Documenting Recordings

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George List


It is the exception rather than the rule for an archive to receive a collection of recordings of folklore or folk music that is completely and thoroughly documented. Although field recordings unaccompanied by proper documentation are often almost worthless for scholarly study, archives continue to receive such collections. Of course, the necessity of developing and maintaining proper informant-collector relationships must take precedence, and the exigencies of the situation often preclude either properly identifying the items recorded, or recording the documentation directly upon the tape itself. However, the collector will usually find it possible to fill in the information needed in later interviews. This can then be transferred to tape at the collector's leisure or preserved in the form of written notes.

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