Mahern Archival Preservation

Record Presevation

Digital Archive Experience

Paul Mahern

Paul Mahern


    - Founder & President of Mahern Archival Preservation

    - Project Engineer for Sound Directions Phase I and II, at the Indiana University Archives of Traditional Music (2005 - 2008)


    The IU Archives of Traditional Music “Sound Directions” project is an NEH funded research project charged with finding the best methods for digitally preserving legacy analog audio carriers.

    Phase 1 of Sound Directions produced four key results:

    1. A publication of our findings and best practices entitled Sound Directions: Best Practices for Audio Preservation

    2. The development of much needed software tools for audio preservation

    3. The creation or further development of audio preservation systems at each institution

    4. The preservation of a number of critically endangered and highly valuable recordings


    Paul’s daily responsibilities with Sound Directions included:

    • Preservation transfer of deteriorating open reel tapes, analog audiocassettes, lacquer discs, and aluminum discs

    • Alignment and calibration of playback machines

    • Troubleshooting and resolving problems with the media including physical restoration as necessary

    • Verifying accurate analog to digital conversion, gathering technical metadata, generating checksums, producing AES31-3 ADL’s as necessary, and completing quality control procedures

    • Conducting research in many parts of the preservation chain to develop best practices and test emerging standards

    • Designed two archival transfer studios for the Sound Directions project

    From the Sound Directions website:

    Sound Directions is a National Endowment of the Arts funded project carried out by the Indiana University Archives of Traditional Music. Sound Directions began in response to the simultaneous and rapid deterioration of unique original materials, the development of powerful new digital technologies, and the consequent decline of analog formats and media. Motivated by these facts and trends, in February 2005 the Indiana University Archives of Traditional Music and the Archive of World Music at Harvard University began Phase 1 of Sound Directions: Digital Preservation and Access for Global Audio Heritage - a joint technical archiving project with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. One major goal of the project was to test emerging standards and develop best practices for audio preservation. Please follow this link to read Sound Directions: A Guide to Best Practices which is a technical paper based upon the findings of Paul Mahern throughout his time at the Archives of Traditional Music and written by Mike Casey.


    Audio Engineering Experience

    Paul has worked for twenty-three years in audio production and engineering. He has vast experience with all analog and digital recording formats. Paul has been directly involved in the production of 300+ albums including several RIAA-certified gold and platinum releases. Paul is Owner/President of Mahern Audio Engineering, Inc., and Owner/Manager of the White Arc Recording Studio, Bloomington.

    Paul continues to collaborate with several of the recording industry’s most sought after audio producer/engineers including T-Bone Burnett, Mark Hood, Don Gehman, Ray Kennedy, Ross Hogarth, David Thoener, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, and Malcolm Burn. To see Paul’s discography and learn more about production and engineering services visit MahernAudio.com.

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