CBC to destroy record collection

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Spiny Norman

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CBC to destroy record collection

PostSat Feb 24, 2018 6:20 pm

http://www.rcinet.ca/en/2018/02/23/publ ... -destroyed

By the way who knows if there are no vitaphone records there too...

Public broadcaster music library closing, CD’s to be digitised, destroyed

By Marc Montgomery | [email protected]
Friday 23 February, 2018

Canada’s public broadcaster CBC (English) and Radio-Canada (French) is going through massive changes.

The sprawling headquarters of the Radio-Canada network in Montreal have been sold, and the organisation will move to new and much smaller rented quarters being built on one of the former parking lots. PHOTO- google street

With huge funding cuts from the government and increasing costs, this has meant equally massive staff and production cuts. Rapidly developing technological developments are also driving the changes.The broadcaster, with its stations across the country has, over the decades, amassed a vast collection of recorded music and other artefacts.

Shortly after his death in 1997, the collection of legendary CBC broadcaster Clyde Gilmour was donated to the CBC . It consisted of more than 10,000 long-play records, 4,000 CDs, programme scripts, notes, correspondence, files, tapes and reference materials. This was added to the already extensive and often historic collections at the public broadcaster PHOTO-CBC

In 2012, and subsequent to a massive budget cut, the CBC began a policy of digitizing its collection to save space and storage costs, even as a move began to sell off buildings and move into smaller quarters.

Digitized and destroyed

The main French-language production centre of Radio-Canada in Montreal has also been digitising its collection. However recently it was revealed that most of the collection of over 200,000 CDs will be destroyed when the process is completed in 2019, prior to the move to new quarters in 2020.

Radio-Canada will keep the recordings that it produced. PHOTO- Pascale Poirier

The collection consists of some 151,000 CDs, and 56,000 “doubles”. The huge headquarters building of the French broadcasting network has been sold and the remaining entity is to be moved to a new smaller rented building being built on the former property.

The Montreal headquarters has a vast collection of music books and scores, some very old, and many very rare

An executive with the project said, there will be no room in the new building for storage of the library.

In addition to the almost 200,000 CD’s, the library houses thousands of LP’s, some now relatively rare.

She added the doubles will first be open to offers from cultural or educational organisations. Certain special compilations however will be preserved as will some of CBC/Radio-Canada’s self-produced recordings.

The executive also noted in a Radio-Canada story that they can’t give away the rest of the discs without first verifying the copyright situation, adding that doing that for the whole collection would be a far too expensive and time-consuming task. Another option of putting the collection in storage would also be too expensive.

In addition to the racks of LPs, the library also holds thousands of old and rare 78s

The solution apparently is to destroy the CD’s, along with the disc covers and liner notes. Producers have said that liner notes can provide useful information for programmers and hosts, and that much of that will be lost without the hard copies.
Some people aware of the situation have said that as the broadcaster eliminates its “hard copy” libraries, many rare items are likely to be lost forever.

The Montreal library also houses about 200,000 vinyl LP records. Many of these are now quite rare. Even more rare are the approximately 70,000 old 78rpm discs. Few of these were ever re-recorded on LP, and almost none of these exist on CD.

While very few of the 78’s would ever have been transferred to LP, let alone CD, many of these old 78’s are in French, making them even rarer

In addition the library houses a multitude of rare and extremely rare musical scores and books
It is not known at the point of this writing what will happen to the vinyls, or the vast collection of music books and scores, but it was revealed that there is pressure to move quickly on the closure of the physical library and collection. Staff said they themselves did not know what would happen to these items, although it is possible they may end up in some cultural museum context. In a memo dated December 12,2017, Radio-Canada said it was consulting with Library and Archives Canada about the thousands of manuscripts and books.

Other artefacts include music scores, again some dating back decades, and which could be considered heritage and historical items

Artists in Quebec are saying the news of the digitisation and eventual destruction of the CD collection is sad. One of Quebec’s iconic and much loved music stars, Michel Rivard is quoted in the Radio-Canada article saying, “it’s very bad news”.

additional information-sources

Radio-Canada: L-P Ouimet: Feb 21/18- numerisé et destruction (Fr)
Globe and Mail: G Dixon: Mar 26/17: Quiet dismantling record libraries
Vancouver Sun: J Mackie: Jun 1/12: CBC Vancouver collection sold
Archives- CBC/Radio-Canada
CBC Calgary: Jan 26/12 record library close
Le Devoir: C Montpetit: Feb 23/18: CDs seront detruites
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Brooksie

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Re: CBC to destroy record collection

PostSat Feb 24, 2018 6:51 pm

A similar thing has just happened at Australia's public broadcaster, the ABC. An extremely short-sighted gesture. Things are going to get worse before they get better, especially when these organisations are being cut to the quick. 22,000 books are being disposed of as part of the same cull.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/jan/30/abc-dismantles-sound-libraries-and-axes-staff-to-improve-budget

ABC dismantles sound libraries and axes staff to improve budget
Libraries ‘culled’ in favour of single space in Melbourne and 10 staff made redundant


Amanda Meade
Tue 30 Jan 2018 09.55 AEDT Last modified on Tue 30 Jan 2018 15.41 AEDT

The ABC is dismantling its historic sound and reference libraries across the country and making 10 specialist librarians redundant to free up floor space and save on wages.

