On 13 Jun 2007 at 0:41, Mike Richter wrote:
I read the whole of this long article. It sums up a
researcher's greatest fears when it quotes Archivist Tom Staley
whose "coverting" focus clearly supersedes "sharing" :
> Tom Staley´s conservatism extends beyond his literary taste.
> He does not want to place archives online. He believes,
> quoting Matthew Arnold, that "the object as in itself it
> really is" can never be replaced by a digital reproduction.
Resrachers by and large, do not need to smell or feel the
original to gain value. The content is what's important.
By refusing to digitize, Tom Staley basically denies access to
all but a handful of researchers who happen to live nearby.
Duke University's Digital Scriptorium has the right concept:
> To enhance access and aid preservation . Many of the
> research materials in the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special
> Collections Library are unique manuscripts or rare books that
> are fragile, and require care in handling. For this reason
> the materials do not circulate, and researchers must come to
> the Library's research room to use them. By providing
> scholars with digital versions of library materials (full
> text, images, and bibliographic information) as well as tools
> to browse, search, and analyze these materials remotely via
> the Internet, the Scriptorium enables them to do their
> research more quickly and from a location that may be more
> convenient to them. In addition, more researchers will have
> access to facsimiles of library materials, reducing the need
> for handling the originals and aiding in their preservation
> for future scholars.
I applaud ARSC's initiatives in archiving recorded sound as it
appears in grooves, wire, film or on tape. But what efforts
are being made to digitize the document history of the recording
industry? Have major collectors donated their collection of
original literature to an institution? If so, what access is
I bring this topic up because a large collection (the Howe
Collection) of original literature (25,000 items, 500,000 pages)
in 1995 was donated to the University of Maryland, the same
repository holding ARSC's archives.
I am a long-time member of AMICA (Automatic Musical Instruments
Collectors Association), a worldwide group focusing on automatic
music which, to a certain extent, predates ARSC's special
interest in recorded sound. Like ARSC, AMICA also has its
archives housed at the University of Maryland.
Like Tom Staley´s collections, the Howe Collection of Original
Literature, and AMICA's archives, tend by their very nature to
be effectively inaccessible to all but a handful of people
living nearby. To what extent are ARSC's archives available?
Any effort underway to digitize historical documentation and
make it available on-line?
I have made a modest beginning in this regard, by digitizing my
own collection of original literature, in addition to digitizing
~5,000 recordings on paper music rolls.
To see what I've done to digitize original literature, see:
To see what I've done to digitize some 5,000 original recordings
on paper music rolls, see:
I do not mean to detract from the archival efforts of ARSC to
digitize various forms of our recorded heritage, but I would be
interested to hear from others sharing an interest in digitizing
Terry Smythe 204-832-3982 (land line)
55 Rowand Avenue 204-981-3229 (cell)
Winnipeg, MB, Canada R3J 2N6 [log in to unmask]
Preserving a unique slice of our Musical Heritage