Black Gospel Music Restoration Project will become part of the Smithsonian

1/29/2014, 11:52 a.m.
The Black Gospel Music Restoration Project -- a search-and-rescue mission launched by a Baylor University researcher to save little-known recordings ...

In a story from NMAAHC's Tumblr blog http://nmaahc.tumblr.com/, Reece said that the recordings also may be used to highlight the regional diversity of early gospel music.

"Not all gospel recordings made during the pinnacle of gospel's popularity were made on major labels," she said. "Many were done in connection with local churches, and there are differences in style based on where these types of recordings were made."

Pattie Orr, vice president for information technology and dean of University Libraries at Baylor, said that the project fits well with Baylor's mission.

"We were already expanding into digital preservation of print materials, building a center whose sole purpose was to take our print collections, digitize them for preservation and then share them with the world, where possible within copyright," she said. "When Bob Darden was approached about preserving black sacred music and he came to us, it was a natural fit. Instead of digitizing only print culture, this project blessed us with the opportunity to get into digital audio preservation -- a challenge we embraced wholeheartedly and, now, with great success.

"We are preserving a phenomenon that is significant to American cultural history that will be valuable for future research," Orr said.