Restrictions on Acquisitions

Although the brief quite clearly indicates that there should be a universal selection policy there are restrictive problems.

Lack of space. Although technology promises to minimise this problem with digital recordings there is no commitment for re-equipment with this expensive equipment. The existing collection would have to be re-recorded in any event.

Lack of oral history interviewers. The recording programme of acquisitions is restricted by the low number of staff and freelance oral history interviewers. This forces a careful choice as to who can be interviewed and on what subjects.

Lack of staff and equipment for preservation work. The archival copying and preservation is extremely time consuming and staff are also required for monitoring air-conditioning and checking the stability of recordings in storage.

Lack of staff for cataloguing. Sound recordings are not readily accessible without clear effective cataloguing. This is extremely costly in staff time due to the requirement to prepare synopses of tape content.

Lack of resources. Although the previous three points are consequent upon this, the general point can be made that the archival preservation of recordings involves a commitment to prepare copies of the material and there is a limited budget for tape purchase.

To ensure a balanced collection. If we simply respond to the material offered to us the collection may easily become unbalanced and not reflective of the institution’s brief.