Radio National, Classic FM, JJJ and all the other ABC programs rely on the Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and Hobart libraries, which are packed full of CDs and vinyl as well as books and journals after 85 years of collecting.

The librarians know the collection intimately and suggest music for documentaries and other programs.

The libraries will be “culled and packed” to reduce duplication and to “align with production requirements”, according to the staff announcement.

A single “consolidated” library will survive in Melbourne with a skeleton staff who will digitise a fraction of the collection. A small classical music collection will remain in Sydney for Classic FM.

Last year all but one of Radio National’s music programs were decommissioned and eight specialist broadcasters were made redundant, turning RN into a talk-only station.

Staff fear the downgrading of music will affect the quality of Radio National and reflect the watering down of specialist content across the ABC in recent years.

Library sources say they believe only between 5% and10 % of the collection will be digitised into the Broadcast Music Bank and only 700 of the more than 100,000 CDs have been digitised so far. They fear the reduction in choice and expertise will “homogenise” the music heard on the national broadcaster.

Staff were told that the 373,000 vinyl records “will be dealt with following the transfer of CDs”. No changes have been announced for the ABC’s archives of film and tape.

The future of a specialist world music collection in Perth looks bleak. “Given the size of the current world music collection in Perth, and that its use is now minimal, this part of the collection will be subject to further analysis, along with the vinyl holdings, to determine the future of these CDs,” management said.

The memo said: “Sydney will be the priority to free up floor space followed by the other states and territories with the CD work completed by May 2018.”

The musician and former ABC broadcaster Lucky Oceans, whose 25-year-old show The Daily Planet was axed last year, said he was shocked by the speed at which the libraries were being dismantled.

“The theory behind it is that people aren’t using hard copies and that it’s all digitised,” Oceans told Guardian Australia. “But you know it’s those same people who were saying that vinyl is dead. It’s short-sighted in that way. You walk into a library and you look through the racks and you find a programming idea. And I don’t think it’s good enough that it will only be in Melbourne.

“The Perth library was very lucky because when they sold their vinyl collection they found a buyer but I would say that that is less likely for the CDs, which aren’t in favour at the moment.”

Oceans said while digitisation was inevitable, the ABC should retain the librarians “who are such an integral part of the ABC going back when the ABC produced so much more music”.

One former sound librarian said the extensive collections in Adelaide and Sydney would all but disappear, along with all the skill and knowledge of the library staff.

“This is yet another ‘death by a thousand cuts’ inflicted on all music resources in the ABC,” he said.

Staff were told the changes were to “better align our operations with the ABC’s strategic aims”.

“With digital technology now available, we can move our sound and reference libraries from operations based on multiple physical collections of information and music, to more efficient digital services which can be accessed by content makers anytime, anywhere,” a staff email said.

A spokeswoman for the ABC told Guardian Australia the number of CDs to be digitised would be determined by “the needs of the content makers”.

“Under this proposal the sound library collection would be centralised in Melbourne and librarians there would continue to provide expert knowledge to assist content makers around the country,” she said. “With the closure of the other physical libraries, the roles there would not be required.

“The new digital Broadcast Music Bank service has only been operating since late 2017 and CDs have been digitised into it as requested by content makers.

“The reference library services are currently based in Sydney and Melbourne, and book loans have reduced dramatically. We are not planning to digitise the books. Under the proposed changes we would move to a digital delivery model using e-resources, such as journals, e-books and databases.”

The section secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union, Sinddy Ealy, said the plan was irresponsible.

“The ABCs decision to sack specialist staff supporting journalists and program makers before the ABC has even bedded down the new content restructure is irresponsible – not only will it undermine the editorial quality of ABC content audiences rely on, but it is likely cost the ABC and taxpayers more money than it saves.”
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Re: CBC to destroy record collection

PostSun Feb 25, 2018 3:12 am

Don't you know that the 5% or whatever that will be digitized will be that which is likely to be least relevant in future, is already duplicated elsewhere, and the really unusual will vanish.

