Digital Preservation of Cuban Music: Case Study of the Collection of the Center for Information and Conservation of Musical Archives (CICAM) of the Recording and Musical Editions Company (EGREM)

Gretter Arias García and Perla Olivia Rodríguez Reséndiz
Electronic Media Review, Volume Eight: 2023-2024

Sound documents represent a form of heritage that must be preserved as they provide insights into the characteristics of our societies, indigenous peoples, and cultures. Technological obsolescence and the degradation of sound carriers are factors that threaten the long-term preservation of this type of documentation. Consequently, many archives and libraries worldwide are currently digitizing their analog sound contents as the primary preservation strategy. This is the only way to safeguard this form of heritage.

This research presents a case study of a sound archive in Cuba: the Center for Information and Conservation of Musical Archives (CICAM) within the Recordings and Music Editions Company (EGREM). CICAM is a heritage archive currently facing the digital preservation of its collections. Established in 2008, this archive holds a significant portion of Cuban musical history, manifested in phonograms dating from the 1940s to the present day. This music has been recorded on various media, including magnetic tapes, acetate and vinyl records, DATs, ADATs, CDs, and DVDs. The primary preservation strategy employed by CICAM thus far involves digitizing sound contents and storing them on hard drives and CDs. However, it is understood that digital preservation extends beyond these actions.

This research presents a digital preservation strategy based on the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) model, recommendations from organizations focused on sound heritage preservation such as the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA), and an assessment conducted on the archive to identify the main factors affecting its preservation. Digital preservation is a challenging process for developing countries like Cuba due to the diverse resources required for its implementation. This proposal provides the archive with a viable option for the digital preservation of its collections by making the most of the institution’s available resources.

Keywords: digital sound preservation, sound document, sound archive


Gretter Arias García
MSc. in Library and Information Studies. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México 

Perla Olivia Rodríguez Reséndiz
PhD in Documentation. Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Researcher, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México