I’ve had a love for libraries and research centers since I was a child and this recent finding of mine fromt his past year is why. Libraries and research centers often hold secrets, forgotten knkowledge and are often a portal to the past. Dusty shelves and the smell of old books in the stacks is something I remember well from my childhood. This is where you find the out-of-print books you can’t order anywhere else or get an e-copy of on your Kindle. This is the place where encoded knowledge goes to be forgotten or, all to often, die. But every once in awhile, something from the past is discovered. The article I detail below is a prime example of how these centers often serve as a window to the past.

This newstory I ran across awhile ago is simply too neat not to share – especially since I am a graduate of the Library Science program at IU. Patrick Feaster is a media historian at IU, Bloomington and has recreated what may be the oldest record in the world. The original post from IU can be located here:

IU media historian’s find in stacks at Wells Library could represent oldest record in world

Gizmodo also ran a post on it:

This Is the Oldest Record In History—Scanned and Recreated From a Photo

But a real quick rundown goes like this: Feaster found an image of the record in the stacks at the Herman B Wells Library when researching for one of his courses. He has recreated sound recordings from images in the past and that is exactly what he did with this record image through the use of software and “de-spiraling” the record via the image. What he discovered was the voice of the Father of the Gramophone, Emile Berliner.

This is a fascinating article and illustrative of what we can achieve with media technology today. You can see some clips of Feaster explaining the process here: Feaster Revives Oldest Audio Recordings.

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