Going to the Music Library Association meeting in Atlanta this weekend? If so…
iTunes, Google Play, Freegal, Amazon’s MP3 Store. Are you concerned about the proliferation of online-only music and the way in which this growing reality constrains our ability to collect for our institutions? If so, we want to hear from you! Please consider participating in MLA’s Community Conversation on Online-Only Music this Saturday, March 1, from 2-3 PM in the Grand Ballroom I/II. This event will be a chance for members of the Digital Audio Task Force to talk about their IMLS funded advocay efforts and–more importantly–get feedback and ideas from YOU about how we should confront the issue.
I’m posting this audio recording of a 1940 CBS News radio broadcast because:
b) CBS called me this morning asking if we could find one of their recordings from 1944 (from the Academy Awards) so that they could use it in an upcoming news program. Happy to help find it for them but if academic institutions are going to be the gatekeepers and stewards of corporate collections, shouldn’t we be able to make these items available for scholarly and other non-profit uses? Yes.
c) This CBS recording, which is part of an amazing collection called the Milo Ryan Phonoarchive, is a world news time capsule from 74 years ago today. In addition to reports from Finland and the disturbing description of gracious niceties exchanged between Mussolini and Sumner, check out the warm analog noise generated when Sweeney attempts to connect with Italy.
This week Tyler and I are asking our Intro to DH Freshman Seminar students to review an article or project from Vectors with the concept of design in mind. We are doing the same.
Being the archival obsessive I am, I decided to look at Vector’s first edition from 2005, one focused around the concept of evidence (a core archival principle). I visited the table of contents and picked a project/article randomly: Virtual Vaudeville, by David Saltz. The editors’ introduction drew me in, so I clicked “Launch Project.” What I received was…
“Technological obsolescence and other factors” are enemies of the archive, and negate any ability for design (good or bad) to be realized. My work as an archivist is focussed on opposing the inevitable onslaught of technological obsolescence. Progress is slow, at times glacial. In a kind of oxymoronic loop, we attempt to combat technological obsolescence with other technologies that inevitably fall prey to their own set off preservation ills (DAT tapes and bit rot) or access impediments (looked for 3/4″ Umatic player lately, or how about a player for your Moving Image JPEG 2000 files?). And what of these “other factors” mentioned in the above error message? Are these rights and ownership related factors? If so, those challenges can kill any project, no matter how technologically sound.
While I’m disappointed by Virtual Vaudeville‘s totalizing virtuality, I feel some solace knowing that archival struggles permeate all realms, even (especially?) the cutting edge. I’m empathetic with what I’m sure are the creator’s and editors’ frustrations, and will use this as an example of challenges when I meet again with fellow members SCALAR’s Archive and Preservation Working Group.
I’m inspired by this post in which David Weinberger harkens way back to 1999 and offers reflections on what blogging once was. You can read the post for yourself, but I do want to highlight a few points he makes about why blogging mattered more back in those glory days:
Personal and Dynamic Presence on the Web. Weinberger recalls having a blog was a way to make ones Web-based existence tangible. “When blogs came along, they became the way we could have a Web presence that enabled us to react, respond, and provoke. A home page was a painting, a statue. My blog was me. My blog was the Web equivalent of my body.” Today, in my opinion, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and other social media platforms have taken this desire to embody the Web and injected it with capitali$t growth hormones. These for-profits have effectively exploited that desire to carve out a personalized “Web presence that enabled us to react, respond, and provoke,” not by blogging but by providing consumers with seemingly convenient tools to personalize and post to customized networks of friends and acquaintances.
Sense of Community. Weinberger argues that, back in the day, the “Web was more a social space than a publishing, informational or commercial space.” Since then an array of commercialized social media sites have exploded on the Web. Some may have withered (MySpace) or died (Friendster), but many more live one. No wonder blogging suffered. As Weinberger notes, “Blogrolls were an early social network,” but they took time and creative effort to cultivate.
Disruptive Intent. Lastly, Weinberger writes that in blogging days of yore, he and his blogging comrades saw themselves as upsetting “many assumptions about who gets to speak, how we speak, and who is an authority.” They saw themselves as “participating in a revolution,” one that shifted the balance of power away from corporate and governmental control and towards freedom of expression, open access, net neutrality, and anonymity. Where do we find ourselves today?
archiving sounds, sounding archives – all posts my own