Audio and Video Equipment Basics for Libraries

By Clark, Joe C. | Notes, September 2007 | Go to article overview

Audio and Video Equipment Basics for Libraries


Clark, Joe C., Notes


AUDIO LIBRARIES Audio and Video Equipment Basics for Libraries. By Jim Farrington. (Music Library Association Basic Manual Series, No. 5.) Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2006. [viii, 144 p. ISBN 0-8108-5716-2; ISBN-13 978-08108-5716-2. $45.] Illustrations, index, bibliography, sources for equipment reviews, glossary.

The need for audio and visual playback equipment has existed since libraries began collecting media early in the twentieth century. As streaming media and portable MP3 and video players change how patrons experience music and film, many libraries are reexamining their audiovisual formats, equipment, and listening spaces. Audio and Video Equipment Basics for Libraries, with its focus on past, present, and future playback technologies, offers relevant and insightful information for those involved with or interested in listening and viewing logistics in the library setting. While most books on the market are geared towards the audiophile, sound archivist, or home theater enthusiast, this welcome publication presents information and advice specific to a library's needs, collections, and budgets.

Farrington is an eminently qualified author. Formerly the music librarian and director of the World Music Archives at Wesleyan University, he is currently the head of public services of the Sibley Music Library at the Eastman School of Music. He teaches a seminar on the history and aesthetics of sound recordings at the Eastman School of Music and wrote the article "Preventive Maintenance for Audio Discs and Tapes" (Notes 48, no. 2 [December 1991]: 437-45). A past president of the Association of Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC), Farrington remains involved in the association and currently serves as the Music Library Association's liaison to both ARSC and the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA). His writing demonstrates that he is conversant with current trends and practices and possesses a thorough understanding of both audio and video.

The breadth of this volume is impressive. It addresses most of the challenges one might encounter when designing or redesigning listening areas, ordering and maintaining equipment, or developing a circulation policy for audio equipment. The book is divided into six chapters on the following topics: the listening environment, source components, video, electronics, sound producers, and miscellaneous. Farrington presents brief histories of the various formats, explains how they function, discusses desirable features in playback equipment, and provides tips to improve sound and prolong equipment life. He reviews all of the current and some older audio and video technologies, as well as some that will appear in the next few years. Farrington mentions commercial streaming audio services such as Naxos and Classical Music Library, but the focus in this volume is clearly on audio and video equipment in the library. …

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