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ARSCLIST  May 2010

ARSCLIST May 2010

Subject:

Re: Audio preservation - .....-paper records

From:

Dan Nelson <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 20 May 2010 21:36:15 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (426 lines)

Im always on the hunt for  paper records.... contributions accepted even nominal pay
d ward

--- On Thu, 5/20/10, Roger Kulp <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> From: Roger Kulp <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Audio preservation training - both sides of it.....-was Glass Records
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Date: Thursday, May 20, 2010, 5:30 PM
> One question.Anybody who has seen
> these personally recorded paper records,from the 30s and
> 40s,knows that they are usually unplayable by now.I assume
> there are archival and audio pros,who can still play
> them.Is anybody actively seeking them,so if you find any you
> can send them to whoever might want them.
>  Roger
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> ________________________________
> From: Jim Lindner <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Sent: Wed, May 19, 2010 8:39:22 PM
> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Audio preservation training - both
> sides of it.....-was Glass Records
> 
> I think that it is fair to say that there is a large
> disconnect between the library and archive communities and
> the professional technical communities of sound, video, and
> film - and there has been for some time. But I do think that
> it is getting better - not worse.
> 
> Many of the collections held in the institutions of which
> we speak are very large - and not just in The Library of
> Congress. The University of Maryland as just one example,
> has a huge and important collection and many other
> institutions have much larger collections then you might
> even suspect. Even public libraries can have huge
> collections - the New York Public Library, for example, has
> specialized collections in the performing arts (that most
> ARSC members are aware of), but also collections in local
> branches that may be community based and are very impressive
> in their own right. Many years ago I restored a 1/2" reel to
> reel videorecording that was made at the Brooklyn Public
> Library - the client said that it was the first recording
> showing  the beginning of Break Dancing and I am sure they
> are correct. I never would have thought it would be in a
> community library and from the early 70's - but there it
> was.
> 
> Sometimes as audio or video professionals we forget about
> the importance of these local recordings, but they are a
> very important part of our cultural heritage. Sometimes it
> is the little personal snippets that tell a different side
> of important historical events that give things some scale
> on a human level. I think that this has been shown many
> times by the work of Ken Burns. Whether you like his work or
> not, what I am referring to is his use of "little" stories
> to provide a different context to larger events. One of the
> recent strong areas of interest in the AV Archival community
> of late is "Home Movies" and as audio professionals we know
> that these personal audio recordings co-existed with home
> movies and pre-date them in many instances. These are
> important, and may now be in collections where the people
> who are managing them literally do not know what they are
> content wise, but have no clue as to what they even are
> physically and I believe that many
>  are in jeopardy because very few 30 somethings would have
> any idea that the piece of cardboard that is shiny on one
> side actually has grooves that contain a personal recording
> from a GI to his sweetheart in the 1940's. 
> 
> It is important to remember that in almost all cases the
> libraries and archives did not create the content that they
> hold, but acquired it through a variety of ways over many
> years. Particularly in the case of public institutions -
> they took things when no one else would - and for this
> reason we owe them all a great deal of thanks. In many cases
> the collection of AV materials came almost by "accident" as
> a part of a collection of personal papers or other items
> that may have belonged to another gift. In some cases the
> collections at first were not sought out, but ended up in
> the library because no one else really knew what to do with
> them. While there are many institutions that have specific
> collections with specific collection mandates that go back
> decades, other institutions have recordings almost by
> mistake and they represent a tiny percentage of the general
> holdings. Even though the materials represent a tiny portion
> of the entire collection - tiny
>  becomes huge when dealing with some university libraries
> (for example) where their collections number in the tens of
> millions of objects.
> 
> As has been pointed out here, it is not without some irony
> that some of our most precious audio and visual recordings
> have been left to the care of people who are the least
> technically capable of caring for them. The "caring" part is
> a complex matter and has to do not only with the technical
> craft and equipment but with fundamental funding methods and
> information storage and handling technologies which are
> different then that used in general library collection and
> management. Part of the problem has been the isolation of
> both "groups" in the past with the library community in
> general having little knowledge and funds or ability to care
> for collections which were fundamentally different from the
> general mandate, and the professional AV practitioner who
> generally worked in a production environment where they
> could create - and also make a living.
> 
> Libraries and Archives to a large extent are part of the
