Information Bulletin no. 25, April 1998

New Members

This quarter we welcome two new full institutional members from Poland:

Archivum Polskiego Radio: Polskie Radio S.A. , Al. Niepodleglosci 77/85, 00-977 Warsaw, Poland

Biblioteka Narodowa: Al. Niepodleglosci 213, 00-973 Warsaw, Poland

Biblioteka Narodowa claims the "greatest collection of musical recordings in Poland, with more than 45,000 documents being the main strength of the collection which concentrates on recordings produced in Poland, Polish composers and performers plus a selection of recordings of classical music from other countries".

Also several new full individual members, some of whom will already be familiar faces: Anthony Seeger, Daniele Branger, Olle Johansson, Cheryl Mollicone (NARAS), Steve Johnson, and from Oman, Amer Al-Rawas and Rashid Haroon al-Jabry. Contact details can be found in the new IASA Directory 1998.

Derek Lewis

The many friends and colleagues of Derek Lewis will be saddened to hear of his death on March 6th in a London hospital. Derek had been suffering from Parkinson's Disease for some time, a debilitating illness which he had borne with great dignity.

Although Derek began his career in the theatre his love of music led him to Decca and, from there, to the BBC in 1963 when he became Gramophone Librarian, a post he held for the next 29 years until his retirement. Although originally a IAML member, Derek was heavily involved in the early days of IASA. He attended virtually all of the annual conferences and for many years chaired the joint IAML/IASA committee, contributing greatly to the common agenda of both organisations.

Derek carried his encyclopaedic knowledge of recorded music very lightly and was always unfailingly good company. His distinctive mixture of reticence, combined with great kindness and courtesy, will be much missed by friends and colleagues in IASA.

Swiss switch

Kurt Deggeller, Director of Swiss National Sound Archive, has been appointed Director of Memoriav, Association for the preservation of the audio-visual heritage of Switzerland. He will leave the Fonoteca Nazionale during the first half of this year but he will maintain his mandates in IASA.

Access is the theme for Paris: call for papers

IASA Secretary-General Albrecht Häfner urges you to consider adding your voice to this year's conference proceedings:

"the annual IASA conference, to be held in Paris 15-20 November, is still far away but preparations have started and the preliminary programme will be sent out not later than end of May. Anybody who wishes to give a paper addressing the general theme for this year - Improving Access to Sound and Audiovisual Archives: How to Respond to the Challenges of New Media Technology should send their submission including a brief abstract to the Secretary-General by end of April".

Colleagues in SEAPAVAA have recently taken access as their conference theme also. You can see what topics they discussed in Hanoi during March on the SEAPAVAA website . For those without Internet access, these were the main sub-themes:

  • standardisation of av catalogues and information exchange

  • promoting the collections: marketing, fund-raising, resource sharing

  • copyright, use of collections (screening rights and exchange)

  • technical issues: access delivery and infrastructure

  • managing the delivery: access policy, practice and service delivery

  • a regional strategy for providing access to the av heritage of the South East Asia-Pacific region

Neither should we overlook the implications for the profession of a more customer-led emphasis on access, maybe at some cost to the traditional collection-based concerns. These implications are already being examined at the British Library as a necessary response, not so much to new technology (which promises to make those traditional jobs more alluring) but to reductions in state funding.

When 'access' equals 'excess'

With Inger Kielland's account of grand archival larceny still fresh in our memories (see Bulletin 24) we might well consider devoting a session at this year's Conference to the theme of 'safeguarding collections and staff from criminal or unreasonable behaviour by the public'. I am sure we all have tales of unacceptable user behaviour to enliven a dull moment in the canteen: here's one which recently involved Sweden's ALB. Olle Johansson takes up the story:

"A woman called the ALB recently, just before lunchtime, claiming that she was standing in a telephone booth and was being threatened by a man with a gun. He was pointing the gun at her head and was demanding through her that ALB change the information in the catalogue about a television programme in which he had participated. She did not actually say that he was going to shoot her if we didn't, but we drew our own conclusions...

She demanded that we should change information in our catalogue and that we had until 14.00 hours to comply. We phoned the police who arrived for a report and left. The next time she phoned they tried to trace the call, without success. She again demanded the same thing. Our staff tried to tell her that there was no information about any names in the catalogue, and that the catalogue was an on-line catalogue located at the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation over which we had no control. But she would not listen.

