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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090303/ap_on_re_eu/eu_germany_building_collapse

The sub-standard building practices of the 1970s are coming back to haunt us, and unfortunately a fair number of such structures are used to house archival materials, as this one was. 

While I'm not Bill Schurk, and apologize for sticking my neck out in speaking out about what is not my problem, a few years ago the Center for Popular Music at BGSU was moved out of its 1970s poured concrete building -- where the materials were organized and well cared for -- and placed in deep storage elsewhere on campus. Last I heard it was inaccessible. There is another poured concrete structure at the University of Cincinnati -- thankfully one that does not hold an archive -- that will need to be torn down at some point, as it is both sinking and tipping over.

Of course, none of us in the 1970s knew that the poured concrete fad would primarily result in buildings that would turn out to be non-functional in the long term. As this story unfolds, the effect on archives of all kinds -- including sound recordings -- will be better known. If your archive is in a 1970s university building, you might need to develop a good "Plan B" in order to avoid the fate of the Center for Popular Music. And if that facility has reopened, I sure would like to know about it.

Uncle Dave Lewis
Ann Arbor, MI