Making the Archive and Archiving the Making: Insights and outcomes from a major research project

Simon Waters

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper seeks to address some of the problems faced by those archiving an area of musical practice – electroacoustic music and the sonic arts – which is, by definition, involved with technologies which change and develop, and which unsurprisingly is itself in a state of flux and transformation. Drawing on the experience gained from two linked research projects – one looking at the development of the practice, the other seeking to archive it – it is suggested that the two apparently disparate areas of activity can be fruitfully regarded as overlapping in many respects. Both activities involve selection and aesthetic judgement, both strive for an elusive ‘completeness’ while acknowledging its impossibility, and at a technical level the strategies now emerging for searching and collating information from ‘separate’ archives look increasingly like the strategies used in some areas of ‘real-time’ composition and performance practice. It is argued that archivists of material from such a disparate and rapidly developing practice, rather than aiming for spurious ‘coverage’ of the field, should acknowledge and celebrate their difference from each other, while conforming to simple principles which will allow their archived content to be searched and collated dynamically by individual users, each querying and configuring the material optimally for their own purposes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)143-147
    Number of pages5
    JournalOrganised Sound
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006

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