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album

The noun album has a couple of meanings. First it is a book with blank pages on which one affixes mostly paper things to store them as keepsakes that can be looked at from time to time. There are, for example photo albums and stamp albums.

At least, there were such albums in the days when paper existed. It’s hard to store electrons in one of a paper-based album.

Some software developers that create applications or, as the young folk like to say, apps for managing digital photos refer to the electronic collections of photos managed by their apps as albums. That’s kind of quaint, isn’t it?

An album also used to be a disc made of vinyl on which music was recorded in a spiraling groove. The disk spun on a record player and a needle riding in the groove resonated to the etchings in the groove. That was translated into sound that was played through speakers.

There was a spiral on each side of the disc so music could be recorded on both sides. You wouldn’t want to waste vinyl, now would you?

An album contained a collection of songs, in contrast with a “45” that contained one song on each side. (45 referred to the speed at which the disk spun, i.e. 45 revolutions per minute. Albums spun at 33 revolutions per minute. Don’t ask me why they turned at different speeds. I have no idea. And I don’t particularly care.)

This sort of album still exists today, but they are hard to find. Albums were mostly replaced by CDs.

If you are a member of the iPod generation and you’re too young to know what a CD was, ask your parents or older siblings. I’m too much of a curmudgeon to want to spend time educating you on that.

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