Monday, February 17, 2014

"Machines should do the work ..."

"... People should do the thinking."

That proclamation helped make the case for 1967's IBM MT/ST, an early word processing unit heralded in "The Paperwork Explosion," which appears on the Raymond Scott electronica collection, Manhattan Research Inc.

Scott loved technology and embraced most such advances. He might be surprised, yet delighted to know that his collected recorded legacy stored at UMKC's Marr Sound Archive is about to be gobbled up by a giant robot.

Chuck Haddix, director of the Marr Sound Archives, which houses the
Raymond Scott disc & tape collection. Photo courtesy Kansas City Star.

As reported in the Kansas City Star:
Chuck Haddix strolled up and down the aisles between the towering stacks of recordings stored at the Marr Sound Archives, in the ground floor of Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Being surrounded by the treasure-filled shelves — rows and rows of radio broadcasts and music recordings on vinyl, shellac, acetate, metal and glass — seemed to flip a switch in Haddix, and he couldn’t stop talking about the sound locked in the grooves of the preserved discs. 
“During World War II when aluminum was scarce, record discs were made of glass,” Haddix, the archives’ director, said. Aluminum, then later glass, formed the interior of records covered with cellulose nitrate, sometimes known as lacquer, which was grooved with the recording. 
Because glass discs were easily broken, the ones tucked carefully into acid-free jackets on the Marr archives’ shelves are rare. 
But in a few more years, this scene won’t exist. The thousands of discs — one of the largest archived collections of recorded sound in the country — are being relocated to the library’s third floor, where they will be housed in the university’s gargantuan, robotic storage unit.
Here's a short (6 minutes) documentary about the Marr Sound Archives, One Room, 317,000 Records, by Jordan Kerfeld.

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