In the field of multimedia, very little attention is given to the activities involved
in the preservation of audio documents. At the same time, more and more archives storing
audio and video documents face the problem of obsolescing and degrading media, which
could largely benefit from the instruments and the methodologies of research in multimedia.
This paper presents the methodology and the results of the Italian project REVIVAL,
aimed at the development of a hardware/software platform to support the active preservation
of the audio collection of the Fondazione Arena di Verona, one of the finest in Europe
for the operatic genre, with a special attention on protocols and tools for quality
control. On the scientific side, the most significant objectives achieved by the project
are (i) the setup of a working environment inside the archive, (ii) the knowledge
transfer to the archival personnel, (iii) the realization of chemical analyses on
magnetic tapes in collaboration with experts in the fields of materials science and
chemistry, and (iv) the development of original open-source software tools. On the
cultural side, the recovery, the safeguard, and the access to unique copies of unpublished
live recordings of artists the calibre of Domingo and Pavarotti are of great musicological
and economical value.