Have been silent on the list for quite a while but this thread has
inspired me to chime in. For those of you who don't know me, I'm both
an archivist and a folklorist and have worked professionally in both
fields since 2002.
For many years I--in cooperation with my colleagues John Fenn at the
University of Oregon, Doug Boyd at University of Kentucky and
others--have labored to provide basic audio field recording training (as
well as digital file management and preservation) workshops to
folklorists and oral historians under the auspices of the American
Folklore Society (AFS) and the Oral History Association (OHA). I've also
conducted a similar workshop for anthropologists at the American
Anthropological Association (AAA). I am also aware of similar efforts
at the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM).
At least in the academic context, training ethnographic fieldworkers in
basic audio recording methods is not a real priority. In part this is
due to the emphasis placed on acquiring theoretical knowledge and
research skills. In part I suspect it has something to do with it being
viewed as technician work--something people will just figure out on
their own. In part because people are intimidated by the technology and
overwhelmed by choices. In part because of a persistent perspective
that "good enough to be audible for me to hear" is good enough.
I have often pondered the possibilities of AFS developing a partnership
with ARSC to present field recording and digital audio preservation and
management workshops in different areas of the US. Better source
recordings mean better archival records. Materials that are better
managed while still in the possession of their creators stand a much
better chance of surviving until they find a home in a repository.
I would love to discuss this further with any ARSC members who are
On 9/7/14, 12:00 AM, ARSCLIST wrote:
ARC in Manhattan would love to host such an event/workshop. Could
involve Columbia University musicology folks. Lemme know. b.George
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Thanks for the link, John.
The recordings they played were well made. I wish all would-be folklore
and oral history collectors would take 60 minutes to master the basics
of field recording. So much interesting material has been collected in
such bad audio quality. I would suggest this should be a mission of
ARSC, teaching amateur recordists doing field work the basic techniques
to capture reasonable fidelity.
-- Tom Fine
John H. Bondurant
Special Collections & Archives
Andy Kolovos, Ph.D., MLS
Co-Director and Archivist
Vermont Folklife Center
88 Main Street
Middlebury, VT 05753