January 29, 2003
Library of Congress Makes a National Recording Registry

"...an evocative cultural snapshot of the nation over the last century, saluting equally the words of presidents and generals, the artistry of jazz and classical masters, and the raw energy of rock 'n' roll and hip-hop rebels," for preserving important recordings by Bob Dylan, fireside chats with Roosevelt, Billie Holiday and Martin Luther King. This repository includes some online recordings, and is similar to their other collections preserving films, maps, manuscripts, etc.

They also include directions for preserving your old sound recordings, which seems like a good idea, considering how many things are out of print yet still copyright protected, meaning that unless the LOC deems a work one of the few they can afford to preserve, you might turn out to be the archivist. The recordings -- 50 in the first batch -- join the 25 films per year added, many of which are under copyright protection, causing the LOC to face conflicting missions to preserve and make available important cultural works, while respecting the copyright protections of these works. "In the meantime, David Sanjek, a member of the preservation board representing Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), summed up the library's challenge in unearthing recordings this way: 'If a recording is made and you are not able to hear it, does it really exist?'"

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