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Folk Heritage Collections in Crisis

report cover

May 2001

Copyright 2001 by the Council on Library and Information Resources. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transcribed in any form without permission of the publisher. Requests for reproduction should be submitted to the Director of Communications at the Council on Library and Information Resources.

About the Contributors



Stating the Obvious: Lessons Learned Attempting Access to Archival Audio Collections,
by Virginia DanielsonSummary, Responses, and Discussion


Preservation of Audio, by Elizabeth Cohen

Summary, Responses, and Discussion


Intellectual Property and Audiovisual Archives and Collections, by Anthony Seeger

Summary, Responses, and Discussion


APPENDIX I: Conference Participants

APPENDIX II: Survey of Folk Heritage Collections: Summary of Results

About the Contributors

Access Keynote Address
Virginia Danielson, director, the Archive of World Music, Harvard University

Virginia Danielson is the Richard F. French Librarian of the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library at Harvard University and the curator of the Archive of World Music at Harvard. In these capacities she has overseen the development of a state-of-the-art digital audio studio intended to foster the reformatting of unique recordings. She has had primary responsibility for acquisition, preservation, and cataloging of ethnographic audio and video recordings at Harvard. She has been active in the Association for Recorded Sound Collections, International Association of Sound Archives, Music Library Association, Society for Ethnomusicology, and American Musicological Society. She has participated in university library committees at Harvard that are responsible for preservation and access to nonbook materials.

Ms. Danielson holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Illinois. Her research has focused on music of the Arab world. She is the author of numerous articles on Arabic song, female singers, and Muslim devotional music. She is a co-editor of the forthcoming volume on music of the Middle East and Central Asia in the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Her book The Voice of Egypt: Umm Kulthum, Arabic Song and Egyptian Society in the 20th Century was nominated for an Association for Recorded Sound Collections award in 1998.

Preservation Keynote Address
Elizabeth Cohen, president, Cohen Acoustical Inc.

Elizabeth Cohen is the president of Cohen Acoustical, Inc. and publisher of The Sound Report, a subscription-only newsletter analyzing the effect of audio on technology and technology on audio-related industries. She is the past president of the Audio Engineering Society and served as the Acoustical Society Science and Engineering fellow to the White House National Economic Council, where her portfolio consisted of arts and humanities applications on the Internet, promoting telecommuting, and accessibility issues. She led the acoustical design teams for Aspen’s Joan and Irving Harris Concert Hall and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Samuel Goldwyn Theater. She is considered one of the premier designers of home theaters. In February 1998 she received the Touchstone Award for her contributions to the music industry.

Intellectual Property Rights Keynote Address
Anthony Seeger, professor, University of California, Los Angeles

Anthony Seeger is a professor in the Department of Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Chicago. His research has concentrated on the music of Amazonian Indians in Brazil, where he lived for nearly 10 years. He was a member of the graduate faculty of the Department of Anthropology at the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, and became the department chairman and coordinator of the graduate program. He also helped establish an M.A. program in musicology and ethnomusicology at the Brazilian Conservatory of Music.

Upon returning to the United States, he became associate professor of anthropology and director of the Indiana University Archives of Traditional Music. He subsequently served as director of Folkways Records at the Smithsonian Institution and curator of the archival collections of the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage; he is now curator emeritus at the Smithsonian. Mr. Seeger has held executive positions in a number of professional organizations, including the Society for Ethnomusicology and the International Council for Traditional Music. He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1993. Mr. Seeger is the author of four books and more than 50 articles on anthropological, ethnomusicological, archival, intellectual property, and Indian rights issues.

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