Thousands of CDs and vinyl records line the walls of the WBOR radio station, but its managers believe the DJs who use the studio underutilize the extensive, yet disorganized, music collection.

With a new grant to digitize their collection, WBOR hopes to modernize and consolidate their operation.

"We perceive most DJs, especially campus DJs, when they go into the station, the majority play music off their iPod or computer or personal device," said Will Albuquerque '11, WBOR's publicity director. "How it stands now, if you want a CD, if you want to look through our collection, you have to roam around and find it."

The grant will allow Albuquerque to spend this summer on campus, working to organize and digitize the collection.

WBOR's collection is made up of purchased CDs and vinyl records, along with those provided by promotional channels, bands and record companies.

Alumnus John Gibbons '64 donated the funding for the grant, which is annually awarded to students pursuing educational technology projects. Ben Johnson '11 received the same grant last year to fund his development of the Dining Service iPhone application. In addition to WBOR's enterprise to digitize, the Gibbons grant will fund nine other technology projects this year.

The grant will provide WBOR with $3,000 to purchase the equipment necessary to carry out the project and to pay Albuquerque's summer stipend. The new equipment includes an Apple MacBook Pro computer to house the collection and multiple hard drives to store and backup the files.

"This would have been difficult to do for under $3,000 a few years ago," said Information Technology (IT) Webmaster Mark Leaman. "The drives alone would have cost that much."

Albuquerque said WBOR decided it was time to digitize their musical collection after hearing that Bates College had begun a similar project at their radio station.

Albuquerque predicts that it will be "a very arduous task" to import the music on to the laptop and then catalog the information. But he said he also believes the benefits of the completed task will be well worth the labor. According to Albuquerque, a digital collection will "make it easier for people who have radio stations to use the studio and access the very valuable collection."

The fate of the CDs and vinyl records following the completion of the project is currently unknown.

"The hope is that we can move the CDs somewhere and clear space, but with the vinyls, we want to keep them there," said Albuquerque. "They have a certain aesthetic that we will use."

"They cannot get rid of [the CDs] due to copyright laws, so what we are recommending is that they organize and catalogue those as well and then hopefully they can find a space to store them," said IT Educational Research Consultant Jennifer Snow.

According to Leaman, when WBOR imports the CDs onto the hard drive, they are making a copy of the disk. If they were to dispose of the disks, they would be breaking copyright laws because they are no longer the owners of the original media.

Albuquerque estimated that the digitalization will take eight weeks during the summer. He will be handling the project individually.

"I think overall we are trying to kind of turn over a new leaf in WBOR," said Albuquerque. "It is a very long running Bowdoin institution and a lot of students are active in it, so we are trying to...continue to improve the quality of the WBOR experience."