Regarding Black Hole archives.
Archives like say, Stanford University (the Braun Music Library) are
relatively poor, underfunded stepchildren of larger organizations with
other priorities. Their charge is long term preservation, primarily for
scholarly purposes, secondarily for public access and publication.
I was affiliated with San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation and
contracted by them to digitize and index a large number of tapes that were
donated to Stanford/Braun along with 50,000 other items: articles, books,
memorabilia, photos, music discs and tapes.
Accessing most of it is now very difficult, time consuming, or expensive.
Very little has been published. I investigated the access and licensing
fees for a CD project. Starting at $500+ and a headache of paperwork made
Other temporary barriers barred access to a large photo collection, though
copies were available at manageable prices.
Nonetheless, I plan to contribute a large volume of audio material I've
amassed to Stanford/Braun at some time in the future. *However, unlike
most of their material, it will be indexed and digitized*, which is the
most expensive bar to archives providing easy access. Also, in my case, I
plan to publish, disseminate, or post online much of the material -- the
best of it -- BEFORE donation. Agreed, few are in a position to do this
before donating a collection.
Where else can I be assured the material will remain extant long term, as a
collection, and eventually available in some fashion to scholars, students,
enthusiasts and the public? Assuring same is an expensive proposition.
Therefore I blame budgets, administrators with other priorities,
gold-plated university administrator salaries, twisted priorities (SPORTS!)