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----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Richter" <[log in to unmask]>
> I beg to differ.
>
> Given unlimited time and funds to make the archives, categorize the
> material and disseminate the results, "dead" audio should be preserved.
> That is hardly a 'need' by any measure I know. The harp solo is all well
> and good, but the collection of all such recordings by all such children
is
> not worthy. I would have no problem with one recording of each Girl Scout
> song in a given era (so long as I am not required to listen to it), but
> preserving the hundreds or thousands of different performances is without
> justification.
>
> Collections of such ephemera are entertaining and can be informative, but
> the value of each item diminishes rapidly as the number saved increases.
> The next step would be to preserve every document turned in by any student
> in any school. Though a compilation of oddities is marketable and the
> scribblings of a child who becomes an author have historical interest, the
> hundreds of essays, tests and other papers generated annually by each of
> the tens of millions of American schoolchildren (not to add those in
India,
> China and the rest of the world) are not worth preserving.
>
> It may be heresy to some, but I firmly believe that there are frames of
> home movies which should be scrapped, diaries which should be recycled,
and
> audio recordings which should be allowed to expire gracefully.
And I beg to differ with the differer!

Two illustrations:
1) I am trying as best I can to restore a c. 1870 house here in Oshawa,
Ontario.
It was built with some typical gothic revival bric-a-brac which was removed
in
the early 1940's. It would be a simple task to reconstruct it...IF I knew
what
it had looked like! Over the last 130+ years, it's likely the house was part
of any number of casual snapshots...but it's also equally likely that most
of
these have long since been discarded. When the last one "expires" (if it
hasn't
already) I have no way of ever knowing what I'm recreating!

2) Suppose some historian, future or even present, is studying how and why
the Ku Klux Klan became so powerful in Indiana in the post-WWI period. Will
this person find useful data in articles in large newspapers, or the
speeches
of politicians? Probably nothing more tham implications, if that. Where
would the information be? In things that recorded the opinions and views
of everyday people of the time...local newspapers, letters, diaries and
suchlike. The exact thing we are told to discard!

I think that the more we know about history, the more we can undersand the
present and predict the future...and the more we save from our history the
more we can know about it!
Steven C. Barr