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ARSCLIST  June 2007

ARSCLIST June 2007

Subject:

Re: Digitization of Paper Archives

From:

Karl Miller <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Thu, 14 Jun 2007 05:54:30 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Terry Smythe <[log in to unmask]> wrote:    ***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 share your perspective. I keep a composer/title file of my own collection online and am always willing to dub copies.

***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.
   
  Happily I have encountered only a few collectors who covet. Sadly, heirs do not often place much value on what was collected. And, sometimes, when they do place a value on a collection their valuation will be unrealistic. I am reminded of the collection of Robert Buchsbaum. When he died, one member of the family thought they were sitting on a goldmine. While trying to find a buyer, a large portion of the collection suffered water damage.
  

***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.
   
  That might be somewhat true, but there are other considerations. To do a preservation scan correctly can be far more involved than making a photocopy.

  For example, when a preservation scan is done, there is usually greater effort to prepare the material...cleaning, repairing, etc. A good scanner is more expensive and one needs to make precise adjustments to insure an accurate scan is done. Color correction may be required, etc. A photocopy for a patron does not require the preparation of cataloging information. The metadata, how the scan was done, what resolution, etc. should also be part of the process...but rarely is. 

  ***Until resolved, the principle of LOCLLITW
(Lots of Copies Like Leaves In The Wind) applies.
   
  Agreed. Since no library seems interested in what I reformat on my own time, I send copies to five other collectors.
  
***So also Eubie Blake's archives sitting in carboard boxes
somewhere in a City of Baltimore warehouse.
   
  There are so many tragic stories like that. 

***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.
   
  Indeed, there are several such projects being done. I believe they are all being carried out by collectors. I am reminded of the work of John McClellan and his attempt to list all of the extant Welte rolls. Then there are Rex Lawson and Denis Hall and their great work. I hope to release a disc Denis has done of all of the Chaminade. 
   
  I am also think about the Simonton collection at USC...well at least they have a finding aid.

*** The ones I'm aware of are:

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

They were, I believe, German rolls which we could have converted. We have already transferred the Hindemith, Toch and Muench rolls for a forthcoming release. If anyone could turn these up it would be wonderful. I believe it was the Scherzo which Lopatnikoff orchestrated at the request of Koussevitzky, which resulted in a performance with the Boston Symphony.
   
  Karl

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