The Great 78 Project is on a mission to immortalize our favourite format by digitizing 78rpm vinyl records.

A combination of efforts by the Internet Archive and New York’s ARChive of Contemporary Music have culminated in the preservation of over 30,000 vinyl records online.

The records, which are mostly from the early 1950’s, are a combination of cylinder and disc records.

Each digital track is complete with the authentic crackling that only a vinyl record could produce –minus the skipping.

The Great 78 Project’s website explains the decision to create an extensive digital vinyl archive: “The Great 78 Project is a community project for the preservation, research and discovery of 78rpm records.

“We aim to bring to light the decisions by music collectors over the decades and a digital reference collection of underrepresented artists and genres.”

Going against the groove?

While the digitization of music may be bringing up bad memories for those who witnessed vinyl’s demise during 88, this technique of preserving records has a much more wholesome backstory.

Early records are in danger of soon becoming lost as a result of a vinyl records’ inevitable decay –even in the best conditions warping and scratching are to be expected. In light of this, The Great 78 Project is offering a way for the music to live on in all its vinyl glory.

The project’s website goes on to comment on the contribution to research the digitized records will have: “The digitization will make this less commonly available music accessible to researchers in a format where it can be manipulated and studied without harming the physical artifacts.

“We have preserved the often very prominent surface noise and imperfections and included files generated by different sizes and shapes of stylus to facilitate different kinds of analysis.”

The digital archives include Vera Lynn’s first commercial recording ‘I’m In The Mood For Love’, Louis Armstrong’s ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’’ and the Carter family’s classic ‘Wildwood Flower’.

You can delve into the archives here.