From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad

Dear colleagues,

Tommy Sjöberg wrote a sad story about threats against the activities of 
Svenskt Visarkiv. It is a question of administrators believing in synergy 
when merging activities that to the un-initiated seem to be neighboring 
areas. Administrators are mostly un-initiated. Also activities that are only 
performed infrequently are regarded as apparently unnecessary. 

I was employed by a company that had a reception area and a receptionist. 
Time studies revealed that his total activity (giving directions to visitors, 
calling the department to tell them that the visitor had arrived) was 15 
minutes per day; 5 minutes on the phone, 10 minutes in verbal exchange with 
the visitors). Obviously he was not worth the salary of full-time employment, 
and his position was closed. Everybody lost, the company as well as visitors. 
Such reasoning pervades modern management and it is very hard to fight. See 
how IRTeM has had similar problems in Italy.

Politicians have only a limited term and cannot justify spending money on 
culture when pharmaceutical user lobbies are active (in countries with a well-
developed health care system). It is better to spend money on analysts who  
can take the responsibility of cutting away "dead wood". Essentially it has 
always been like that, and that is the reason that archival matter must have 
an inherent survivability, to be able to survive 50 years of drought. Sadly, 
this is not the way things are developing. 

I shall join the petition as Tommy proposes, but he would have a greater 
chance of success by having Swedish Television make a feature about what can 
no longer be accomplished, what will be definitely lost by a merger. That 
reaches out to the voters, the petition is too elitist.

Kind regards,


Tommy Sjöberg wrote:

> Those of you who participated in the IASA conference in Athens in September
> 2009 might remember a presentation by Mathias Boström about the situation
> for Swedish folk music archives. He representented Svenskt visarkiv/The
> Centre for Swedish Folk Music and Jazz Research, a national institution
> specialized in ethnomusicological collecting and research for 60 years, with
> substantial original audiovisual collections from phonograph cylinders to
> today´s formats. Svenskt visarkiv has participated in several international
> audiovisual archiving projects (e.g.  DISMARC and starting up/helping
> develop similar archives in Vietnam, South Africa and Zambia) and has
> produced numerous LPs/cds and scholarly as well as popular publications.  
> In a recent governmental Committee Report (Government Official Reports
> Series SOU 2010:12) on changes in the national music institutions in Sweden,
> it is suggested that the specialized work at Svenskt visarkiv should stop
> and the institution dissolve into a general documentation unit for music,
> theatre and dance within the National Collections of Music (the governmental
> agency to which Svenskt visarkiv is administratively connected). 
> For those of us who know Svenskt visarkiv, this is not a desired line of
> development. There is still a need today for institutions with specialized
> staff with knowledge of their unique collections and the conditions under
> which they were created, and with ambitions of increasing and disseminating
> the collections and knowledge for academic audiences as well as the general
> public.
> There have already been protests against the proposal in the governmental
> Committee Report, and one way to show your support - if you feel like it -
> is to join the almost 3 000 supporters of the petition "Rädda Svenskt
> visarkiv" (Save Svenskt visarkiv). You will find it at
> It´s in Swedish but should be quite easy to
> understand. Write your name (and title) /"namn (och titel)"/ in the first
> box, where you live in the second /"ort"/, your e-mail
> address/"e-postadress"/ in the third and, if you like, your
> homepage/"hemsida"/ in the fourth. Don´t forget to fill in the reCaptcha
> words and then press "Skriv på uppropet"/sign the petition/. 
> You can also join the Facebook group "Rädda Svenskt visarkiv" (5000+
> members). It is also possible - and very much appreciatied! - if you have
> positive experiences of Svenskt visarkiv and would like to write supportive
> comments about the archive to the Swedish Ministry of Culture. For more
> information about this option, please contact the Friends of the archive
> association ([log in to unmask]). For more information in general about
> the archive and the current situtation, please contact the director of
> Svenskt visarkiv, prof. Dan Lundberg, [log in to unmask] 
> Thank you in advance!
> Tommy Sjöberg