Saturday, January 22, 2011

Archiving music and film

Library of Congress builds the record collection of the century
By Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Times

About an hour south of Washington, D.C., deep beneath rolling hills near the verdant Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, lies a storehouse filled with bounty. At one time, during the Cold War, that treasure was cash — about $3-billion worth — that the Federal Reserve had socked away inside cinderblock bunkers built to keep an accessible, safe stash of funds in case of nuclear attack. Now what's buried here, however, is cultural rather than financial: The bunkers are a repository containing nearly 100 miles of shelves stacked with some 6 million items: reels of film; kinescopes; videotape and screenplays; magnetic audiotape; wax cylinders; shellac, metal and vinyl discs; wire recordings; paper piano rolls; photographs; manuscripts; and other materials. In short, a century's worth of the nation's musical and cinematic legacy.


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