----- Original Message -----
From: <[log in to unmask]>
> ARSCLIST is about preserving sound, not artifacts.
Your honour, ...
The actual name is *A*ssociation of *R*ecorded *S*ound *C*ollections.
What that means, since we are not all out with our battery-powered
cassete recorders with built-in microphones (passing thought...SHOULD
we be?) what we are, in theory, preserving, is extant sound RECORDINGS...
which are most definitely "artifacts!" However, another of our duties
(too often ignored at the behest of neo-populist governments) is to
create archives. These archives must be of the original "documents"
(used here for both paper documents and recordings)...AND...
information both ABOUT and ON those "documents!"
Having the sonic contents of a given recording is interesting
and may be enjoyable...but this, as an entity, tells us nothing about
the circumstances involved with the recording! Who made it...when...
FOR whom...and under what circumstances? Was this the initial recording
of the song? Many times the story OF the recording...how it came
to be, why, etc. & so on...is more interesting than the recording
itself! In fact, this story may have more to say about the historic
details of an era than does the recording!
But...many of us...by accident or (I hope) by choice...are also
archivists. We go beyond looking at/playing an old recording and
thinking/assuming "Hm-m-m...that's enjoyable to listen to!" Our
(self-)assigned task is to fit the recording, as an artifact
(both sonic and physical) into the appropriate timeline of history...
and, having done so, preserve:
1) The actual recording in its original form
2) Any facts we have been able to establish about both the recording
itself and the copy (possibly literally such?) in our posession
3) The sonic contents...the sound which was in theory created at the
time and thus transferred to some more permanent form.
As you can see, any single part of this gives us only a partial
"picture"...and thus a partial understanding of the importance...of
the entity in question!
Finally, one more point...by creating a sonic archive using today's
technology, which is to a certain extent limited (and possibly will
not be to the same extent in the future)...are we not effectively
creating only a partial archive? We listen to acoustic recordings
of artists who only made such, and think "I wonder what the ACTUAL
sound was like." By the same token, imagine a future where the
limits of digital archiving have approached the molecularly-
defined limnitations of analog recording...and our archive is
defined by 1990's sound-file limitations...