller, D. (2017). Sustainable audiovisual collections through collaboration: Proceedings of the 2016 Joint Technical Symposium. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
Listening to the 78rpm Disc Collection
by Jessica Thompson, Coast Mastering
“…As a researcher and audio restoration engineer, the real goldmine is in the aggregation of discographic and technical metadata accompanying these recordings. Historians can search for and cross reference recordings based on label, artist, song title, year of release, personnel, genre, and, importantly, collection.
“…Access to the technical metadata offers a valuable teaching tool to those of us who practice audio preservation. For audio professionals new to 78s and curious about how much difference a few tenths of a millimeter of stylus can make, the Internet Archive offers 15,000+ examples of this. Play through the different styli options, and it quickly becomes apparent that particular labels, years and even discs do respond better to specific styli sizes and shapes..”