I had always thought there ought to be a way to apply knowledge acquired as a collector to an archival job.Why is someone with six years of college, a library science degree,and questionable real world experience better than someone with thirty or forty years experience as an advanced collector, and started as a child, as most of us did,but have no such degree?
From: Steven C. Barr <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Tue, May 18, 2010 10:19:54 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Audio preservation-was Glass Records
From: "Karl Miller" <[log in to unmask]>
> Yes, MLS means Master of Library Science. And it's true that very few library/archival programs provide extensive training in audio preservation. They focus on text, and rightly so, because that's what the vast majority of librarians and archivists work with. Very few of us are lucky enough to work with sound recordings.
> I think it is informative to read David Seubert's well-considered statement in the ARSC newsletter. He points out, as I have for years, at the lack of interest in audio on the part of libraries. Central to all of this is the lack of any regularized funding for audio preservation. Grants are not the answer.
> Also, here at the University of Texas, our Preservation School was dissolved, and while a few classes in preservation remain, whatever specialization there was in preservation has been abandoned. In some ways the lack of serious training in preservation makes sense...if libraries are not interested in preservation, why train students in that discipline? As I pointed out in one of my articles, about 3% of the total budgets of the member libraries of the Association of Research Libraries is spent on preservation, with the bulk of that going to things like the binding of serials...assuming libraries are still getting paper copies...not even considering the implications of just getting access to publications electronically=not owning your own copy. Similarly, it is likely that many music libraries will cease buying CDs in the not too distant future.
> Further, as I would assume all of us would agree, you can't teach audio preservation in two 3-hour courses, which is what I tried to do for several years. You can probably teach audio preservation "appreciation" in that length of time.
> As all of us on this list know, depending on the nature of what needs to be preserved, audio preservation can require a broad range of knowledge; an understanding of the digital and analog technologies, acoustics, chemistry, etc. to knowledge of discography and, in the case of music recordings, music training. Interestingly, considering the incredible experience many on this list have, I would be amazed if many libraries would consider hiring any of you who are practitioners. Perhaps Library of Congress being the one exception to that perspective.
> Karl (who thinks that much of the future of libraries can be found in the past)
I used to find it both annoying and frustrating that I would NEVER be considered
for a position involving archiving sound recordings, since I lacked any relevant
degrees! Meanwhile, I have accumulated and to some extent catalogued some
57,000 78rpm recordings...as well as created one of the standard reference
works for the keepers of similar archives. To what extent are to-day's sound
archivists aware of discography and/or its standard reference sources?!
Steven C. Barr