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Desert Dancer The Bob Nelson Archive Now On-Line!! (36) RE: The Bob Nelson Archive Now On-Line!! 11 Jul 14


Collaborative archiving Out West: aspirations, frustrations, celebrations, a guest post at the LOC American Folklife Center blog by John Vallier, Head, Distributed Media at the University of Washington Libraries, includes this about Bob's collection (one of four projects briefly described) from the professional librarian/archivist's perspective:
Bob Nelson Collection

The Bob Nelson Collection contains hundreds of hours of regional folk music recordings collected by Bob Nelson, a Pacific Northwest folk music icon (and hootennanie host). Nelson was determined to digitize and describe a trove of analog reel-to-reel recordings on his own time and equipment. A community archivist to be celebrated and supported, for sure, but I had to get used to the fact that certain digitization and description standards were not going to be realized. Thankfully UW graduate student Lauren Work stepped in and worked with Nelson to assist with his Google spreadsheet, quality control his transfers, and make the recordings accessible online. Lesson learned? Collaborating with and building the capacity of community archivists is vital to the success of building rich local music collections. However, for the good of the overall project, professional archivists may from time to time need to sidestep, or at least postpone, the implementation of exacting archival standards, standards that could inadvertently kill the project as a whole.

And concludes:
Looking Back, Moving Forward

As I look back on these and other collaborative archiving ventures, I wonder what makes such projects ultimately successful. While each collaboration presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities, all projects benefit when they are grounded in mutual understanding. As librarians and archivists we need to make every effort to understand where our partners are coming from, what their expectations and capabilities are. By the same token, I believe we need to be sure that our partners understand our own expectations, capabilities, and limitations. This requires transparency, open communication, and looking beyond ourselves to our common goal: making a community's musical heritage accessible for generations to come. When we do that, frustrations fade and celebrations emerge.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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