wherefore Ra archives??

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#1 Tue, 1994-11-08 11:27
Pat Padua
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wherefore Ra archives??

Trudy,

I'm sorry I haven't gotten in touch with you sooner (anyone know who won the NEA award??); I've spoken briefly and unofficially with some Libray of Congress colleagues about the possibilities of housing some form of Ra archives here, and it may be helpful/informative to discuss the general concerns here. And I'm merely trying to address the housing of the -physical- materials; any kind of infohighway re-distribution would be a completely nuther matter.

While collections security at LC may not be the absolute best, what musical collections (the Mingus, for example) held here are only -immediately- accessible to reference and curatorial staff. Any listening/examining of manuscripts/recordings are either by appointment or are otherwise under supervision by reference staff. I'm not sure how this works for something like the manuscript for -beaneath the underdog- or other one-of-a-kind items, since I've only gone through music reference for more general research, but I think the level of security that this system affords is -much higher- than what a University archive might entail. As much as SUNO might be regarded for sentimental place value, recordings/manuscripts may be more vulnerable to theft there than at LC. I don't want to put SUNO or any other university in unfavorable light, but I want to be realistic; LC would have more staff and more secure, climate-controlled, if unromantic, storage space.

On the other hand, LC wouldn't be an especially appropriate depository for any non-musical materials - costumes, instruments, what have you. Storage would be cumbersome, and considering the limited exhibition space (and themes) at LC, they'd probably never see the light of day again. The Smithsonian would be more suitable for such materials, but their interest in Ra would probably be even more limited than that of LC management.

I'm not speaking officially, though I have spoken with colleagues who'd have a more exact sense of what's possible; and the general consensus is that we would be best suited as a depository for recordings and manuscripts only; the collection then would have to be split on those lines.

Pat