> Academic community and as such require certain credentials
> because it is a part of what they do for every job they
> fill. I have had battles on more then one occasion with HR
> departments when a position was available.... to get a
> Masters degree requirement REMOVED from a job description
> because the project needed a playback person with good
> technical skills. While having an advanced degree might be
> nice - it did not really relate to the job that needed to be
> performed. Very frankly I have lost those battles far more
> often then i have won them, and one reason for that is the
> economic reality that in general there are more applicants
> who are qualified then there are jobs, and if you were
> choosing between two applicants who seemingly could perform
> a given job with more then adequate experience and
> credentials - then then having a degree will make a
> difference between who get's it and who doesn't. 
> 
> One main issue not discussed is not only the lack of
> technical AV training in the Archival communities, but also
> the lack of training in the production world for dealing
> with things archival. There has been more then a bit of
> progress with training AV Archivists as evidenced by several
> degree programs that did not even exist only a few years
> ago. On an international basis there are now several
> different degree granting programs that train AV Archivists.
> Unfortunately the same can not be said on the other side of
> things, for example a fast examination at any bookstore that
> sells books on Film, Audio, or Video production will show
> that the proper care and handling of archival materials, or
> more importantly... materials that MAY BECOME ARCHIVAL is
> not even mentioned in the index no less given even a chapter
> in text books. We now know that the survivability of
> carriers is largely dependent on their care and handling
> during and after production but this
>  knowledge is still contained in hard to find and esoteric
> and expensive (for a student) standards and practices that a
> typical production student is not even exposed to.
> 
> There are few class materials by which to train people in
> the proper handling of AV materials. There are no classes
> that I have ever heard of that "train the trainers" nor are
> there classes to train the production community on the
> proper care of these materials by people who only come into
> contact with them sporadically. Members of this list all
> have their own horror stories of seeing some of our fellow
> technical people handle archival materials in ways that are
> just inappropriate or worse. So how are we training the
> young people who are interested in this specialty or are in
> the larger production community - the sad truth is that for
> the most part we don't.
> 
> So - how can we move this forward? I think that ARSC can
> have a role here in outreach and in codifying some of the
> knowledge contained by the membership into readable and
> coherent materials that can be used for reference and
> training. As a trainer, I would appreciate (for example)
> materials that I could use for an introductory class that
> would explain the historical processes of disk mastering and
> the best ways of storing and playing back the various kinds
> of disks. How about training materials on track layout,
> speed, and why azimuth matters - written in a way that
> others can understand? The intent of this type of material
> is not to try to turn anyone into an audio engineer, but to
> explain (for example) why different styluses must be used
> for different types of recordings and how you will need to
> consider these types of issues and thereby pointing out the
> value of the skill of a well trained audio engineer. The
> point here is not to try to turn an
>  archivist into an engineer but to provide the
> understanding and appreciation for what the skill set is,
> and to encourage their use - instead of going out and buying
> a cheap usb turntable and thinking that real preservation
> work is being done. 
> 
> On the other side of the equation, there is a great deal of
> knowledge in the Archival community and learning some of the
> guiding principles of Archival practice and the rationale
> for them is something that too few in this community does.
> These books are out there, and available, and worth a read.
> Too few members of the technical community even know the
> basic precepts of Archival practice as evidenced by the
> things we all see every day in production. Some of this
> knowledge does need to be adapted for what we do, but the
> basic underlying ethical precepts and rational should be
> understood by all craftspeople who work in production, and
> sadly this clearly is not the case.
> 
> 
> 
> Jim Lindner
> 
> Email: [log in to unmask]
>     
>   Media Matters LLC.
>   450 West 31st Street 4th Floor
>   New York, N.Y. 10001
> 
> eFax (646) 349-4475
> Mobile: (917) 945-2662
>     
> www.media-matters.net
> Media Matters LLC. is a technical consultancy specializing
> in archival audio and video material. We provide advice and
> analysis, to media archives that apply the beneficial
> advances in technology to collection management.
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> On May 19, 2010, at 6:23 PM, Scott D. Smith wrote:
> 
> > Jim,
> > 
> > You didn't mention where you work, but it is
> encouraging to know that there are still institutions who
> look at more than just academic pursuits when it comes to
> evaluating applicants for archival positions. While I
> certainly don't have any issue with those who have
> sacrificed their time and money to pursue a degree (quite a
> few whom I have the utmost respect for), it does concern me
> that the hiring criteria at many institutions over the past
> decade appears to weigh a formal education over verified
> practical knowledge and working experience.
> > 
