Monday, August 06, 2007

Preserving The Sound Of America

On last night's CBS Evening News, there was a story about preserving sound recordings through a unique effort of the recorded sound division at the Library of Congress. Each year, this division adds 25 American sound recordings to its National Recording Registry. Since its inception in 2000, the Registry now contains 225 unique sound recordings. Suggestions for recordings to be added come from the general public and then are narrowed down by committee, with 25 finally selected that meet the criteria. Criteria includes that the recording must be at least 10 years old and:
The recordings must be historically significant, signal a major change and meet the library's strict standards.
Recordings already on the Registry include:
  • "Stars and Stripes Forever" Military Band. Berliner Gramophone disc recording. (1897)
  • Booker T. Washington's 1895 Atlanta Exposition Speech. (1906 recreation)
  • "Casey at the Bat." DeWolf Hopper, reciting. (1906)
  • "Who's on First." Abbott and Costello's first radio broadcast version. (1938)
  • "War of the Worlds." Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater. (1938)
  • “Blue Suede Shoes.” Carl Perkins. (1955)
  • Graceland. Paul Simon. (1986)
While the web site lists all of the recordings in the Registry, none are available to listen to online (at least not through the Registry). Being added to the Registry is a call for these recordings to be preserved and for others like them to be preserved. Let's hope that they also become for accessible.

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