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Re: [ARSCLIST] Interesting WSJ Article on when libraries should discard their holdings.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Karl Miller" <karl.miller@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> RA Friedman <rafriedman@xxxxxxx> wrote: >The value of material is usually
not known by the people who >collect it. What's has no research value now, may
have huge >potential later on.
> How does one decide what might have research value in the future?
Sadly...unless/until time travel becomes possible, it's not possible...!
> Will not what is to be preserved determine what can be researched in the
It does inarguably determine what CAN be...but doesn't answer the more
critical question of what SHOULD have been preserved and thus accessible
for research! As well, there are always questions of temporary "fad"
interests, as well as the tendency of each one of us to defend his/her/its
own field as being of paramount importance...
<question...is Max Vreede's NYRL listing of "Paramount importance?!">
> How does one decide what to research? I remember when I was a Freshman in
music school. Our library had a truly odd assortment of sheet music. I would
scan the shelves and sight read whatever piano music I could find. I still
remember encountering first editions of the music of Leo Ornstein. I had never
seen anything like it, so I started looking into his life and works.
AKA "serendipity!" But only possible if the prservation policy is functionally
> So how many places can you find the music of EB Hill (answer, mainly two
libraries hold his manuscripts) or Emerson Whithorne, a composer who was rather
popular in his lifetime...and not a bad composer I might add...at least in my
opinion. So, I managed to get a broadcast recording of one of the Whithorne
Symphonies, and a few other things. I made a CD and placed it in our
collection...something our new director sees as being unimportant, hence
something I can no longer do. So, if you check in OCLC, the only citation for
any orchestral music of Whithorne is that one CD I made. Will that stimulate
some research, I hope so.
Note that virtually all those who find the above paragraphs to be important
would "turn up their (musical) noses" at my primarily-pop-music "half-vast
shellac archive" as terminally declasse...an important factor in what might
or might not get preserved...
> For me, those who preserve will, in part, determine what will and can be
researched. That is quite a responsibility.
Consider also that we who preserve independently are usually considered
"eccentric" (to use one of the few neutral descriptives!) for doing so...
unless the artifacts in question suddenly acquire significant MONETARY
> So shall I tell you of the music librarian who threw out boxes full of rare
piano music (which we didn't otherwise have) because the paper was acidic? and
didn't bother to make photocopies...
Interesting...and also sad! The "acidic" quality of the paper would
only have affected the life of those documents...AFAIK, it can't
turn other paper artifacts acidic via contact. So...he/she/it
basically said "These can't be preserved forever...so I'll get
rid of them now!" Note that this reasoning could have been applied
to any of us at birth...
Steven C. Barr