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British Library on hunt for rare music collections

Save Our Sounds project aims to create lasting digital archive as physical formats edge towards extinction

The British Library is urging music fans with rare collections to get in touch so that the sounds can be preserved for future generations.

Experts believe old formats such as CD, vinyl and cassettes will eventually degrade and become unreadable and they want to digitally archive as much of it as possible as part of the British Library's Save Our Sounds campaign.

James Knight, a research support officer with the National Audit of UK Sound Collections, says: "One of the major aims of this initiative is to preserve as many of the nation's rare and unique sound recordings as possible. Not just those in our collections, but also key items from collections across the UK.

"As physical formats degrade and as the means of playing them disappear from production, sound collections are becoming increasingly threatened. Archival consensus internationally is that we have approximately 15 years in which to save our sounds by digitising them before they become unreadable and are effectively lost."

Music collectors can get in touch with Save Our Sounds before the May 31 deadline to ensure rare recordings are properly archived and stored for years to come.

Mr Knight adds: "By gathering information about sound collections in the UK, we can understand more about the risks they face, and this will help us plan for their preservation, for future generations."

While vinyl has enjoyed a recent revival in sales, it's still seen as a niche product. And the CD format has fallen behind digital sales in recent years.

Find out more about the project at the Save Our Sounds website.

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