When she called the third time around 14.00 the police were present. One of the policemen pretended to be the director of ALB and told the woman that we could not help her, and, judging her to be of unsound mind, refused to take her threat seriously. Since then we haven't heard anything more."

Congress of Vienna

Albrecht Häfner reports: "ORF, the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, with its bustling director of TV archives, Peter Dusek, invited to Vienna on February 13-14 members of FIAT and the IASA Radio Sound Archives Committee to a seminar on the subject of "Digitisation in Radio Archives". The main purpose of the meeting was to give a rough indication of developments to those within FIAT who deal with sound in their archives.

There were 41 delegates from 14 European countries. They exchanged the latest information on current developments, projects, ideas and plans. As an appetiser and to provide the participants with the necessary theory, Dietrich Schüller introduced the IASA strategy paper The Safeguarding of the Audio Heritage: Ethics, Principles and Preservation Strategy. Albrecht Häfner then offered some practical experiences from his pilot project at Südwestfunk in Baden-Baden.

The first day ended with the demonstration of a system for Digital Media Archives, designed and offered by Siemens Austria. Brief reports on digitisation projects or plans in the archives of the participants, accompanied by vital discussions, made up the second day which was closed by a guided tour through the ORF's TV archives.

In his welcome speech, Albrecht expressed his firm belief that this seminar was a first step towards a "co-operation on a small scale" between FIAT and IASA, hopefully followed by more. In emphasising that, Dietrich invited FIAT for co-operation in a technical project that aims at observing and diagnosing the dwindling importance of magnetic tape for recording and storing purposes of audio-visual contents, and realising the consequences. The proposal to repeat this meeting in 1999 was met with unanimous approval by all attendants.

IASA Branch in Basel

The 1997 meeting of the German/Swiss IASA branch was held October 31 to November 2, 1997, in Basel, kindly hosted by the Swiss Radio Company DRS. More than 40 attendants, with equal representation from Switzerland and Germany, had a varied meeting with interesting papers and a number of presentations of private and institutional sound recording collections, especially from the Swiss members.

The meeting focused on two main themes: "User-friendliness in institutional archives" and "The centenary of the shellac disc". Both enabled further consideration of modern digital techniques which are so useful for the safeguarding of historic recordings in the long term. In this context, the hundred years of the shellac disc illustrated the analogue sound carrier on its way to the digital medium, thus proving the paradigmatic change 'away from eternal carriers towards eternal information'.

Members had been invited to vote on a new executive board. Kurt Deggeller was elected new President - for one year only on his own request as he had been recently appointed Director of the Swiss Memoriav association which demands his full commitment. Kurt closed the meeting by saying: "Internet is really fantastic - but a chat during a coffee break gives sometimes better information!".


All you want to know about wire recordings

In response from an enquiry to Albrecht Häfner from Gretchen King, an undergraduate student of Ethnomusicology from Seattle, a large amount of information is being generated about wire recordings which may be useful to start assembling here to assist her project, which she describes as "the compilation of a manual for archiving magnetic wire recordings. Within this manual, I hope to provide information about transferring and storing wire recordings for librarians and archivist who may need "how to" instructions. So far, I have compiled a brief history of wire recordings, but the bulk of the information in the manual will address the various techniques used by different archives when transferring and wire recordings. For these sections, I would like to obtain step by step information about the processes involved in transferring these recordings. I am hoping to include techniques that have been devised by creative individuals who did not have access to a magnetic wire recorder. Information describing these processes should address all steps involved; such as, machinery used, length of time involved in transfer, medium transferred to, complications and their solutions, and quality of copy. Any information is pertinent and should not be left out. Describing the storing of the wire spools should be as detailed as the processes involved in transferring and any problems should be addressed. I am also interested in the condition of the wire spools when received for transferring and whether anything can be done to rescue spools that are in poor condition (i.e. rusted). This manual is designed to provide information regarding every aspect involved in preserving magnetic wire recordings. Although steel wire was never as widely used as tape, the knowledge and experience that this manual will provide will benefit anyone who desires preserve this dead medium".

A useful bibliography has already been compiled by Ms King:

  • Begun, S. J., L. C. Holmes and H. E. Roys. "Measuring Procedures for Magnetic Recording" Audio Engineering (April 1949) pp19+.

