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
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
I will be most interested to read other responses.