10. Security

Most sound archives have been established by a few dedicated individuals who have personally supervised everything. Access has probably been limited to a small number of equally dedicated specialists. Then the archives grow. More staff are employed, often on a temporary basis. The number of users grows considerably and one day it is discovered that valuable recordings have been lost.

All archives must pay attention to the security of their collections and archives of commercial recordings are likely to have larger problems than, say, archives specializing in wildlife sounds. The typical 'thief' who takes material from archives is not a professional criminal but an enthusiastic visitor or a staff member who thinks that he needs a particular item more than the archive and that the loss will not be noticed anyway.

The best precaution against the loss of material is the establishment of simple rules for the removal and return of material from shelves, for taking material off the premises, for locking and opening doors and having access to keys, for the inspection of bags and so on. The existence and observance of such rules will probably eliminate most security problems.