By Kelly Hangauer
You will be happy, very happy indeed, to know that the John B. Gage Audio Omeka site is finally completed. As I write this, I am imagining thunderous applause filling up the room. I look up, just like John Gage did at his inauguration ceremony of 1940, and I see the people on the balcony rising to their feet. They are smiling, laughing, hollering . . . everything is in slow motion.
They are cheering for me and you, John Gage. Their cheers, caught by the KMBC microphone, set in vinyl, saved by you and your family over the years, saved by the Marr Sound Archives, and now finding a new life in the digital platform of Roy Rosenzweig’s Omeka site. The journey is confounding, and it is surely not over.
As you navigate the site there are a couple things to keep in mind. These audio samplings are mere samplings and represent a much vaster collection of recordings that you can find at the Marr Sound Archives. While ironing has been attempted, there are still some wrinkles within the site most obvious of which is the fact that clicking on the John B. Gage picture at the top of the page will take one back to the UMKC University site. Try to stay within the lines of navigation located on the right. Also, I know I can include more text for better context.
Otherwise, it has been fun. Let me know what you think! I will look for you at the American Royal, standing next to Ruth Hussey eating barbeque.
By Kelly Hangauer
One of the readings I was responsible for during my internship was The Library of Congress National Recording Preservation Plan. This booklet, released in December 2012, sets forth an ambitious plan for preserving the audio heritage of the United States, and addresses many of the obstacles to this process. I found the reading to be very technical, but also quite interesting. Early on, the authors bring up the idea of a National Directory that would act as a central database for all recorded sounds. Having a centralized database like this would enable sound archives, like the Marr Sound Archives, to know which records and historical broadcasts have already been digitized by other institutions. Not only would this help to organize all of the audio information out there, but it would allow sound archivists to better prioritize the digitization of their collections. This is an especially important issue considering that many really old recordings are beginning to breakdown, and archives are often overwhelmed by large workloads and underfunding.
Also of interest is the way in which the book highlights the obstacles created by federal legislation. There is a federal copyright law that allows libraries and archives to copy audio recordings since 1972, but due to some strange nuances of the law, pre-1972 recordings are under a different copyright. Because of these issues, it is difficult to obtain permission to preserve pre-1972 recordings which happen to be the very ones that need it the most. Furthermore, these confusions make it more difficult to obtain funding for large preservation projects.
The meditation on this reading will continue in the next post.