Hi, Tom,

I agree that this topic needs discussion. My one experience with this 
was with Library and Archives Canada and they had to determine if they 
wanted to collect the artist whose work I had reissued on CD and we were 
looking for a home (other than the landfill) for her original 
recordings. When they decided that they did want it (I believe it was a 
committee decision) then they wanted whatever I had that related to her 
career and the best copy available--at that point they wanted gold CD-Rs 
which I had made, even though the Legal Deposit copy was a pressed CD.

I understand that they turn down a lot of artists.

It is a hard choice. I recall a book I bought in the 70s which was a 
collection of "found" photographs from "America's Attic" that a 
researcher had gone through uncatalogued and unsorted boxes in the LoC 
and found enough material in snapshots to paint a picture of life in the 
1890s (or so--I'm doing this without the book at hand).

Culpepper was an attempt to come to grips with the storage issues. 
Assuming that it's a mile of shelf space, and that mile has a 1 foot 
cross section, it is only a cube of material 17.5 feet on a side. A mile 
sounds so long but a 17.5x17.5x17.5 foot cube doesn't sound nearly so 
big--just the size of a small two-story house. On the other hand 195.6 
cu yd does sound big again and, if your contention is correct that it is 
mostly trash, that would take ten 20-cu yd trash trucks to haul away.

I'm working on a project right now that is a collection of home 
recordings by important musicians. I am enjoying the fact that I'm 
working for money, but I shake my head with many of these tapes--which 
would fall into the category of a phone call to a private client asking 
"do you really want me to digitize these?" I wonder who will ever have 
the time to listen to these. Unfortunately, having me digitize them to 
full archival requirements is the cheapest solution to listening to them 
in case they contain some gems as the client can't play them well, and 
there is no sense doing a non-archival pass and then selecting some for 
better processing, as that would only add to the costs.

As an aside about good quality vs super quality digitization: I did make 
a personal decision when digitizing my photographs to digitize my family 
negatives to typically 6 MP (18 MB files) and my slides to 12 MP (36 MB 
files) using some black expansion (Digital DEE lightly applied). My 
choice is then to select a few images and carefully hand scan them at 24 
MP and 16 bits per colour (144 MB files). As it is now, with the scan 
job half done and my collection of digipix, I have about 1 TB of images 
in storage. I suspect finishing the slides will add another TB. I did 
scan some 5x7 B&W images to 175 MP or 350 MB files (16 bit) as there 
were few and it wasn't worth going back. But I couldn't see quadrupling 
the storage requirement for the bulk of the slides and 12 MP is not to 
be sneezed at.

It is a complex issue and it is what archivists and related professions 



On 2011-01-11 9:19 AM, Tom Fine wrote:
> Another topic I didn't even touch on, but worthy of some debate 
> because there are two good sides to the argument is SHOULD the LOC 
> accept what amount to vault-dumps? Should the American Taxpayer accept 
> the cost of in-perpetuity preservation of all the junk in these 
> vaults? And, one man's junk is another's "forgotten genius" so who 
> determines what we accept the responsibility and cost to preserve? 
> This is one of my pet issues -- preservation vs. accumulation and 
> collecting vs. accumulation. I see accumulation as a fool's errand, 
> but then one needs to figure out a way to make sure and not discard 
> what a reasonably segment of the population may reasonably wish to 
> preserve, and that's a moving target as interests and tastes evolve. 
> However, I think if you just do vault-dumps into Culpepper, it will 
> quickly become clogged, unmanagable and a red herring in future budget 
> battles. I think most Americans like the idea of historic preservation 
> but few want to dedicate very much of their tax dollars to it in this 
> day and age. Furthermore, it's impossible to do a decent job once you 
> clog up an "attic" too much. This is a topic that I think deserves a 
> lot of thought and conversation in our organization and others.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Karl Miller" 
> <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 8:58 AM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Your taxpayer dollars being given to the 
> Universal Music Group.
> Tom,
> I find your suggestions to be highly imaginative and worthy of serious 
> consideration. From my perspective, libraries and archives need to 
> redefine themselves.
> Karl

Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada           (905) 713 6733     1-877-TAPE-FIX
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.