It was not my intention to dis you or your achievements, which I do
respect. Much of my life up through my mid-forties, was spent in pretty
much the same boat and I probably have accomplished a good deal less
than you in the areas you describe. I just tried to give some
perspective on what might be the motives and justifications of a HR
dept. writing such a job description. No one pursuing a graduate degree
in Library Science would have the time or means to accumulate all the
valuable experience you describe in their course of study. A good deal
of this experience would be quite valuable to a librarian/archivist, but
so would a lot of other things that tend to come up in library school. I
would be eager (seriously) to take your discography 101 course, but I
stick to my guns on what might be quantifiable and of most value in an
institutional setting like the one in the original posting.
Anyhow, I was just musing about what I value in my background and it
was never meant to denigrate a kindred spirit.
Steven C. Barr wrote:
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Peter Hirsch" <[log in to unmask]>
>>Some personal thoughts stirred up by reading of your dissatisfaction
>>with the academic credentials required in a job posting:
>>Though I recall the same feeling of frustration at finding my employment
>>horizons limited in a similarly arbitrary-seeming fashion back when I
>>(only) had a couple or three decades of experience as a working
>>musician, sound recording collector and avid researcher of all things
>>musical, I would not say that I regret for one single moment the three
>>years spent getting my MLS at night while working full-time (among other
>>pursuits). Believe me, it did make a difference, for me at least. It is
>>not one of those spam Internet degrees and being able to communicate as
>>a peer with other librarians (and, to a lesser degree, archivists) is an
>>asset that I'm sure would come in handy for this Nashville job.
>>Following the discussions on this list that edge into the library area,
>>particularly those centered on cataloging, frequently reminds me of
>>people who think they know how to medicate themselves based on
>>experience and anecdote ans then disparage MDs because they are formally
>>trained in what they do. Doctors (and catalogers) do some stupid things,
>>but they do more good than harm and much of this is due to their formal
>>training. I was an adolescent in the 60's and like everyone I knew, I
>>was sure that I knew everything and had little respect for the certified
>>authorities (we were mostly right as it turned out, but I am talking
>>about something other than society in general here). When I look back
>>over the intervening period, I realize that I did know a fair amount of
>>stuff about music and records but I've only had a real grip on how to
>>make it useful to others in the dozen or so years since I took my first
>>LIS courses. Many of the courses have faded from memory already, but the
>>rigor of study for a degree was much different than privately pursuing
>>knowledge and that discipline has stood up well since those days.
>>There seem to be people that are further along than others when it comes
>>to natural ability in this area and I am sure you are in the further
>>along category, but I don't blame potential employers from drawing this
>>particular line when it might be difficult otherwise to limit the pool
>>of applicants for a job in a meaningful manner. I believe that in the
>>not too distant past one was hired to work at an institution (library,
>>museum, archive) and learned most of the necessary skills on the job.
>>This is not the case anymore for the sort of advertised position the we
>>are discussing, though there still ways to enter at a lower level and
>>work one's way up. I really don't see anything wrong with that.
>>Hey, I spent a year and a half as the archivist of Henry Cowell's papers
>>and he barely attended grade school. He taught at a few places like
>>Columbia and Peabody and was a heavyweight in a number of circles, so
>>what the Hell do I know?
>>I send my warmest regards as I recede back into lurking,
>First, I have been working with various database programs (as well as
>experimenting with programming) to keep track of my personal collection
>of 35,000 78rpm records. This gives me a lot of knowledge of what works
>(and what doesn't)...but no credentials whatsoever, at least compared
>to a graduate degree!
>Secondly, there is a lot of knowledge that I have gained over
>thirty-odd (some VERY odd!) years of record collecting and
>"discographizing" that simply isn't taught anywhere that I
>know of! For example, I know all the little details about
>the various "transitional" matrix numbers used between the
>formation of the American Record Corporation (mid-1929)
>and the final settling on one sequence (the old Plaza numbering).
>This is the kind of detailed knowledge that is necessary, or
>at least recommended, for anyone who intends to catalog
>78's or reissues based on them...but, to my knowledge, one
>can only acquire this through years of collecting experience!
>(However, I'd be glad to teach "Discography 101" if anybody
>would pay me to do so...)
>Oh, and "second-and-a-half-ly"...I actually authored one of
>the standard reference works for 78 record collectors: "The
>(Almost) Complete 78rpm Record Dating Guide." However, this
>fact, and a dollar or so, will entitle me to a large Diet
>Coke most places...
>Steven C. Barr