Since we do a lot of disaster recovery, I strongly agree with Jim and
Richard's statements that alternate copies should be sought before spending
large amounts on restoration or recovery of specific items. Suggesting that
clients look for alternate copies prior to disaster recovery is one of our
first recommendations when a disaster occurs.
On the other hand, we do see a lot of unique materials (both in disaster
recovery and basic age/obsolescence related restoration work). In addition,
we are fairly well known for being able to restore materials that were
thought to be unsalvageable. As such, we see a fairly large volume of
materials for which "extraordinary" measures must be taken. There is no
greater satisfaction than the joy expressed by a client when we can return
to them unique recordings that they had been previously told were
Finally, while it may not be the best cultural or historic yardstick to use
in determining what should be restored, many restoration jobs (as Karl
points out) are determined by donor interest. It certainly makes sense, in
a large collection, to preserve the greatest volume of material at the most
reasonable price (assuming this does not jeopardize quality). It also makes
sense, however, to preserve what a highly motivated donor wants, rather than
what an archivist or administrator thinks is best, if that is the only way
the donor will supply the money. Most archives can't afford to pass up
donations, even if there are significant strings attached.
SPECS BROS., LLC
Restoration and Disaster Recovery Service Since 1983
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Robert Hodge
> Sent: Wednesday, May 03, 2006 9:13 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Triage, heroic efforts, and economics
> My responce will be twofold and very easy to document.
> 1-Preserve what funding can be acquired for first.
> 2- Then, preserve, using my own time and resources, what I
> consider to be important. I gain much satisfaction out of doing that .
> At least sound recordings don't require the large financial
> outlay that motion picture films require.
> Bob Hodge
> Robert Hodge,
> Senior Engineer
> Belfer Audio Archive
> Syracuse University
> 222 Waverly Ave .
> Syracuse N.Y. 13244-2010
> 315-443- 7971
> >>> [log in to unmask] 5/2/2006 5:14 PM >>>
> On Tue, 2 May 2006, Richard L. Hess wrote:
> > I am a strong believer in only throwing money and time at problem
> > restorations if one or more of the following are true:
> > (a) There is a good likelihood that the money will make a difference
> > between success and failure
> > (b) There are likely to be no other equally good or better
> copies available
> > (c) The work affords an opportunity to refine restoration processes
> > in this class of challenge
> > Jim and I both think this is worthy of further discussion around the
> > archival community and I think a good place to start is how does an
> > archive evaluate the economic tradeoff? When does it make sense to
> > try and preserve the content? When is it time to merely perform last
> > rites without attempted recovery?
> For me, there are also other fundamental questions...at my institution,
> preservation of unique materials is ignored in favor of cataloging
> commercial recordings.
> In the days when we did do preservation rerecording, the choices of what
> to do were often predicated on the question of satisfying a short term
> One major problem can be, determining what is unique. Many items will
> obviously be unique, yet, in the case of a broadcast recording, with so
> little being cataloged, who is to know who has what and who might even
> have a better copy. Hence, one of my beefs about not having a user
> friendly database which would allow individuals to list their holdings.
> As for the economic trade off...if one has a donor interested in
> something, then maybe you can get funding for the reformatting of that
> material. In my own experience, faculty and library administrators are
> clueless as to what the priorities should be. Unique takes a second place
> to a potential for high use or a special interest.
> I realize this is probably not what you meant, but there can be a
> potential to realize some money from the preservation of an item.
> In my own experience, it is has been difficult to decide what to save and
> what will have to wait for another day and in our case, another director.
> Do you reformat the sole copy of Janis Joplin singing at a local Austin
> eatery, or do you save a sole surviving copy of Stokowski conducting the
> Houston Symphony? Hopefully you can save both but there are so many
> aspects that, I believe, need to be considered...it can be a very
> difficult decision.
> I will be most interested to read other responses.