I would also include the NY Public Library folks gathering the neighborhood-by-neighborhood oral 
histories right now. They could offer insight as to what is actually used in the field and how it is 
used. What I think would not be useful is an overly-tweaky "best practices" kind of  thing that 
talks about methods and equipment beyond the budgets and expertise of most people actually out there 
collecting these recordings. The best we can expect from most folks is a $100 (or less) digital 
flash recorder operating at CD resolution.

What I'm interesting in showing them is how to put the recorder on a table so it picks up more 
voices than table resonances, to make sure NEVER to fondle or touch the recorder once the talking or 
playing begins, how to aim the mics, how to keep the files full resolution, how to watch recording 
levels (and set them conservatively), etc. Really basic but important stuff. Ideally, every 
participant would take with them a VERY SHORT checklist to follow before and after each recording. I 
want to do the opposite of a tweaky-intimidating engineer's lecture. The approach should be, "hey, 
thanks so much for doing this important work and let us help you get very good to excellent 
recordings every time."

Having transferred now nearly 1000 oral histories from the pre-digital era, I so wish basic 
recording techniques had been emphasized more, especially with student-recordists and elderly folks 
collecting the stories of their generation. In many of these cases, the interviewing skills are 
excellent, and the non-threatening encounters result in a flow of very good information. But all too 
often, the recording is so poor that listening and transcription are difficult, sometimes 
impossible. Very basic instruction could have greatly improved the audio quality.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "bARC" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, September 08, 2014 11:42 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] NPR profile of Tennessee Park Ranger and Folklorist Bobby Fulcher

> ARC in Manhattan would love to host such an event/workshop.  Could involve Columbia University 
> musicology folks.  Lemme know.  b.George  [log in to unmask]
> On Sep 8, 2014, at 10:35 AM, Tom Fine wrote:
>> Thanks for the link, John.
>> The recordings they played were well made. I wish all would-be folklore and oral history 
>> collectors would take 60 minutes to master the basics of field recording. So much interesting 
>> material has been collected in such bad audio quality. I would suggest this should be a mission 
>> of ARSC, teaching amateur recordists doing field work the basic techniques to capture reasonable 
>> fidelity.
>> -- Tom Fine
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "John Bondurant" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Monday, September 08, 2014 8:33 AM
>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] NPR profile of Tennessee Park Ranger and Folklorist Bobby Fulcher
>>> John H. Bondurant
>>> 859-985-3389
>>> Berea College
>>> Hutchins Library
>>> Special Collections & Archives