The art of appraisal and selection of sound recordings archival retention (Leslie Waffen)

The aim of this presentation is to take up the subject of selection and the criteria for selection for sound archives, a subject which has already been addressed at recent annual meetings of IASA in Budapest and Brussels, and which goes back as far as 1974 with presentations at the Jerusalem conference on “Principles of Selection” by Rolf Schuursma and “The Selection of Sound Recordings for Permanent Retention in the BBC Sound Archives” by Timothy Eckersley.

The purpose of this paper is to present a few of the considerations - none of them ostensibly new - that commonly weigh upon appraisers in judging the archival value of documents, specifically audio documents; to arrange these considerations in an order that may suggest a methodical procedure; to point especially to the need for a boldly conceived and clearly defined policy of selection at the institutional level; and to provoke further discussion in the hope that it will either refine and improve on the selection criteria being outlined or develop other criteria which gradually become more suitable to the purpose.