Greetings all--

Have been silent on the list for quite a while but this thread has 
inspired me to chime in.  For those of you who don't know me, I'm both 
an archivist and a folklorist and have worked professionally in both 
fields since 2002.

For many years I--in cooperation with my colleagues John Fenn at the 
University of Oregon, Doug Boyd at University of Kentucky and 
others--have labored to provide basic audio field recording training (as 
well as digital file management and preservation) workshops to 
folklorists and oral historians under the auspices of the American 
Folklore Society (AFS) and the Oral History Association (OHA). I've also 
conducted a similar workshop for anthropologists at the American 
Anthropological Association (AAA).  I am also aware of similar efforts 
at the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM).

At least in the academic context, training ethnographic fieldworkers in 
basic audio recording methods is not a real priority. In part this is 
due to the emphasis placed on acquiring theoretical knowledge and 
research skills.  In part I suspect it has something to do with it being 
viewed as technician work--something people will just figure out on 
their own. In part because people are intimidated by the technology and 
overwhelmed by choices. In part because of a persistent  perspective 
that "good enough to be audible for me to hear" is good enough.

I have often pondered the possibilities of AFS developing a partnership 
with ARSC to present field recording and digital audio preservation and 
management workshops in different areas of the US.  Better source 
recordings mean better archival records.  Materials that are better 
managed while still in the possession of their creators stand a much 
better chance of surviving until they find a home in a repository.

I would love to discuss this further with any ARSC members who are 



On 9/7/14, 12:00 AM, ARSCLIST wrote:


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]


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


John H. Bondurant
Berea College
Hutchins Library
Special Collections & Archives

Andy Kolovos, Ph.D., MLS
Co-Director and Archivist
Vermont Folklife Center
88 Main Street
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 388-4964