Reminds me of the newspaper archive microfilm project that dumped the bound library volumes after microfilming. Good luck trying to read the microfilm of the text where the page was bound into the spine, sometimes you can guess the word(s) but if numbers.....
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Re: CBC to destroy record collection

PostSun Feb 25, 2018 3:49 am

I had to find an address confirmation on a family home in Melbourne(I had actually found the original home that was still there but so much had changed so I needed to see a directory and confirm the number I saw) so I went to the State Library where they had microfiche of a well known Sands & McDougall name and street directories. I was directed to the small cardboard wallets that had these films and shown a reader. I had never used microfiche before. I was driven insane looking for the suburb and street but I finally did and the house I had seen was the former family home as the name match the number I saw.

The ABC TV wiped a lot of 1970s videotape in a false economy drive and kept a few only of some series such as the 1970s soap Certain Women that I enjoyed and was screened once a week with a repeat that week. No VHS i those days. Other film ended up in other hands and was said some was destroyed when an actor's daughter saw her dad in some at school and asked him if he got his royalties The guy who had the films got scared, they said, and destroyed what he had. I found some 16mm magnetic striped early ABC musical series in a collection being liquidated as the owner, a friend, had died. The archives did not have them in Canberra but they do now because they were only copies and in good order visually and aurally. The ABC often got rid of their reel to reel classical music radio series and i knew people who got them to tape over. All sounds very much like the BBC in both radio and TV and there 1970s TV suffered greatly with tape wipings and film destruction for reasons of supposed space and fire hazards. They regret it now as does the surviving artists in many sketch comedy shows wiped. They started using more 16mm color film after that time.
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Re: CBC to destroy record collection

PostSun Feb 25, 2018 4:50 am

It seems that there are two problems. One is that a lot of people are short-sighted when it comes to "old stuff" and the second is that there is never enough money to adequately archive all the material.

In Oz, every time I walk down William Street, King's Cross, Sydney I can't help thinking that the road was made of fill coming from ABC acetates and probably other priceless material which was part of the national heritage. This happened in the 1960's, but one would have though that since then, we have become a little wiser. Apparently not.

Most of the 78's in my gramophone record collection come from commercial broadcasting stations. Naturally, they didn't want to hold on to any "old stuff". Once one product is superseded, out it goes.

It all makes one despair at times.
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she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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Re: CBC to destroy record collection

PostSun Feb 25, 2018 10:32 am

When institutions speak in terms like “culled and packed,” “consolidated,” “decommissioned,” and “align operations to strategic aim” they think they're actually fooling anybody.
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Re: CBC to destroy record collection

PostSun Feb 25, 2018 1:37 pm

The more things change, the more they stay the same. I seem to recall certain movie studios deciding to destroy thousands of reels of "useless" and "duplicate" (except they weren't!) old movies...

Clyde Gilmour was not only the master of classical music at the CBC, he was also one of the best movie reviewers (not "critics" in his case) ever in Canada. He wrote for the old Toronto Telegram. Although I was young in his heyday, I could trust his opinion about any movie. It was a long, long time before I could trust any other reviewer (Peter Howell of the Toronto Star).

Jim
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Re: CBC to destroy record collection

PostSun Feb 25, 2018 5:50 pm

It's a real pity the owners [aka the lawyers] of these collections insist on destroying them instead of the old 'leave 'em in the dumpster and spread the word' technique. Still, I suppose they "have to" but, boy oh boy, it would be nice if they'd let them's what could arrange for storage arrange for storage.

It seems we're doomed to keep repeating the "We should have saved that..." cycles, ad nauseam.
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Re: CBC to destroy record collection

PostMon Feb 26, 2018 6:46 am

oldposterho wrote:It's a real pity the owners [aka the lawyers] of these collections insist on destroying them instead of the old 'leave 'em in the dumpster and spread the word' technique. Still, I suppose they "have to" but, boy oh boy, it would be nice if they'd let them's what could arrange for storage arrange for storage.

It seems we're doomed to keep repeating the "We should have saved that..." cycles, ad nauseam.


Say, while we're on this topic, where's your Commodore 64?

Jim
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Re: CBC to destroy record collection

PostMon Feb 26, 2018 9:02 am

I gave it to someone who wanted it.
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Re: CBC to destroy record collection

PostMon Feb 26, 2018 12:07 pm

Jim Roots wrote:
oldposterho wrote:It's a real pity the owners [aka the lawyers] of these collections insist on destroying them instead of the old 'leave 'em in the dumpster and spread the word' technique. Still, I suppose they "have to" but, boy oh boy, it would be nice if they'd let them's what could arrange for storage arrange for storage.

It seems we're doomed to keep repeating the "We should have saved that..." cycles, ad nauseam.


Say, while we're on this topic, where's your Commodore 64?

Jim


I still own the one I received for Christmas in 1986, and I still enjoy many of the games I play on it more than anything else I've since played on newer systems. Perhaps it's the same reason I like silent film and Poverty Row films, but I've often found more interest in things made under limitations than things with enough funding and resources to be shiny but mediocre.

