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Depositing Recordings with the Archives

Cassette tape collection from Liberia

Depositing field recordings

The Archives receives collections of audio and visual field recordings through deposits from ethnomusicologists, anthropologists, folklorists, linguists, and others whose research has resulted in significant knowledge of a subject area. The Archives accepts for deposit well-documented, original ethnographic field recordings from all world cultures on a variety of formats, and offers the collector digital files or CDs in return for the deposit.

Thorough documentation of the contents of a collection is an important criterion for selection and acceptance of collections. Depositors are asked to describe the contents of each recording in a format of their choosing and to summarize the contents of an entire collection using the Archives' collection summary form.  The deposit of original field notes is strongly encouraged, and additional materials related to the recordings, such as photographs or manuscripts, are welcome complements to collections.  Depositors of recordings sign contracts with the Archives that offer a choice of options for access to the collection. Potential depositors are invited to review our accession policy, and to contact the Archives with any questions.

Depositing Commercial Recordings

Victor Records sleeveArchives' holdings have been greatly enhanced by gifts of commercial recordings from private collectors.  Because of the possibility of duplicating records already in the collection, potential donors are asked to send inventories of their recordings that include record company names and numbers.

Donations to the Archives may be tax deductible. Although the Archives is not permitted to appraise gifts it receives, the staff can provide a list of professional appraisal groups who may be consulted.  An appraisal is necessary if the collection is to be evaluated for your own tax purposes.