Re: Archiving and access & analysis (and time and money)

Subject: Re: Archiving and access & analysis (and time and money)
From: Lisa Whistlecroft (
Date: Sun Oct 16 2005 - 19:07:51 EDT

Ned asked: So are there other voices out there in favour of such a
project being developed?

This is a four-part reply: (i) useful pointer; (ii) wet blanket;
(iii) confessional; (iv) post-wet-blanket speculative thought!
Search by number if you only want one aspect!

(i) pointer -- I'm sorry I haven't got the time to do all the
necessary cross-posting but people interested in
cataloguing/searching/finding 'sounds like' sounds might be
interested in talking to the people on the Digital Music Research
Network who have a public discussion list <DMRN-LIST@JISCMAIL.AC.UK>.

(ii) wet blanket -- Maybe it's English 'reserve' or creeping middle
age or having spent a long time in 'academic' (learning) technology,
but my gut feeling is that Kevin's reservations should be taken very
seriously - both the ones about it not being simple technically
(keyword/tagging) and the one about there never being enough
enthusiasm/time/people for this to be maintained after it got off the

Finding, creating and giving are all wonderful experiences. Finding,
using and receiving also. Librarianship/curating/managing are less
so (except perhaps for people whose first passion is librarianship
rather than making/using the things that are to be stored and

Wikipedia may be proving me wrong, an idea which I celebrate!!

(iii) confessions -- Here, to balance(!) are my replies to Ned's
specific questions, from the perspective of amateur and not 'expert'

>Do some of you have an issue with their recordings ending up on
>other composers' works? What kind of samples/recordings would you
>be willing to 'give' to the bank?

I'm far too insecure to give away sounds until I'm sure I've made all
the use of them that I intend. I would fear being in a concert and,
after a piece, hearing people say "Oh I loved the sound that..." and
knowing it had been my recording and if I ever used it now people
would think I used someone else's and say "Oh that's that wonderful
sound from xxxx's piece, did you get it from the CEC sound-share

>How many of you still have stuff on DAT that hasn't been digitized
>into the computer yet?

Yes I have hours of stuff on DAT (and quite a bit on mini-disc, and a
little bit on analogue tape) that I won't ever listen to until I
think I might want a bit of it for something I'm working on. And
yes, I won't know which DAT it's on!

And yes, the only thing that would induce me to give it away might
just be an offer from someone else (note *someone else*!!) to
digitise, catalogue, mark up, describe and archive it for me!

(iv) post-wet-blanket thought -- this kind of project is the sort of
thing that, to set up, I think would need oodles of money and a
full-time post. The way to get those things is sometimes to bid for
research funding. The UK now has an Arts and Humanities Research
Council which has a large ICT (computers!) strand and a budget and
invites bids. My host university (Lancaster) is in the process of
setting up a Humanities Computing facility (research and support).
Humanities computing in the UK is (in my biased opinion) still
terrible hooked up on digitising texts - and it would be good to see
it move more positively into other media such as sound. Maybe if
someone has the energy to take this idea forward from CEC, but in
collaboration with a UK university, possibly Lancaster, maybe
something could be started? We also have a good linguistics
department so maybe the naming/describing process and vocabulary
development (Eliot's "pow" "ching" "frosty" "thwack" "chunk"
"buffeta-buffeta" "mellow blap" stuff) would be of interest to them

Best wishes,


Lisa Whistlecroft               
Lancaster University, UK.                   Tel: +44 (0) 1524 593776


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