> > While I personally think there's room for many
> disciplines within the field of audio archiving and
> restoration (as can be witnessed by this list!), I worries
> me that many institutions are becoming increasingly inbred
> when it comes to their choice of candidates. It's good to
> know that there's still hope for those who may possess a
> wealth of knowledge, but not a degree.
> > 
> > Scott D. Smith C.A.S.
> > Chicago Audio Works, Inc.
> > 
> > (sent after my lunch break!...)
> > 
> > 
> > Jim Sam wrote:
> >> Hi Steven,
> >> 
> >> Have you ever applied for one of these jobs you
> feel you're qualified for?
> >> 
> >> I ask because I am someone that is working
> professionally in an archives
> >> with audio materials, and I do not have a masters
> degree.  My B.S. isn't
> >> even in a typical archivist-esque undergrad field;
> mine is in Audio
> >> Technology.  As noted by another person when
> you've complained about this
> >> before, high-profile archival institutions have
> employees and managers that
> >> do not have an MLS, etc.  It happened in the
> past, at the least.
> >> 
> >> It would be helpful to know if you've applied and
> were denied (and how many
> >> times), or if this is conjecture on your part. 
> Students and interns read
> >> this list, and it would be helpful for them to
> have an instructive,
> >> constructive discussion of employment
> possibilities with all the relevant
> >> information.
> >> 
> >> Thanks,
> >> Jim
> >> (sent during my lunch break)
> >> 
> >> 
> >> 
> >> On Wed, May 19, 2010 at 9:41 AM, Roger Kulp <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> >> 
> >>  
> >>> I had always thought there ought to be a way
> to apply knowledge acquired as
> >>> a collector to an archival job.Why is someone
> with six years of college, a
> >>> library science degree,and questionable real
> world experience better than
> >>> someone with thirty or forty years experience
> as an advanced collector, and
> >>> started as a child, as most of us did,but have
> no such degree?
> >>> 
> >>> Roger
> >>> 
> >>> ________________________________
> >>> From: Steven C. Barr <[log in to unmask]>
> >>> To: [log in to unmask]
> >>> Sent: Tue, May 18, 2010 10:19:54 PM
> >>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Audio preservation-was
> Glass Records
> >>> 
> >>>
> --------------------------------------------------
> >>> From: "Karl Miller" <[log in to unmask]>
> >>>    
> >>>> Yes, MLS means Master of Library
> Science.  And it's true that very few
> >>>>      
> >>> library/archival programs provide extensive
> training in audio preservation.
> >>> They focus on text, and rightly so, because
> that's what the vast majority of
> >>> librarians and archivists work with.  Very
> few of us are lucky enough to
> >>> work with sound recordings.
> >>>    
> >>>> I think it is informative to read David
> Seubert's well-considered
> >>>>      
> >>> statement in the ARSC newsletter. He points
> out, as I have for years, at the
> >>> lack of interest in audio on the part of
> libraries. Central to all of this
> >>> is the lack of any regularized funding for
> audio preservation. Grants are
> >>> not the answer.
> >>>    
> >>>> Also, here at the University of Texas, our
> Preservation School was
> >>>>      
> >>> dissolved, and while a few classes in
> preservation remain, whatever
> >>> specialization there was in preservation has
> been abandoned. In some ways
> >>> the lack of serious training in preservation
> makes sense...if libraries are
> >>> not interested in preservation, why train
> students in that discipline? As I
> >>> pointed out in one of my articles, about 3% of
> the total budgets of the
> >>> member libraries of the Association of
> Research Libraries is spent on
> >>> preservation, with the bulk of that going to
> things like the binding of
> >>> serials...assuming libraries are still getting
> paper copies...not even
> >>> considering the implications of just getting
> access to publications
> >>> electronically=not owning your own copy.
> Similarly, it is likely that many
> >>> music libraries will cease buying CDs in the
> not too distant future.
> >>>    
> >>>> Further, as I would assume all of us would
> agree, you can't teach audio
> >>>>      
> >>> preservation in two 3-hour courses, which is
> what I tried to do for several
> >>> years. You can probably teach audio
> preservation "appreciation" in that
> >>> length of time.
> >>>    
> >>>> As all of us on this list know, depending
> on the nature of what needs to
> >>>>      
> >>> be preserved, audio preservation can require a
> broad range of knowledge; an
> >>> understanding of the digital and analog
> technologies, acoustics, chemistry,
> >>> etc. to knowledge of discography and, in the
> case of music recordings, music
> >>> training. Interestingly, considering the
> incredible experience many on this
> >>> list have, I would be amazed if many libraries
> would consider hiring any of
> >>> you who are practitioners. Perhaps Library of
> Congress being the one
> >>> exception to that perspective.
> >>>    
> >>>> Karl (who thinks that much of the future
> of libraries can be found in the
> >>>>      
> >>> past)
> >>>    I used to find it both annoying and
> frustrating that I would NEVER be
> >>> considered
> >>> for a position involving archiving sound
> recordings, since I lacked any
> >>> relevant
> >>> degrees! Meanwhile, I have accumulated and to
> some extent catalogued some
> >>> 57,000 78rpm recordings...as well as created
> one of the standard reference
> >>> works for the keepers of similar archives. To
> what extent are to-day's
> >>> sound
> >>> archivists aware of discography and/or its
> standard reference sources?!
> >>> 
> >>> Steven C. Barr
> >>> 
> >>> 
> >>> 
> >>> 
> >>>    
> >> 
> >>  
> > 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 


      

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