As some of you know, most of the materials in the Yale Collection of Historical Sound Recordings are currently housed in a building which must be emptied in preparation for demolition. The University's administration has just informed me that the HSR collection's holdings should be moved to the Library's off-site warehouse (about 5 miles from HSR's playback studio), which is not accessible to collection staff and which is maintained at year-round climate conditions of 50 degrees Fahrenheit and 30% relative humidity. Items are retrieved by the facility's staff, placed in plastic containers, loaded onto trucks with no climate control, and delivered to the building which houses the HSR studio by staff who deal with paper and have no training in handling fragile or brittle items.
My supervisor and I have concerns about this proposal, and I've been instructed to prepare a statement for him to present to the administration about storing and handling HSR materials. What libraries SHOULD do about storage and handling of audio recordings has been well stated in several places with recommendations based on considerable research; so that part of preparing a proposal is all right.
The help my supervisor and I need is in stating, with backup research and evidence (or experience), why certain kinds of audio materials should NOT be stored in this warehouse environment of 50 F. and 30% RH.
The HSR collection includes sound recordings in the following formats for which information is needed:
1) Cylinder records (wax, celluloid, and other),
2) "Acetates" (lacquer-coated metal or glass discs used for instantaneous recordings),
3) "Shellac" discs of all types,
4) Vinyl discs,
5) Styrene discs,
6) CD's (commercial),
All of us involved in archives of audio, including me and my ca.-60-years of experience, can immediately state all sorts of reasons why this or that format should not be stored in the conditions specified and should not be handled by untrained staff.
Please help by sending any evidence, printed references, or notes on actual experiences that would help make the case for NOT storing certain recordings in the 50 / 30 warehouse.
Thanks and best wishes, Richard
P. S.: In case the news hasn't reached you, as of July 1, 2010, because of the budget situation, Yale HSR has been restricted to operating Tuesdays - Thursdays only. Because Yale research must have priority, please be patient if you have questions or need to arrange a research visit.