Collection Development Policy - Bill Schurk Sound Archives

May 5, 1995, REVISED January 21, 2014

This policy is arranged by genres and prioritized by the collection’s commitment to the University and faculty needs through the support for all academic disciplines and non-academic activities. Priorities also relate to collections that exist in other institutions and their accessibility to scholars and their needs.

First priorities represent comprehensive collection building activity related directly to those genres treated in University courses. In most instances BGSU is already the most comprehensive or the only existing academic collection of certain genres, such as disco, comedy, and kiddie.

Second priorities represent those genres that relate to courses and research at BGSU but only on a lower request level. In some instances other institutional collections already exist with similar holdings. For this priority BGSU does not seek comprehensiveness but still collects recordings by major artists, key performances, and important compositions (songs, etc.). In some instances BGSU still has greater holdings than other institutions in certain genres, however the recorded output of these genres is much too formidable to collect comprehensively.  There is still an emphasis placed on roots music and precursors to modern pop genres.

Third priorities represent genres that relate only tangentially to those of the first two priorities and do not require anything but very selective representation of recordings. Many times key artists or titles cannot be identified so only a sample of such genres is collected.

Fourth priorities include light representation and sampled examples of musical genres that play small roles in the major musical picture yet still deserve mention in the grand scheme of historicity.

Exclusions represent that materials that are not included in or added to the collection under any circumstances. Usually another agency at the University or a different archive assumes such services or collection supervision. Or, in some instances the method for carrying the sound is impractical for the library to assume or does not serve the subject needs of those genres identifies as high priority.

Subject and content considerations represent the primary decision point with format considerations taking the secondary role.

I. Recordings Priority by Subject

A. First Priority

1. Popular music (English language)
2. Rhythm and blues, soul, black urban contemporary, rap
3. Blues
4. Musicals, film music, television music

B. Second Priority

1. Popular music (non-English language)
2. Rock music
3. Country, bluegrass, western swing
4. Vaudeville, burlesque, comedy, wit and humor
5. Folk music (Anglo-American, Afro-American, and other forms existing in the U.S. that are influenced by foreign cultures)
6. Documentaries, interviews, success testimonials, and instruction
7. Spoken literature/English language (poetry, prose, drama)
8. Dance-orchestra, big band, disco
9. Kiddie (ie: mass media created stories and characterizations, presented by personalities in the popular genre)

C. Third Priority

1. Jazz (styles that predominate in the popular medium, i.e.; Dixieland, jazz vocals, and pre 1950s traditional)
2. Cajun, zydeco, calypso, reggae
3. Latino, Hispanic-American, Tex-Mex
4. Sermons

D. Fourth Priority

1. Sounds and sound effects
2. Electronic and chance
3. Radio shows (plays, disc jockey, etc.)
4. Popular dance forms (polkas, square dances, etc.)
5. Commercial advertising jingles, presentations, etc.

E. Exclusions

1. Classical and art music (except for 78-rpm singles and “milestone” albums)
2. K thru 12 educational material
3. Language instruction
4. Formal church music
5. Non-pop musical forms (waltzes, marches, etc.)
6. DVD recordings of non-musical material

II. Recordings Priority by Format

A. First Priority

1. 78-rpm disc (1896-ca. 1958); this speed was the primary sound carrier for popular single recordings up to about 1954, tapering off in the United States until its demise about 1958 and other countries a few years later.
2. 45-rpm disc (7-inch) (1949-to date); this speed was the primary sound carrier for popular single sound recordings from 1949 to the late 1980s but is still in production in limited numbers. 45-rpm (12-inch) (1970s thru the 1990s) were issued chiefly for the disco and rock trade.
3. 33 1/3-rpm disc (1948-to date); this speed was the primary sound carrier for full length recordings from 1948 to the mid-1980s but are still being produced in limited numbers to this day. In some instances the LP can be the exclusive issue with no CD counterpart, and selective new LP purchases are made.
4. Compact disc recordings (early 1980s to date); this format was the secondary format up to the late 1980s but then became the primary format over the LP format by the 1990s.