  • Haynes, N. M. "Bibliography of Magnetic Recording" Audio Engineering (October 1947) pp30-31.

  • Jorgensen, Finn. The Complete Handbook of Magnetic Recording.- Blue Ridge Summit: Tab Professional and Reference Books, 1988.

  • Read, Oliver. The Recording and Reproduction of Sound. Indianapolis: Howard Sam's & Co, 1952

  • Read, Oliver, and Walter Welch. From Tin Foil to Stereo: evolution of the phonograph. Indianapolis: Howard Sam's & Co., 1977

  • Storchheim, Samuel. "Magnetic Transfer of Stainless Steel Recording Wire". Audio Engineering. (December 1953) pp19+.

  • Stumpf, Carl. "Tonsystem und Musik der Siamesen". Beitrage zur Akustik und Musikw 3 pp 69-138.

  • Tuttle, Pauline. "To Hear With Your Own Ears: The Introduction of the Phonograph to the Musical Landscape and its Impact on the Field of Ethnomusicology to 1910".- Unpublished paper, 1996

  • Wilson, Carmen. Magnetic Recording:1900-1949.- Chicago: John Crerar Library, 1950.

There are also various web sites including or devoted to wire:

Audio-Restoration by Graham Newton:,

David Morton's Home Page and Other Sites:,,,

Dead Media Project:

Playback of wire recordings:

Recording wire:

Yesterday's Office:,

One of the fullest responses was from Jim Lindner, VidiPax:

"We have a very large collection of wire recorders here at VidiPax. The collection is very varied and includes wire recorders that were designed for many different application areas including those designed for dictation as well as telephone answering machines and even the prototype for the Magnecord wire recorder, hand held units and many more. We have many of the manuals here, and you are welcome to research them here. As far as a specific playback manual and techniques I am afraid that we do not have the time to go into it in depth... I can say that I have been very dissatisfied with playing the wires back on the machines that created them. We are a quality restoration company and I do not feel that this approach is a 'quality' approach for many reasons. There's also the problem with parts: the technology was just so bad that direct connection causes all sorts of problems and as a result I feel that playback this way is decidedly sub-standard and unacceptable for archival purposes - so we have started to build our own modern wire playback machine. We are not done yet, and I suspect 6 months more will be the additional time that we will need, but when it is done we will have by far the best way of playing wire in the world. We do not intend to market this machine, but use if for the transfer of wire on a service basis. The machine will be 'interformat' capable of playing back all flavours of wire."

Jim Lindner can be contacted at VidiPax, The Magnetic Media Restoration Company,, 450 West 31 Street - 4th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10001, tel. 00 1 212-563-1999, fax 00 1 212-563-1994.

Gretchen King can be contacted at 5026 12th Avenue NE, Apartment 3, Seattle, WA 98105-4307,


Sephardim research

Joel Bresler asks: "for research into a comprehensive discography of the Sephardim (the Jews exiled from Spain), I would appreciate learning of institutions, dealers and individuals with copies of 78 rpm and early field recordings. Record company catalogs would also be invaluable. Please contact:

Joel Bresler, 250 E. Emerson Rd., Lexington, MA 02173 USA. Tel. 00 1 781-862-2432, FAX: 00 1 781-862-0498, e-mail

Artists known to have recorded Sephardic repertoire include: Algava, Rabbi Isaac Algazi, Isaac Angel, Albert Beressi, Effendi Çakum, Dr David de Sola Pool, Haim Effendi, Isac Haïm, Victoria Hazan, Mlle. Marlette, Jack Mayesh, Mlle. Rosa, The Stamboul Quartet.

Labels known to have published Sephardic recordings include: Columbia (US), Columbia (Turkey?), Favorite, Gennett, Mayesh Phonograph Records, Mere, Metropolitan, Odeon, Orfeon/Orfeos, Polyphon

Copyright Class of 98

Which of these statements do you believe to be true?

  • The publisher owns the copyright when you write an article for publication.

  • A published work is in the public domain if it has no copyright notice.

  • If you write a report for someone, that person owns the copyright.

  • If you are using materials for educational purposes on your website, it is fair use.

  • The amount of photocopying that you can do for your class is set by guidelines.

Are you sure? The answers provided by Indiana University's Online Copyright Tutorial may surprise you and will not necessarily disappoint you (though you may need to be aware of territorial differences if you're approaching this from outside of the United States).

