Some selection criteria

Having elaborated some common principles and guidelines of selection, let us now look at some selection criteria or approaches to criteria for thought and discussion.

Given the scope and amount of commercially produced recordings accumulating yearly (current industry figures estimate that in 1982 2600 LPs and 2800 45s were released by American record companies alone), as well as the output of unpublished recordings from radio programmes and of oral history materials being produced worldwide. Wherever possible a selection scheme on a national level should be considered similar to one advocated in a symposium on selection held by FIAF in 1980; and perhaps this should be geared in stages, with one generation of archivists reviewing the selections of their predecessors in order to deselect materials judged unimportant after the passage of 50 or more years. To do this, greater co-operation is needed among established institutional sound archives in various countries that have recorded sound archives and perhaps even the development of specialized archives working in concert with the existing institutions in a co-ordinated network, to document various types of recorded music and speech. Some of those networks are already being nurtured, for example in the US, where the five leading institutions with the largest collections of sound recordings are working together under ARSC (The Association of Recorded sound Collections) to create an index to their holdings of 78 recordings. Such an index will be a prime tool, not only for researchers, but also for appraisers to use to locate sound recordings and in developing selection criteria, at each institution, applying the test of uniqueness, allocating preservation monies, and eliminating duplication.