2. Primary and secondary information

Documents are the bearers of information:

  • primary information, consisting of the sonic content, and
  • ancillary or secondary information which may take manifold forms.

Both primary and secondary information form part of the Audio Heritage. The relative importance of the two will vary depending on the content, the type of carrier and the needs of users, both present and future. Secondary information, however, becomes a crucial factor in the authentication of primary information once the sonic content has been transferred from its original carrier for preservation purposes (cf paragraph 5).

In many cases the carriers have become collectable cultural objects in their own right, eg mass produced sound discs. Furthermore, secondary information such as hand written notes etc may constitute an indispensable part of the sound document (the original carrier and associated material). It is the task of the archive to evaluate the degree to which the document needs to be preserved in order to serve future users and to then implement a suitable preservation strategy.