There's a mile of material
There are some yards of material the company would normally preserve, and
given the ongoing costs, probably discard the rest.
It's likely everyone at the company has heard of Bing Crosby and Louis
Armstrong. But the calyso, the artists in the Sepia Series, May Questel,
the countless other musical nooks and cranies so important to readers of
this list as well as future collectors and likely unknown names to the
discard deciders? Should they be Dr. Mengeled? Should the future be denied
access to the things we may not value today but that they will, in their
time, a phenomenon we've seen time and again?
I see this as a major rescue effort. That we are to be taxed for doing so,
should this prove to be the case, is no different from putting paintings in
a museum, most of which are stored in a basement.
Be glad, then, America!
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Richard L. Hess
Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 10:34 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Your taxpayer dollars being given to the Universal
I agree that this topic needs discussion. My one experience with this was
with Library and Archives Canada and they had to determine if they wanted to
collect the artist whose work I had reissued on CD and we were looking for a
home (other than the landfill) for her original recordings. When they
decided that they did want it (I believe it was a committee decision) then
they wanted whatever I had that related to her career and the best copy
available--at that point they wanted gold CD-Rs which I had made, even
though the Legal Deposit copy was a pressed CD.
I understand that they turn down a lot of artists.
It is a hard choice. I recall a book I bought in the 70s which was a
collection of "found" photographs from "America's Attic" that a researcher
had gone through uncatalogued and unsorted boxes in the LoC and found enough
material in snapshots to paint a picture of life in the 1890s (or so--I'm
doing this without the book at hand).
Culpepper was an attempt to come to grips with the storage issues.
Assuming that it's a mile of shelf space, and that mile has a 1 foot cross
section, it is only a cube of material 17.5 feet on a side. A mile sounds so
long but a 17.5x17.5x17.5 foot cube doesn't sound nearly so big--just the
size of a small two-story house. On the other hand 195.6 cu yd does sound
big again and, if your contention is correct that it is mostly trash, that
would take ten 20-cu yd trash trucks to haul away.
I'm working on a project right now that is a collection of home recordings
by important musicians. I am enjoying the fact that I'm working for money,
but I shake my head with many of these tapes--which would fall into the
category of a phone call to a private client asking "do you really want me
to digitize these?" I wonder who will ever have the time to listen to these.
Unfortunately, having me digitize them to full archival requirements is the
cheapest solution to listening to them in case they contain some gems as the
client can't play them well, and there is no sense doing a non-archival pass
and then selecting some for better processing, as that would only add to the
As an aside about good quality vs super quality digitization: I did make a
personal decision when digitizing my photographs to digitize my family
negatives to typically 6 MP (18 MB files) and my slides to 12 MP (36 MB
files) using some black expansion (Digital DEE lightly applied). My choice
is then to select a few images and carefully hand scan them at 24 MP and 16
bits per colour (144 MB files). As it is now, with the scan job half done
and my collection of digipix, I have about 1 TB of images in storage. I
suspect finishing the slides will add another TB. I did scan some 5x7 B&W
images to 175 MP or 350 MB files (16 bit) as there were few and it wasn't
worth going back. But I couldn't see quadrupling the storage requirement for
the bulk of the slides and 12 MP is not to be sneezed at.
It is a complex issue and it is what archivists and related professions
On 2011-01-11 9:19 AM, Tom Fine wrote:
> Another topic I didn't even touch on, but worthy of some debate
> because there are two good sides to the argument is SHOULD the LOC
> accept what amount to vault-dumps? Should the American Taxpayer accept
> the cost of in-perpetuity preservation of all the junk in these
> vaults? And, one man's junk is another's "forgotten genius" so who
> determines what we accept the responsibility and cost to preserve?
> This is one of my pet issues -- preservation vs. accumulation and
> collecting vs. accumulation. I see accumulation as a fool's errand,
> but then one needs to figure out a way to make sure and not discard
> what a reasonably segment of the population may reasonably wish to
> preserve, and that's a moving target as interests and tastes evolve.
> However, I think if you just do vault-dumps into Culpepper, it will
> quickly become clogged, unmanagable and a red herring in future budget
> battles. I think most Americans like the idea of historic preservation
> but few want to dedicate very much of their tax dollars to it in this
> day and age. Furthermore, it's impossible to do a decent job once you
> clog up an "attic" too much. This is a topic that I think deserves a
> lot of thought and conversation in our organization and others.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Karl Miller"
> <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 8:58 AM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Your taxpayer dollars being given to the
> Universal Music Group.
> I find your suggestions to be highly imaginative and worthy of serious
> consideration. From my perspective, libraries and archives need to
> redefine themselves.
Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.