Association for Recorded Sound Collections returns to roots with Bloomington conference

When the Association for Recorded Sound Collections held its first conference in Bloomington back in 1967, audiocassettes were new technology.

The association is now celebrating its 50th anniversary at a conference that began May 11 here at Indiana University.

While media formats have changed over the years, the nonprofit organization has the same mission: It is dedicated to the preservation and study of sound recordings, in all genres of music and speech, in all formats and from all periods.


Patrick Feaster is an expert in early sound media and media preservation specialist for IU’s Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative.

If these aims sound similar to Indiana University’s commitment to media preservation, it should be no surprise that more than 30 IU students, faculty members and staff are participating in the conference.

IU’s Patrick Feaster, media preservation specialist for the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative, serves as president of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections. Brenda Nelson-Strauss, head of collections/technical services at the Archives of African American Music and Culture, is the conference manager and a past president.

The conference, with the theme of “Recorded Sound in the 21st Century: Preserving, Collecting, Collaborating and Connecting,” is bringing together sound recording archivists, record collectors and other experts in recorded sound history and technology for a series of talks, tours, demonstrations, workshops and other activities through May 14.

While most programs are limited to conference registrants, the general public is invited to attend these evening programs, which will be held in the Walnut Room of the Indiana Memorial Union:

  • 8:30-10 p.m. May 12, Ask The Technical Committee” — Attendees can pose questions about audio preservation and restoration to a panel of experts led by Mark Hood, an associate professor in the Department of Recording Arts at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and Dennis D. Rooney, a producer of reissues for Sony Classical. This session is geared towards those who already possess a moderate degree of technical knowledge.
  • 9:30-11 p.m. May 13, Collectors’ Roundtable” — This annual informal social event for record collectors is chaired by Kurt Nauck of Nauck’s Vintage Records in Spring, Texas. The gathering typically draws collectors from around the country. Attendees are invited to bring a few records they would like to sell or trade and a record or two for “show and tell.”

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