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ARSCLIST  September 2005

ARSCLIST September 2005

Subject:

Re: Job Posting

From:

Peter Hirsch <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Thu, 15 Sep 2005 00:05:19 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (118 lines)

Steven,

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.

Regards,

Peter Hirsch

Steven C. Barr wrote:

>----- Original Message ----- 
>From: "Peter Hirsch" <[log in to unmask]>
>  
>
>>Steven, Siue,
>>
>>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,
>>
>>Peter Hirsch
>>
>>    
>>
>Two comments:
>
>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
>
>
>  
>

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