Definition of Digital Audio

Digitization is the process of transforming images, text, or sound from analog form (a continuous stream of data that we can see or hear) into digital form (a series of binary data based on a sampling process) that we can save, organize, retrieve, and restore through electronic devices into perceptible surrogates of the original works.  Of the vast number of digital assets that are being created, still images, texts, motion pictures, and sound recordings predominate. Digital audio, then, is sound that has been created through the process of digitization.
 
These guidelines address digital audio that is created through digital recording, conversion, or is acquired through a third party (e.g., via email attachment, purchase or license, downloading from the Web). Digital audio are fundamentally different from their analog counterparts (cassette tape, LP's) because it reveals no meaning without the software and hardware that translates and renders it as sound.  As binary code, we cannot find or identify digital audio except through searchable terms (metadata) that we assign to it.  While these characteristics require us to alter how we approach browsing visual materials in digital form, digitization also brings with it the tremendous benefit of “random filing,” since we no longer have the worries that come with maintaining manual, physical files that are necessary for storing audio/sound files in material form.