At 03:36 AM 7/5/2003 -0500, Brandon Burke wrote:
>I obviously can't disagree with this argument altogether but, were you to only
>select one, by what process would you choose a lone representative
>each of these songs? Is a recording recorded at a campfire in Omaha, Nebraska
>in 1954 more 'authentic' than one performed by a group of girls in Brooklyn in
>1978? Seems to me that there's a legitimate case for preserving a number of
>interpretations. It is, after all, modern folk culture. It goes without
>that no one has the funds to preserve everything, so I'm not suggesting some
>sort of W.W.A.D.? (What Would Asch Do?) theory, but there are some serious
>issues involved in deaccesioning recordings of this nature.
Oh, I would not make the selection - at least not willingly. If I had to do
so, I'd establish some criteria for selection and limit the process to
perhaps one, but more likely two or three. It is the idea that there is
some compelling interest in preserving everything which is anathema to me.
There are many reasons for that reaction; one is that since we cannot
preserve all, there is no sense in preserving any. The archivist who
insists on the impossible will have to deal with the threat of doing the
possible - nothing at all.
Judgement must be used in spending limited funds and finite time on
preservation of what approaches infinite material. I believe the archivist
of audio material could take the lead of those preserving historic sites
and buildings. Every hovel has a history and some day a former resident may
prove to have been a pivotal figure. But that possibility does not ensure
that it is worthy of protection from the march of progress. Our criteria
will be different in part because preserving one recording does not impede
development; however, the resources used for our noble objective will not
be available for other, lesser ones - such as preserving buildings or
providing pre-natal care to the needy or books for the lending library.
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