The weekly Scout Report has come out of Madison, Wisconsin for a very long
time. In the old days it was useful in providing links to new websites of
varied interests. Now it performs a kind of triage function, kind of like
an NPR. Today's, reproduced below, will give an idea of what the outside
world thinks of 'old recordings.'
L. Hunter Kevil
In the News
*Old recordings allow researchers and public to hear the voices of the past*
We Had No Idea What Alexander Graham Bell Sounded Like. Until Now
Playing the Unplayable Records
Curators discover first recordings of Christmas Day
Listen as Albert Einstein Reads 'The Common Language of Science' (1941)
Extracting Audio from Pictures
The Library of Congress Recorded Sound Reference Center Online
Photography has been around for a long time, and portraiture even longer.
Some written sources date back millennia. We gather a great deal of
information through analysis of artifacts, skeletons, and very old trash.
In these ways, we have a good idea of what our ancestors looked like, what
they thought about, how they lived, and even what they ate. However, the
sounds of their voices have long been lost. To re medy this gap in our
knowledge somewhat, researchers have be! en worki ng on a variety of ways
to hear recordings previously thought unplayable. These early recordings,
many of which survive on delicate wax discs or only in photographs, were
often designed for unknown playback mechanisms, or are too fragile to stand
up to the rigors of being played. Nevertheless, there have been recent
breakthroughs, including those by physicist Carl Haber and colleagues, who
scanned very old recordings and converted them into computer audio files.
These have allowed us to hear a variety of voices from times past,
including for the first time the renowned Alexander Graham Bell.