B. Second Priority

1. Compact disc reissues of LPs with substantial additional content

C. Third Priority

1. VHS video cassettes of music that have not been reissued in DVD format
2. Electrical transcription or instantaneous disc recordings
3. Open reel, quarter-inch, audio tapes
4. Audio cassette recordings that represent material that was issued exclusively in that format, bypassing the LP or CD completely
5. 16 2/3 rpm disc

D. Exclusions

1. 8-track tape (artifact only)
2. Wire (artifact only)
3. Beta format video cassettes
4. Open-reel commercially released audio tapes
5. Piano rolls
6. Cylinder recordings

III. Print Material and Ephemera by Priority

A. First Priority

1. Major and specialized periodical titles about recordings, the record trade, and popular music forms.
2. Books on popular music, the record trade (critical monographs, discographies, biographies, historical discourses), and record cover art.
3. Promotional photographs, biographical clippings, pictures, etc. on individual pop performers and groups.
4. Record company and dealer catalogs, lists, and brochures.
5. LP inner sleeves and 45 and 78-rpm record outer sleeves (one example of each design change).
6. Popular sheet music and song books.

B. Second Priority

1. Examples of record packaging and storage (storage folders, carrying cases, and racks).
2. Posters.

C. Third Priority

1. Record promotion items (in-store stand-ups, ceiling-hanging displays, three-dimensional gimmicks, etc.).

D. Exclusions

1. Dance orchestra arrangements with parts.
2. Compact disc long boxes.
3. Record release notices

APPENDIX: Selected List of Institutional Sound Archives in the United States

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives
Manuscripts and papers, periodicals, sound recordings, images, video, and more, mostly relating to rock and roll and its roots

Marr Sound Archives:  University of Missouri: Kansas City
Recordings, dating from 1890s up to the 1980s, specializing in historic voices, American popular music, jazz, blues, and country, vintage radio programs, authors reading their own works, and historical classical and operatic recordings.

Center for Popular Music: Middle Tennessee State University
Recordings, songbooks, and literature promoting the study of American vernacular music

Southern Folklife Center: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Archival resource for the study of American folk music and popular culture, especially from the southern musical and oral traditions

Whit Ozier Sound Archive:  University of North Texas
78 archive with approximately 130,000 items; also includes original playback equipment.  Related material also includes personal papers, scripts of radio programs, printed songs, and photographs.

Institute of Jazz Studies:  Rutger University
Jazz archive with over 100,000 commercial and non-commercial sound recordings, personal papers as well as archives of record companies and jazz-related institutions and organizations spanning from 1920 to the present.  Additional materials include photographs, oral histories, books, periodicals, and research files.

Blues Archive:  University of Mississippi
The Blues Archive houses one of the largest collections of blues recordings, publications, and memorabilia in the world; over 50,000 sound recordings, in most audio formats; over 15,000 photographs; more than 350 videotapes; over 3,000 books, periodicals and newsletters; and numerous manuscripts and ephemera

Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound: the New York Public Library
Recordings of all genres, but having strengths in classical music forms.  Includes virtually all forms of recorded medium.

William Ransom Hogan Archive of New Orleans Jazz; Tulane University
Resource for New Orleans jazz research, including oral histories, recorded music, photographs, film, sheet music, and orchestrations

Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive: Syracuse University
Formats from the earliest experimental recordings on tinfoil to modern digital material; also specialize in preservation, digitization, and restoration of deteriorating recordings.

Historical Sound Recordings/American Musical Theatre Collections: Yale University
Music scores, sound recordings, and music research materials, reflecting the centrality of musical performance and scholarship throughout history.  It includes scores and parts, books, LP recordings and compact discs (25,000), microfilmed music and manuscripts, photographs, and archival materials.

Archives of African American Music and Culture:  Indiana University
A collection of primary and secondary materials on African-American music and culture.

University of California, Santa Barbara
Specialization in cylinder recordings

Archive of Recorded Sound: Stanford University
Recordings, scores, sheet music, and personal papers of musicians, many local

Archives of Traditional Music: Indiana University
Holdings in a wide range of cultural and geographical areas, including both commercial and field recordings of vocal and instrumental music, folktales, interviews, and oral history, as well as videotapes, photographs, and manuscripts.

The Great American Songbook Foundation
Materials related to popular music from 1910-1960s

Updated: 06/05/2023 09:39AM