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Library of Congress Equips AV Conservation Center

Culpeper, VA (October 23, 2007)--The U.S. Library of Congress's new National Audio-Visual Conservation Center [NAVCC], set to go online in the first quarter of 2008, will feature six state-of-the-art transcription rooms.

Millennia’s LOC system for the Library of Congress’s National Audio-Visual Conservation Center features custom phono preamplifiers.Culpeper, VA (October 23, 2007)–The U.S. Library of Congress’s new National Audio-Visual Conservation Center [NAVCC], set to go online in the first quarter of 2008, will feature six state-of-the-art transcription rooms.

The Library has selected Millennia archiving systems for installation in each of the transcription rooms. The Millennia LOC archiving systems will provide analog pre-amplification and equalization for the Library’s entire collection of LP’s, 78’s, 16-inch transcriptions, Edison Cylinders, acoustics, and many other historic electro-mechanical formats, estimated at nearly two million units.

Millennia’s LOC archiving system is designed to mate faithfully with any contemporary or historic disk or cylinder format, providing an acoustically invisible signal path for the digitization of historically significant audio recordings.

The LOC system, explains Millennia Music & Media Systems founder/chief designer John LaGrou, is a modified version of the LPE units he developed for the National Library of Canada, subsequently adopted by other government and private archives.

“Gilles St-Laurent at the National Library of Canada had known of my work with mic preamps and equalization, all at a very high-level mastering grade,” LaGrou explains. “He had proposed a custom product using our mic preamp and EQ technology tailored for phono work. I came up with a proposal, which they accepted, so we developed the first LPE [Legacy Playback Equalizer] units for the Library of Canada. I guess it’s a very small community; word gets out, and before you know it, we were shipping that product to other places.”

Through that network of archivists, LaGrou continues, the Library of Congress contacted him with a list of unique requirements. “I asked them to send a spec,” he recalls. “It was quite a bit more elaborate than what we had done, but I really wanted to do this, to be the interface that’s going to archive our entire history of recordings for posterity. I accepted the challenge, and redesigned the LPE for their requirements. That became what we call the LOC [Library Of Congress]. We shipped those a few months ago and they’re being installed now.”

Modifications include additional inserts and output points. In addition, LaGrou adds, the LOC system employs 100-volt discrete amplifiers instead of the 50-volt amplifiers of the LPE system, “which, I think, are a sonic improvement.”

“The technologies being implemented at the NAVCC are unprecedented in scale and unmatched in their capabilities anywhere else in the world”, said Greg Lukow, NAVCC Director. “Not only will these technologies enable exponential increases in the production of high-quality preservation copies of materials that are deteriorating in their current formats, but they will provide researchers with better, faster access to more of these materials in the future.”

The new NAVCC archiving facility spans 45 acres. Its 90 miles of shelves house nearly six million pieces of A/V materials along with enormous rooms filled with nearly every known playback machine. The archives include 124 temperature-controlled nitrate film vaults, a commercial film development lab, and a wing dedicated to cleaning and restoration.

This complex of archives and technology, the most extensive of its kind in the world, is housed in nearly one-half million square feet of catacombs, mostly underground beneath Pony Mountain. The facility was built with private funds from David Packard (son of Hewlett-Packard co-founder David Packard), the largest private gift ever to the U.S. legislative branch.

In addition to being the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of moving images and sound recordings, the NAVCC will be the largest end-user of hard disk drives on the planet, surpassing Google.

Millennia Music & Media Systems

Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center