The photos accompanying the article Spiny Norman posted are worth looking at. They're extremely depressing.
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Re: CBC to destroy record collection

PostMon Feb 26, 2018 12:58 pm

Brooksie wrote:
Jim Roots wrote:
oldposterho wrote:It's a real pity the owners [aka the lawyers] of these collections insist on destroying them instead of the old 'leave 'em in the dumpster and spread the word' technique. Still, I suppose they "have to" but, boy oh boy, it would be nice if they'd let them's what could arrange for storage arrange for storage.

It seems we're doomed to keep repeating the "We should have saved that..." cycles, ad nauseam.


Say, while we're on this topic, where's your Commodore 64?

Jim


I still own the one I received for Christmas in 1986, and I still enjoy many of the games I play on it more than anything else I've since played on newer systems. ....


Not a joke. I just returned from a workshop on software preservation and have been working with folks in this area for several years. This stuff is extremely endangered. And remember that many games are now not distributed on physical media at all. Many virtual worlds and MMOGs have disappeared already.

So who is going to step up and preserve Cuphead?

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Re: CBC to destroy record collection

PostMon Feb 26, 2018 1:03 pm

I've never heard of Cuphead (is that the son of Archie Comics' Jughead?) but I still have a Beta VCR and an IBM PC that only runs 5 1/2" diskettes (as we called 'em back then) on a two-colour monitor (one of which colours is, inevitably, Henry Ford-style black). Also a 1967 portable stereo record-player!

Jim,
a 21st-century kind of guy.
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Brooksie

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Re: CBC to destroy record collection

PostMon Feb 26, 2018 4:59 pm

Jim Roots wrote:I've never heard of Cuphead (is that the son of Archie Comics' Jughead?)


More on Cuphead in this thread - http://www.nitrateville.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=24961.

I'm glad to hear of your work in this area, Greta - I briefly worked in the computer gaming industry (on a MMOG, as a matter of fact, which never ended up being released), and even then I wondered what would become of all these voluminous design documents and never-used concepts, much less the games themselves.
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Re: CBC to destroy record collection

PostTue Feb 27, 2018 12:37 am

A new corporate regime takes over the government and, poof, archives vanish, institutional history falls by the wayside and our connection to the past is severed. I have a Blu-ray of the 1941 Technicolor movie "The Black Swan". 20th Century Fox produced that movie. In the 1970s, Fox studio functionaries made copies of their remaining Technicolor negatives to safety film and tossed the originals into a dumpster. So they say. The problem is that for all the money Fox spent to restore this pirate picture, it still doesn't look that good. Black Swan Director of Photography Leon Shamroy won an Academy Award for his color cinematography. There are limits what digital technology can do as well as its longevity. The cost of preserving the cultural history stored on records, CDs, paper records and in the minds of laid off workers is minimal compared to the cost of one F-35A fighter jet, about $150 million. As Canadian PM Trudeau goes prancing around India in native garb and Aussie PM Turnbull pushes to vaccinate every Aussie against everything (except ripoffs by the Big Pharma firms linked to Goldman Sachs), the culture of the past gets binned.
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Re: CBC to destroy record collection

PostWed Mar 14, 2018 3:02 pm

Yet another archive bites the dust.

This kind of cultural destruction is not a new development.

MGM's incineration of its fabled music library in 1970 (a 6 storey art-deco building in which it was kept was razed to the ground as well) still breaks hearts when it is remembered.

Warner Brothers having donated its paper archive to USC and its legal files to Princeton, then inexplicably decided to destroy its entire sound library in 1977.

As a result every optical negative, separate music, dialog and effects track and thousands of unique out-takes were all consigned to landfill.

It is not only film studios that do this.

Here in London, the BBC junked most of its legendary gramophone library in the early 1980s (this was at one time the biggest record library in the world). It included 800,000 78rpm discs (many irreplaceable) and the accountants decided it all had to go when the building in which it was housed (Egton House) was demolished to make way for new developments. Apparently there were rows of skips all the way down Langham Place piled with records!

And of course, after it's done and everything is lost - people wring their hands and say "If only we'd saved it all..."

CBC will rue the day....
"Korngold has so much talent he could give half away and still have enough left for himself..." Giacomo Puccini (1921)
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Re: CBC to destroy record collection

PostWed Mar 14, 2018 3:47 pm

"A previous administration was shortsighted."

Bob
If no one listens, then it’s just as well. At least I won’t get caught in any lies I tell.
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Re: CBC to destroy record collection

PostThu Mar 15, 2018 8:34 am

It could have been like the company that took over the ownership of the original Hewlett-Packard archives. they had them stored in an outbuilding outside Sonoma, and it burned down during the fires last fall.
https://www.sfgate.com/business/article ... 318337.php

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