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"Recordings" redirects here. For the Porcupine Tree album, see Recordings (album).

Recording is the process of capturing data or translating information to a recording format stored on some form of storage medium, for example a video cassette or DVD, which is often referred to as a record or, especially if an auditory or visual medium, a recording.


The earlest human recordings are probably pre-history cave paintings found in many countries. What was recorded was often images of animals and humans although in many instances the meaning is less than clear and may be the earliest representation of art.<ref>Ghosh, Pallab. "Cave paintings change ideas about the origin of art". BBC News. BBC News. 

Formal systems of writing for recording human activities surface in several civilasations including ancient Egypt, Greece, the Middle East, China and South America.

Printing using wood blocks has been known from China for nearly 200 years. Printing using a printing press as a means of recording, was invented in Europe in the 16th century


Historical records of events have been made for thousands of years in one form or another. Amongst the earliest are cave painting, runic alphabets, and ideograms.

Ways of recording text suitable for direct reading by humans includes writing it on paper. Other forms of data storage are easier for automatic retrieval, but humans need a tool to read them. Printing text stored on a computer file enables a copy to be kept on the computer and also providing a copy that is human-readable without a tool.

Technology continues to provide and expand means for human beings to represent, record and express their thoughts, feelings and experiences. Common and easy ways of recording information are by sound, photography, and by video or film.

Analogue and digital[edit]

A solid red circle
Recording is commonly denoted by a solid red circle or the letters REC on professional and consumer equipment.

Analogue recording records analogue signals only. Digital recording records both analogue signals and digital signals.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • McWilliams, Jerry. The Preservation and Restoration of Sound Recordings. Nashville, Tenn.: American Association for State and Local History, 1979. ISBN 0-910050-41-4
  • Read, Oliver, and Walter L. Welch. From Tin Foil to Stereo: Evolution of the Phonograph. Second ed. Indianapolis, Ind.: H.W. Same & Co., 1976. N.B.: This is an historical account of the development of sound recording technology. ISBN 0-672-21205-6 pbk.
  • Read, Oliver. The Recording and Reproduction of Sound. Indianapolis, Ind.: H.W. Sams & Co., 1952. N.B.: This is a pioneering engineering account of sound recording technology.
  • St-Laurent, Gilles. "Notes on the Degradation of Sound Recordings", National Library [of Canada] News, vol. 13, no. 1 (Jan. 1991), p. 1, 3-4.