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The Czech National Museum acquires an INA-Saphir optical digitization system

The Czech National Museum acquires an INA-Saphir optical digitization system

The French National Audiovisual Institute (INA) and the Czech National Museum are proud to announce that National Museum have made the acquisition of an INA-Saphir 78rpm disc records optical digitization system. The system was purchased as part of the “Research and Science Project in National Museum”, which focuses on audio preservation, digitization and access to audio cultural heritage in the Czech Republic. INA-Saphir is designed to read and digitize fragile audio materials without stylus nor contact.

The INA-Saphir system operating in Prague". Credits : INA.

The equipment was installed on august 21st 2023 in Prague in the National Museum facilities, in their sound studio within the Music Museum, and the first recordings were digitized immediately. The INA-Saphir system will allow the digitization of numerous otherwise unplayable analogue audio disc records, including de-laminating lacquer records, broken glass-based and shellac records, fragile transcription discs…

Among the first records digitized using INA-Saphir are recordings of “We refuse to die” claim by Eduard Benes, Czechoslovakia's President in exile, following the Lidice massacre, on June 10th 1942. Those glass-based lacquer records were broken in several pieces but could be recovered optically.

“We thank the National Museum for trusting the INA-Saphir system for digitizing optically their endangered disc records. We are committed to improve the system based on their feedback and expect this installation to be only the first of a long series of deliveries to help digitizing fragile audio cultural heritage records.”

Jean-Hugues Chenot, INA-Saphir project manager

“When I first saw the research and INA-Saphir in 2019, I knew that we needed to include this in our preservation workflow. I'm happy that we have this opportunity now with our purchase and installation in the Czech Museum of Music. We look forward to continued partnership with Jean-Hugues and INA.”

Filip Šír, National Museum coordinator for audio preservation

“INA-Saphir is a new paradigm in disc restoration and preservation. In the past, broken disc restoration would not be possible with even the best restoration devices and techniques. These damaged specimens would languish in our archives, keeping a key part of our history in limbo. With INA-Saphir, we are now able to quickly recover the most damaged discs and restore the content to high quality digital audio. We are honored to be the first recipients of this astounding device and look forward to a long collaboration with Jean-Hugues and INA.”

Geoff Tyson, National Museum Sound Lab sound engineer

Filip Šír, Jean-Hugues Chenot, Geoff Tyson, Martin Mejzr, in front of the INA-Saphir setup. Credits: Filip Šír.

Filip Šír, Jean-Hugues Chenot, Geoff Tyson, Martin Mejzr, in front of the INA-Saphir setup. Credits: Filip Šír.

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