The Indiana University Online Copyright Tutorial consists of a "series of short, readable, and helpful electronic messages provided via listserv from February 9 through the end of Spring Semester 1998. To subscribe, simply send e-mail to Put nothing in the subject line. In the message body type: "sub Copyright-Online-L yourname". Do not use a signature block.

For additional details, visit

Digital Preservation Workshop

Although the deadline for proposals has passed, members may be interested to learn about the next workshop on digital preservation (the sixth) to be co-organised by the DELOS Working Group and the NEDLIB Project. It will take place June 17-19, 1998 in Tomar, Portugal and will examine issues related to the preservation of digital information. Apart from the presentations of proposed papers, there also be a number of invited guest speakers who will present details of relevant technical and research issues.

The main objective of DELOS is "to contribute to the advancement of digital library construction by identifying and promoting the discussion of research issues". The members of the DELOS group are the twelve ERCIM (European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics) research institutes, plus the University of Michigan (USA) and Elsevier Science.

NEDLIB is a project promoted by the CoBRA+ group and supported by the Telematics for Libraries Programme of the European Commission. The project consortium includes nine European national libraries, a national archive and three main publishers. The objective of NEDLIB is to ensure that digital publications of the present can be used now and in the future.

The NEDLIB project is scheduled to start in January 1998. The project will define an architecture for capturing, preserving and accessing digital publications. It will develop tools and define standards and procedures required to implement this architecture in a deposit system of digital publications. NEDLIB will take account of the requirement of long term storage and retrieval as well as the terms and conditions applying to the access of those publications. As a result, the project will define the technical environment and develop test implementations. The local organisation of the workshop will be a joint initiative of INESC (both a DELOS and NEDLIB partner), and the Portuguese National Library (a NEDLIB partner).

Please look for more details at:

Indigenous Copyright

Grace Koch reports: "the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies recently commissioned a study on the legal status of Indigenous ownership of cultural property. The document, entitled Our Culture; Our Future: Proposals for Recognition and Protection of Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property has several sections on media archives, providing a number of often provocative suggestions for the handling and dissemination of such media. Although this document is targeted at Australia, the viewpoints offered are most thought-provoking for any archivists who handle Indigenous media. See the document on the Web.

Plan for the Preservation of Norwegian Sound Recordings

Trond Valberg writes: "For a long time in Norway it has been felt that there is a need for a national strategic plan for the care of out national heritage in the form of sound recordings. Some of the oldest materials, phonographic rolls and the first gramophone recordings, are already lost. Luckily we still keep one of the first sound recordings ever made, a tin-foil piece recorded in Kristiania (Oslo) in 1879. But we regard new releases, nowadays mainly on compact disc, to be equally worthy of preservation.

At a national conference for Norwegian sound archives held in Oslo 24th of October 1997 the plan was presented to the Norwegian Council of Cultural Affairs. As far as we know, this national plan for the preservation of sound recordings is the first ever to be published anywhere. The working group has consisted of four members from Stavanger College, the Norwegian Broadcast Corporation and the National Library of Norway (the Oslo Branch and the Rana Branch). Early in December 1997 the plan was presented on the Internet - the complete version in Norwegian version and an abbreviated version in English. Take a look at [in Norwegian]; [in English]

The preservation plan is divided into three main parts. The first part is more like an historic survey from the early sound carriers and equipment up till today's digital domain. The Norwegian distribution of early sound recordings is important and includes large number of releases compared to our population. You will find information about e.g. wax cylinders, shellac discs, Pathé discs, wire recordings, analogue and digital magnetic tapes, and optical sound carriers. Some of the technical principles are presented as well.

In part two you can briefly read about governmental levels of responsibility for safeguarding sound collections, besides the private efforts. One of the main tasks of this project was to make overview reports of both official and private sound collections in Norway. Concerning legislation the act relating to The Legal Deposit of Generally Available Documents of 1990 is the most important tool for collecting and preserving new record releases. Today we are discussing new strategies to try to make this act work better, since a lot of Norwegian record releases never have been delivered to the national archives for preservation (see part three).

In a way part three is the main part presenting objectives, conditions, criteria, collecting, preservation, access, distribution and, last but not least, recommended actions. Probably most of these subjects are relevant to any sound or audio-visual archive, and of course you need money to preserve sound carriers. To fulfil the intentions of the plan, it is necessary for our Ministry of Cultural Affairs to support this important work regularly on an annual basis by financing more extensive preservation projects.

