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Preserving All That Stuff

johnross 01 Nov 02 - 02:02 PM
MMario 01 Nov 02 - 02:05 PM
johnross 01 Nov 02 - 02:27 PM
Deckman 01 Nov 02 - 02:28 PM
Stilly River Sage 01 Nov 02 - 02:53 PM
EBarnacle1 01 Nov 02 - 03:33 PM
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Subject: Preserving All That Stuff
From: johnross
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 02:02 PM

In the "John Dwyer" thread, we've drifted into a general discussion about the need to systematically preserve the tapes, paper and other records of folk music as an artistic and social phenomenon--tapes of concerts, festivals, coffee houses and parties, posters and programs, collectors' notes and much more. This topic is intended to focus on those questions.

Many of us have been saving stuff for decades, because we think it's "important", but there hasn't been enough organized effort to assure that it survives, and to make it accessable to scholars, collectors and other researchers.

In another post, I'll describe the plan we're developing at Northwest Folklife, and how it relates to other, existing and planned projects. Meantime, I'd be interested in learning what others are doing.


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Subject: RE: Preserving All That Stuff
From: MMario
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 02:05 PM

I would hope that this forum and the DT would count a bit towards preservation.


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Subject: RE: Preserving All That Stuff
From: johnross
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 02:27 PM

Some background: As we searched for recordings made at the Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle in order to establish a formal archive, we also discovered many other related recordings that radio stations and individuals had been saving for many years. Many are on reel-to-reel tapes that haven't been played in many years, and for which the owner no longer has a machine to play them. Almost none are cataloged beyond the original notes on the tape box.

So we recognized that there was a need to make copies in a stable (probably digital) format, create a detailed index and make them accessible to researchers. At the same time, we must recognize the complex copyright issues in order to protect the original performers against unauthorized and uncompensated duplication and distribution.

This is not a unique problem. The US government has established a "Save our Sounds" program at the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian to preserve the audio recordings in those collections, and the academic and public folklore communities are also working on a common catalog for collections in many locations. Within the world of libraries, there are several online "bibliographc utilites" (which the rest of us would call "catalogs") that allow researchers to find resources in hundreds of collections through a single search.

Cooperating with many other groups in our region, Northwest Folklife plans to gather recordings of traditional and revivial material, make digital copies, and index them. Ultimately, we hope that our collection, and those of other groups (including the Vancouver archive, the State of Washington, and the Seattle Folklore Society, among others) will all be accessible through a common catalog. As Jon Bartlett has pointed out, it doesn't matter where the physical recordings are stored, as long as the catalog contains links or pointers to them.

We're also paying attention to preserving the original tapes after we make digital copies, but that is a separate question.


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Subject: RE: Preserving All That Stuff
From: Deckman
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 02:28 PM

Hi John, I appreciate you starting this thread on this subject. You have contacted me in the past regarding the many boxes of reel to reel tapes that I have in my possesion. These are my personal tapes that I recorded, starting in the mid fifties, as well as the late Walt Robertson's collection, and another collection from someone who lives in California. It's still a delemma for me, as to what to do. A LARGE part of me wants me to go through them myself, see and enjoy what's there. But as I'm still working and running a business, my time for that effort is too limited to be practical.

I have also been in contact with Sing Out, though I don't really understand what it is that they are doing. So, perhaps this thread will educate everyone. Thanks again John. CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: Preserving All That Stuff
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 02:53 PM

MMario, I intend to use the DT as I work on Dad's papers. May be able to contribute to it at the same time. The best of both worlds! I posted these links on the other thread, but I'll also post them here.


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Subject: RE: Preserving All That Stuff
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 03:33 PM

The problem also exists in the computer world. How many of you still have unreadable data on 5 1/4 " diskettes or 8"? It will only get worse. Hollerith cards, analog tapes the list goes ever on.


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