Guide to the Rigler-Deutsch Index Computer Tapes ARS.0105

Finding aid prepared by Franz Kunst
Archive of Recorded Sound
Braun Music Center
541 Lasuen Mall
Stanford University
Stanford, California, 94305-3076
© 2011
The Board of Trustees of Stanford University. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Rigler-Deutsch Index Computer Tapes
Date: 1985
Collection number: ARS.0105
Collection size: 2 boxes : 31 computer tapes
Repository: Archive of Recorded Sound
Abstract: Computer tapes containing data from the Rigler and Deutsch Index of Recorded Sound (RDI), a union catalog of 78-rpm disc holdings from several major research libraries, including the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound.
Language of Material: English


Open for research; material must be requested at least two business days in advance of intended use. Contact the Archive for assistance.

Publication Rights

Property rights reside with repository. Publication and reproduction rights reside with the creators or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Head Librarian of the Archive of Recorded Sound.

Preferred Citation

Rigler-Deutsch Index Computer Tapes, ARS-0105. Courtesy of the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.


This finding aid was produced with generous financial support from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Scope and Contents

The Rigler and Deutsch Index of Recorded Sound (RDI) was a union catalog of 78-rpm discs in the sound recording collections at five different Association of Research Libraries institutions: the Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division; the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound at the New York Public Library; Syracuse University's Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive; the Yale Collection of Historical Sound Recordings; and the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound. The index was distributed to ARL members beginning in 1984, and was available on microform or on the Research Libraries Information Network (RLIN).
Contained in this collection are 31 10.5” reel IBM and Memorex brand computer tapes containing information relating to approximately 615,000 disc recordings. The labels of these discs were photographed, resulting in 1,230,000 microfilm images. There is little identifying information on the reels, outside of the dates 7/21/1985, 7/31/1985, and 8/1/1985. Although the RDI’s flaws are evident today (little authority control, inexperienced data entry, etc.), the project was a landmark accomplishment and established the possibility of a cooperative catalog for a given medium. The Archive of Recorded Sound also maintains its microform version of the Rigler-Deutsch Index.
In 2013, Stanford University Libraries undertook an effort to recover the digital content from these 31 computer tapes. 24 of the tapes may contain machine code of some sort. The advanced state of deterioration of this subset of tapes prevented reading more than spare samples from two of the tapes. 7 of the tapes have labels indicating they were at one time part of the tape library of Stanford’s institutional data center. This subset of tapes proved to be readable. For more complete information, consult the related information in the Rigler and Deutsch Record Index collection in the Stanford Digital Repository. Presented here is a copy of the Final Report for the 1980s project , and details from the effort to recover the digital content from these 31 tapes . Within these later details can be found analysis of the state of the 24 problem tapes, analysis of the content of the 7 readable tapes, photos of the labels on both subsets of tape, and files containing the retrieved digital content which includes full (or nearly so) content from the 7 readable tapes and samples that were recovered from 2 of the 24 problem tapes


Lloyd E. Rigler and Lawrence E. Deutsch were philanthropists and partners in a successful business. Deutsch was also a record collector, and when he passed away in 1977, he left his estate to their Foundation. Meanwhile, in 1974 planning for a union catalog was initiated by the Associated Audio Archives of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC), and work began on the project in 1981. Rigler underwrote the effort, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Ledler Foundation. By 1984 a set of microfilm and indexes were distributed. Free access to the index was possible at the five participating libraries. Several years ago, there was discussion of reviving the RDI and combining it with the American Vintage Record Labelography (AVRL) project. Unfortunately no further developments have been reported.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Sound recordings--Catalogs