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Re: [ARSCLIST] Interesting WSJ Article on when libraries should discard their holdings.
>The WSJ article explains very well the circumstances >surrounding a library full of books or recordings no one cares to >read or hear. And it mirrors what has become my concern for >your good work. Preserving recordings by dubbing 78s, LPs, >tapes and dictabelts to digital format and indexing the hell out of >them just isn't likely to generate many new listeners. And if no >one ever hears them, then was it worth the effort?
I believe you raise some fundamental questions. I wish I had the answers. From my perspective audio preservation is grossly under supported, yet my perspective comes from one who cherishes the history contained in our audio recordings.
It does seem difficult to justify the costs of preserving something that might never be consulted again. For me, the greatest task we have in the profession of audio preservation is something that is not taught...and something that is arguably difficult to teach...what do you preserve. The quanity of what "needs" preservation is indeed far beyond our resources to preserve it. So how do you decide what is to be preserved? What criteria do you use to make those decisions...the same that seem to be used by libraries when deciding what they should weed from their collections?
I wonder if that which is likely to be weeded is that which might be in the greatest need of preservation since the most popular material is likely to be that which will survive by the redundancy explicit in the propagation of the popular.
How does one inform others of the value of what is to be preserved when you can't really demonstrate its value until it is preserved or placed in a context where it can be easily consumed. Adding to this "catch 22" are the copyright laws which inhibit reasonable access to our recorded history.
I believe you raise some significant points. Unfortunately, in my experience the decisions on what is preserved are not often predicated on any notion of societal worth that makes sense to me.