Audio timeline

Music Cataloging at YaleSound recording cataloging

Note: this page was created as an aid for cataloging sound recordings.

Excerpted from Preparing for the brave new world of sound recordings cataloging
by Mary Huismann, University of Minnesota; used with permission
See the complete power point presentation from the 2006 OLAC Conference
information also from Wikipedia and other sources

Year Physical format Content format
1870s Phonograph cylinder Analog; "hill-and-dale" grooves, vertical stylus
1895 Gramophone record Analog; lateral grooves, horizontal stylus
ca. 1898 78rpm or 78s disc first produced around 1898; popular from 1910-1950s; by 1910 actual speed ranged from about 78 to 80 rpm; size was 10 or 12 inches
1930s Wire recording Analog
1940s 1 Reel-to-reel tape
Magnetic tape
1948 Vinyl record Analog; lateral grooves, horizontal stylus
     also known as LP or long-playing records
1957 Stereophonic vinyl record Analog; lateral/vertical stylus (each channel encoded 45 degrees to vertical)
1963 2 Audio cassette Analog; 1/8 in. tape width; 1 7/8 ips
     popular in the US through the 1990s
1964 8-track tape Analog; 1/4 in. tape width; 3 3/4 ips in an endless loop cartridge
1969 Microcassette Analog
1970   Dolby noise reduction introduced (cassettes)
1975 Betamax digital audio "Dolby Stereo" cinema surround sound
1982 Compact disc Digital; usually 4 3/4 in. diameter
     first available in Japan in October 1982, in Europe in February 1983, and in the US in March 1983
1985 CD-ROM  
1987 Digital audio tape (DAT) cassette version of the CD; used in the recording industry until 2000; DAT players ceased production in 2005
1990s Digital compact cassette  
1991 MiniDisc  
1992   WAVEform (WAV)
Dolby digital surround cinema sound
1993   Dolby theatre system (DTS)
Sony dynamic digital sound (SDDS)
1995   MP3
1996 DVD  
1999 3 Streaming audio  
1999 Super audio CD (SACD) Windows media audio (WMA) (higher sampling rate, spatial sound capability)
2000 DVD-Audio  
2004 DualDisc CD on one side, DVD on the other
2005 Playaway  
Cataloging guidelines: Playaway Guide to cataloging playaway devices (MLA/OLAC Playaway Cataloging Joint Task Force)
WAV, WMA, MP3: Best practices for cataloging streaming media (OLAC Cataloging Policy Committee)

OCLC gives different dates; see under REC guidelines for $c
1 OCLC gives this date as 1954
2 OCLC gives this date as 1965
3 This date is from OCLC