Marching band vinyl goes digital

March 5, 2013 9:00 AM

Benton Oliver

The Tulane University Digital Library has been expanded with a funky new addition: The digitized archives of original Tulane University Marching Band vinyl recordings representing every year from 1956 to 1981.

Digital archives

Vintage LP recordings of the Tulane University Marching Band are available in the digital archives at Howard-Tilton Memorial Library. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

“The LP collection has come to us from a variety of sources,” says head music and media librarian Lisa Hooper of the newly digitized collection. “We’ve been holding onto some for years, unprocessed and uncatalogued, but then in 2011-12, an alumnus approached [current band director] Barry Spanier with his own collection of vinyl from when he was a student in the university band. Both he and Spanier wanted them to reach a bigger audience than LPs sitting on a shelf would.”

The donation came at the same time the digital library was launched, making it possible to digitize the recordings to make them freely available online.

Lance Query, dean of libraries and academic information resources, says, “These kinds of riches come to rich collections, which is one of the reasons we want to get this out there.”  Explaining the clout that well developed, specialized collections have in drawing donations of related material, he said, “We want to attract this stuff, and the digital library gives us a way to do that.”

The Tulane University Digital Library is a fairly new project that began during summer 2012. It includes digitized versions of primary documents from the archives and special collections at Tulane, ranging from Charity Hospital’s medical records from 1842 to 1974, to a carnival collection chronicling New Orleans Mardi Gras history from the 1870s through the 1940s.

A parallel project sponsored by Tulane libraries is the Tulane University Digital Repository, which provides digital access to what Query calls the university’s “intellectual capital” — such as theses, undergraduate journal articles and student and faculty research data.

Listen to this 1950s recording of “Green-eyed Girl,” below, from the B side of the Tulane University Marching Band record, "New Songs of Tulane." The song was written by the late Lucie Lee Wing, who graduated from Newcomb College in 1946 and received a master’s degree in 1948 from Tulane.

Benton Oliver is a junior at Tulane majoring in communication and music.



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