About This Session
Jeremy Berg, University of North Texas
Classified Information For All: Etree, the Internet, and the Folksonomies of Live Music Recordings
Unofficial concert recordings have been made since the dawn of portable recording devices, and the collection and trading of those recordings constitutes a bustling subculture and, for some artists, a key element of their enduring legacy. Though they represent a grey legal area, these recordings are incredibly important pieces of history and art, and, for artists whose live prowess far outshines their studio output such as jam bands like The Grateful Dead or Phish, are a vital component to understanding why those artists matter.
However, finding a particular recording is no simple matter. Thousands of show recordings exist, frequently including multiple incarnations of individual dates, and new sources, transfers, and matrixes continue to surface or be created. This paper will examine the ways in which unofficial live recordings have been cataloged and classified over the years, culminating in a sea change with the switch from analogue tape to digital files and etree’s remarkably effective folksonomy and database. Bands like the Dead with huge fanbases have benefitted from a variety of folksonomies and reference works in the past, while smaller artists’ information was much more decentralized. The internet acted as a great democratizer, allowing all concert recordings a worldwide platform, with etree’s naming standard, or some variation thereof, as its lingua franca.
Dara Flinn, Rice University
Recital Preservation: before they fade away
The Rice University Shepherd School of Music was formally opened in 1975. Since that time thousands of performances by faculty and students have been recorded and collected in multiple formats, with accompanying programs and other documentation. Fondren Library, in collaboration with the Shepherd School, agreed to preserve a portion of this collection determined to be at risk material and make it accessible through the institutional repository. Using examples from the project, the presentation will share the issues in planning and executing this preservation project, challenges and best practices for digitizing audio materials and discuss plans for the future of the larger music recital collection.
Scott Carlson, Rice University
Grateful Data: Digital Humanities, Data Cleaning, and the Grateful Dead
As the Information Age continues to produce unfathomable amounts of knowledge, the ability to acquire, clean and synthesize publicly-available data is now a necessity for researchers of all disciplines, especially in digital humanities. Thankfully, practice data abounds for the field to learn data (and metadata) cleaning techniques. Such practice data, interestingly, involves the Grateful Dead, the archetypal American "jam band". Data and the Dead go hand-in-hand: both the band and the modern technology industry emerged from the Bay Area in the 1960s, and the two frequently tangled with each other. Later, in the mid-1990s, the internet revolutionized many aspects of Deadhead culture: concert-trading moved from cassette tapes to pristine, lossless audio, while setlists went from cassette labels and books to interactive databases, where a few simple commands could call up a host of career-spanning statistics. The result is a host of publicly-available data ripe for practice.
This paper will address the author's efforts to teach data cleaning techniques using publicly available data related to the Grateful Dead, including data from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the Internet Archive, and the Internet Movie Database. The paper will be accompanied with detailed notes and instructions available on GitHub, along with sample datasets.
Amanda Alexander, University of Texas at Arlington
(Re)conceptualizing Research with Native Peruvian Artists in the Age of Digital Humanities
This presentation highlights an ongoing research project with a Native Peruvian artist who works to preserve and keep alive a traditional type of pottery called a huaco. The presentation first examines past, pre-Columbian civilizations of Perú to explore why huacos were important and for what purposes they were used. After glimpsing the past, the presentation then looks to the Peruvian artist who continues to make huacos and examines what his practices encompass. This artist’s traditional practices and eagerness to preserve his own cultural heritage has been documented through video, photo, and audio recordings; however, the researcher is working to (re)conceptualize the next phase of documentation in terms of digital humanities. Could the tools of digital humanities bring about a more exciting form of documentation and/or delivery platform of Peruvian culture and artwork? Ideas including 3D scanning and printing of artworks, 3D digital modeling, recreating art making processes and a Peruvian workshop through data points, and developing a website to display deliverables have been considered. A dialogue about next phases of research within a digital humanities framework is needed.