UCSB's Early Recordings Initiative (ERI) promotes the preservation, access to, and appreciation of pre-1903 sound recordings. Read more about the Early Recordings Initiative here.

A variety of programs and projects have been organized by ERI, focused on preservation and conversation of cylinder collections, educational outreach, and more. And more are being planned. They include:


  • The Redoubtable Disc Record – And Why the Format Refuses to Die (November 2, 2023, Vimeo or YouTube)
    • A panel of industry and audio experts explores the 130-year history of the disc record and explains why–despite frequent predictions of its demise–the format’s popularity continues to grow. Intertwined with their presentations are demonstrations of period phonographs and recordings that reflect the changing musical tastes and technology since the disc first appeared in the 1890s.
  • ERI Launch Event with Hancock’s California Orchestra (April 7, 2022 - Vimeo)
    • An evening of music from the 1890s performed by Hancock’s California Orchestra to celebrate the launch of the Library's Early Recordings Initiative (ERI). A selection of 1890s hits, as originally recorded on wax cylinders, were performed by musician and historian Colin Hancock and his 5-piece orchestra at the UCSB Library on April 7, 2022. The songs selected for performance were originally recorded on fragile wax cylinders over 120 years ago.
  • Partnering to Preserve (May 19, 2022 - YouTube)
    • Association for Recorded Sound Collections Conference Presentation: "Partnering to Preserve: The UCSB Early Recordings Initiative," presented by David Seubert, Heather Silva, and Lidia Uziel (University of California, Santa Barbara) and John Levin.

Outreach and Education