Linguistic and Ethnographic Sound Recordings from Early Twentieth-Century California: Optical Scanning, Digitization & Access

Division of Preservation and Access

Black and white photo of men and a woman speaking into microphone
Photo caption

Berkeley Indigenous Language Project.

Courtesy of University of California, Berkeley. 

The University of California, Berkeley aims to use the innovative technique of non-contact optical scanning, to create digital versions of the audio recorded on the nearly 3000 wax cylinders in the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology collection over a total of three years. Many of the languages recorded on the cylinders have transformed, fallen out of use, or are no longer spoken at all, making this collection a unique and invaluable resource for linguists and contemporary community members hoping to learn about or revitalize languages, or retrieve important pieces of cultural heritage.