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ARSCLIST  June 2007

ARSCLIST June 2007

Subject:

Re: Digitization of Paper Archives

From:

Terry Smythe <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Thu, 14 Jun 2007 00:25:10 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (117 lines)

On 13 Jun 2007 at 14:43, Karl Miller wrote:

> I have had the opportunity to work with Tom 

While I am somewhat selfish in my disappointment with his 
position on digitization of original literature, I am 
nonetheless grateful that he and others like him do make it 
their passion to acquire and protect important collections.   

Possibly at some unknown time in the future as technology 
improves, labor requirement shrinks, attitudes change, et al, 
that such collections may gradually become digitized.    Likely 
not in my lifetime, but generations to come will be the 
beneficiaries. 

> Turner was a collector who believed that the value of a
> collection was measured by its uniqueness. Someone once quoted
> him as saying, "if I am going to pay $X for something, making
> a photocopy of it is like throwing the money away." 

I too am a collector, but my perception is that in acquiring a 
rare document, I have saved it from destruction and have an 
obligation to share with the world and future generations.   Why 
should I be the only one to view and enjoy such documents?    

I am also very much aware that many collectors do not share my 
viewpoint, preferring to covet rather than share.     That is 
their prerogative which I will not dispute.     Hopefully, their 
heirs will one day feel differently.     

> Finally, after several years of pushing by scholars and the
> staff, the rules were changed and photocopies are now allowed 

The electronic process of making a photocopy is no different 
than the electronic process of digitization.     The former 
allows for only a single copy, while digitization allows for 
multiple sharing.   The labor involved is about the same.  

> As for not digitizing being an impediment to scholarship
> and research...it is, for me, nothing when compared to the
> limits imposed by the copyrights. 

Agreed.    In our view, we are very much aware that the vast 
majority of original literature in which we researchers focus on 
is long since out of copyright protection.   A huge blessing, 
dramatically easing the process.

> I believe that in spite of the massive problems with the
> preservation of digital information, a good arguement can be
> made in support of that notion. 

Agreed.   There is no question that original literature can be 
reasonaly assumed to have a life of about a century, while 
digital data has a dramatically shorter life not only on the 
original media, but also in the technology of that media.   I 
have noted significant grants being awarded to research digital 
preservation.      Until resolved, the principle of LOCLLITW 
(Lots of Copies Like Leaves In The Wind) applies.

> Some are doing a good job. I can only add that because of
> the actions of our current director, the entire collection of
> the papers of Horace Grenell are now sitting in a bunch of
> boxes in his son's basement. 

So also Eubie Blake's archives sitting in carboard boxes 
somewhere in a City of Baltimore warehouse.

> While I will have nothing other than praise for Don Manildi,
> you might ask why they haven't made recordings of those rolls
> available.  

Not unlike vast majority of special collections, the University 
of Maryland likely has the same problems they all have with 
inadequate staff, equipment, facilities and budgets.     It is 
known that the UofM has about 4,000 music rolls in its 
collections, none are known to have been recorded.    Acoustic 
recordings are only possible if they happen to have at least 3 
reproducing pianos for Ampico, Duo-Art and Welte rolls.    They 
are known to have only an Ampico piano.

A much less costly option for all 4,000 rolls they might 
consider is conversion of roll content into midi in such a 
manner that not only can a faithful copy of the roll be recut if 
desired, but also be "played" on most any solenoid type piano.   
This is the archival preservation approach that I am taking with 
paper music rolls.     I've archived some 5,000 so far.

> I am doing the best I can with the Welte rolls, and I have
> to do it on my own time. 

I am very interested in what you are doing.   Perhaps we can 
discuss this privately off-line.

>   Do you by any chance have the Lopatnikoff Welte Rolls?

I am aware of only 2 such rolls, both of which are likely not 
hand played.     They have not yet passed through my hands, but 
I will make suitable inquiries.   The ones I'm aware of are:

4152	Lopatnikoff, Nikolai	Scherzo, Originalkomposition für 
mechanisches
4153	Lopatnikoff, Nikolai	Toccata für Klavier. Vom Komponisten 
für

Stay tuned......

Regards,

Terry


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
http://members.shaw.ca/smythe/rebirth.htm

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