Heritage Collections in Crisis
Ethnographic field documentation
conducted throughout the twentieth century has resulted in both
a bonanza of recorded-sound heritage and a daunting problem: how
to keep that documentation safe, audible, and available for many
years to come. This folk heritage collections crisis has been felt
by institutions and archives, large and small, throughout the country.
In December 2000, the American Folklife Center and the American
Folklore Society sponsored a symposium at the Library of Congress
for over one hundred invited experts and observers, who discussed
what they are individually and collectively doing, or hoping to
do, to respond to the crisis. The purpose of the symposium, said
Peggy Bulger, director of the American Folklife Center, was to "identify
and define common problems, encourage the sharing of best management
practices, suggest responses to critical issues, and develop plans
to preserve folk heritage recorded sound resources for future generations."
The symposium organizers invited participants to address three
major topics: preserving recorded sound (in various recorded-sound
formats); providing access to collections regulated by complex
terminology and differing restrictions; and negotiating the tricky
landscape of copyright law and intellectual property rights.
This Web site provides video and text of Peggy Bulger's introductory
remarks for this online presentation and of the keynote adresses
at the symposium. The report on the conference prepared by the
Council on Library Information Resources (CLIR), and an article
about the symposium reprinted from the Folklife Center News are
also available from this site.