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sholsted on 09/09/2011 at 09:06AM

FMA: Chicken, Egg, Rare Bird?

papyrus + mummified crocodile = longevity

I was headed to an archives conference in Chicago last month.

Jason: Can you take some fliers? And maybe, can you write a blog post? Like, link up the archives community with the FMA and the American Archive Content Inventory Project we're working on?
Me: Great, sure, no problem.

Society of American Archivists, meet the Free Music Archive. I'm sure you'll have lots in common.

I'd always thought archivists were kissin' cousins with librarians (me), and aside from a few tomato/tomahto issues we'd skip hand-in-hand to the basement and organize something. But this isn't so as many people in Chicago were quick to point out.

Me: Hi! I'm inventorying albums and tapes at WFMU for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's American Archive. A lot of the materials are in the Free Music Archive - thousands of songs... selected by curators... cataloged... rights cleared... anyone can listen, download.... Is there anyone in your office doing stuff like this?
Archivist: Hm. Cool. No, that's not what we really do. Oh look, mini-spinach pies!

Maybe it's not fair to compare the FMA to "archives" in general when broadcast organizations that deal with analog and digital media are riding the short bus to their own special Dantic circle. But I'll make the comparison anyway...


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