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Dear Lisa Colaianne,

You're doing the right thing to ask advice; there are times when all 
of us need to do that, especially when we're new at something. I 
learned a great deal of what I know about operating a sound archive 
from my friends and colleagues in ARSC.

Your plan to recommend direct use of the LP's only by [and I'd add: 
"Trained" ] staff is an excellent one, one followed here at Yale 
Historical Sound Recordings for the collection's whole life. I should 
add that by using high quality turntables with top-quality styli (and 
checking those styli for wear every 3 months), I've never seen an LP 
damaged or worn to any audible degree in the collection.

Our rule about copying for preservation (digitization nowadays) has 
always been to allow one play within about half an hour, two plays 
total for one researcher before making a copy for further use. In 
addition any LP we know will be frequently used and any we find in 
frequent demand would be copied for preservation and the copy used for study.

Handling procedures are discussed in an article you can find the in 
ARSC Journal: Volume 25, no. 2 (Fall, 1994), pp. 139 - 162; this 
article was based on extensive research on procedures in archives and 
research libraries and study of available writings. We've since found 
no reason to change these statements of advice.

Because of limited staffing and budget, we digitize recordings when 
needed. Generally, the policy for LP's is as stated above; for other 
types of recordings we follow the normal archival hierarchy: most 
endangered (cylinder recordings, lacquer ["acetate"] transcriptions, 
acetate-base audiotape, "sticky-tape" audiotape, audiocassettes ...).

Please feel free to ask further questions on- or off-list if you wish.

Sincerely, Richard (Warren)


At 10:16 AM 4/21/2006, you wrote:
>Please excuse the newbie posting -- I hope I don't come off as too
>uninformed. I'm a grad student at the University of Maryland working on a
>field study at the Maryland Historical Society. I'm working with a
>collection of about 2,500 gospel records, most of which are vinyl LPs.
>I've been tasked with determining industry standards and making
>suggestions for processing the collection.
>
>This list and many of your websites have been very helpful in tracking
>down related readings. My subsequent intention is to recommend direct use
>of the LPs handled only by staff, with digitization done on an as needed
>basis (instead of digitizing the entire collection in advance). What I
>would really like to know is how similar collections are providing access
>to researchers and the equipment in use. I'm particularly interested in
>access policies (number of uses, handling procedure), when and why you
>digitize, and any and all equipment in use including playback, listening
>stations, and digitization (and perhaps some links to dealers?).
>
>Thanks very much in advance,
>Lisa Colaianne
>UofM student