We are happy to receive any comments! E-mail:

Data protection

The Library Association (UK) has just published a three-page summary of the main provisions affecting libraries and archives following the publication of SI 3032 Copyright and Rights in Databases Regulations 1997. The summary can be accessed via the Library Association's Home Page and clicking on "What's New".

Farm folk

The American Folklife Center and the National Digital Library Program at the Library of Congress announce the release of the online presentation: Voices from the Dust Bowl: The Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection, a multi-format ethnographic field collection from the American Folklife Center's Archive of Folk Culture, has just been made available through the National Digital Library Program of the Library of Congress. This collection documents the everyday life of residents of Farm Security Administration (FSA) migrant work camps in central California in 1940 and 1941 and consists of audio recordings, photographs, manuscript materials, publications, and ephemera generated during two separate documentation trips undertaken by Todd and Sonkin.

In addition, beginning at noon on January 8th , viewers may enjoy Today in History, accessible through the Library of Congress's main homepage.

The following materials on the Library of Congress website may also be of interest: California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the '30s, another ethnographic field collection from the American Folklife Center's Archive of Folk Culture continues to be available online. This elaborate online collection includes sound recordings, still photographs, drawings, and manuscripts documenting the musical traditions of a variety of European ethnic and English- and Spanish-speaking communities in California. It comprises 35 hours of folk music recorded in twelve languages representing 185 musicians.

Folklife Sourcebook: A Directory of Folklife Resources in the United States has been revised and expanded for 1997. Chapters include directories for graduate programs, public sector folklore organizations, archives, serial publications, and more. This edition will be available as an online resource only. Please send updates on information in the directory to Peter Bartis. The URL for this publication is

In addition, the Folklife Center's web pages include many popular publications, guides to collections, information about projects to publish recordings from the collections on CD, and the Folkline information service. The URL for the Center's home page is

Sites and Sounds 

MiniDisc. You can find all you need on MiniDisc at the MiniDisc Community Page including a bibliography of articles from the press and technical journals.

World War 1 Digital Archive taster. Part of the JTAP Virtual Seminars Project is involved in the creation of a freely available digital archive based around the First World War and in particular the experiences of Wilfred Owen. To look at a few samples of the types of material that will be available (as yet no sound recordings) point your browser to:

For auctions of 78 rpm and other vintage artefacts, visit Nauck's Vintage Records .

Calendar of events

Date Event Location
Apr 21-26 FIAF Annual Congress Prague
Apr/May IASA mid-year Board meeting London
May ARSC General Conference Syracuse, NY
May 16 - 19 AES Convention Amsterdam
June 14-18 X International Oral History Conference Rio De Janeiro
June 17- 9 European Commission DELOS workshop: "preservation of digital information" <> Lisbon
Jul 20-24 Institute of Paper Conservation & Society of Archivists conference: Care of photographic, moving image and sound collections York, UK
Aug IFLA Council and General Conference Amsterdam
Aug 31 - Sep 4 "KnowRight 98": XV IFIP World Computer Conference/ 2nd International Conference on intellectual property rights & free flow of information Budapest
Sep 26 - 29 AES Convention San Francisco
Sep 27 - Oct 1 FIAT Conference & General Assembly Florence
November 15 - 20 IASA Annual Conference Paris
November FIAF Executive Committee San Juan, Puerto Rico
March SEAPAVAA Annual Conference Kuala Lumpur
April FIAF Annual Congress Madrid
August IFLA Council and General Conference Bangkok
September IASA Annual Conference Vienna
November FIAF Executive Committee Toulouse
April FIAF Annual Conference London
August IFLA Council and General Conference Jerusalem
November FIAF Executive Committee New York

This Information Bulletin was compiled by:

The Editor of IASA, Chris Clark,
The British Library National Sound Archive, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB, UK,
tel. 44 171 412 7411, fax 44 171 412 7413, e-mail,

Elsebeth Kirring, Statsbiblioteket, Universitetsparken, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark,
tel. 45 8946 2055, fax 45 8946 2050, e-mail

Printed in Budapest, Hungary

In particular, you are urged to notify IASA (via this Bulletin, or via the Secretary-General) of any changes to the contact details printed in the current IASA Directory.