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About Us

Mission

The Archives of Traditional Music preserves and disseminates the world’s music and oral traditions through the acquisition of cultural and historical materials of enduring value to advance the educational role of Indiana University and to serve international communities of scholars, patrons, and those whose cultural heritage is represented by its holdings.

The Archives of Traditional Music fosters the educational and cultural role of Indiana University through the preservation and dissemination of the world's music and oral traditions. The Archives seeks to fulfill its mission by developing appropriate acquisitions of audio and video recordings of the music and oral traditions from the state of Indiana, the United States, and the diverse cultures of the world, and by cataloging and preserving the collections for use by educators, researchers, and interested members of the public, including the people from whom the material was collected.

Librarian Suzanne Mudge assists patron Bruno Nettl with an archival searchThe Archives' collections and library contribute to the research and teaching activities of Indiana University, especially the Departments of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, Anthropology, Linguistics, the Jacobs School of Music, and the interdisciplinary area studies that are associated with them. The ATM also serves as a research, teaching, and training center for the IU Ethnomusicology Program primarily through the experiences that graduate students receive through the four assistantships and various hourly positions that are available each year.

The Archives of Traditional Music is a cultural institution that is open to the public. It has a responsibility to make its holdings and performances available to those whose cultural heritage is represented in the collections, as well as to individuals interested in developing an appreciation for the recorded artifacts.

Values

Our core values have developed in accordance with the professional standards of our field and our own beliefs about the critical functions of a sound archive. We have been serving the needs of researchers, students, and the general public since 1953 and have long been committed to providing as much access as possible while at the same time balancing cultural sensitivities and legal rights. Our collections and our clientele are truly international and our values are the bedrock upon which all of our work and relationships are built.

Integrity
We conduct our work and engage in relationships in ways that are trustworthy. We use integrity in both senses of the word. We will do work that is thorough, accurate, and of the highest quality according to current professional standards in library and archival work; and we conduct our relationships with patrons, depositors, and subjects in an ethical manner.

Sustainability
As stewards of valuable cultural artifacts, we work to assure the maintenance and continuity of these materials in perpetuity. Securing the future existence and availability of these artifacts guides everything we do in the present.

Community
We engage overlapping international and interdisciplinary communities of archivists, librarians, scholars, depositors, technologists, performers, and patrons to effectively preserve and provide access to our holdings. We place a special importance on communication and collaboration with the people and groups from whom the material was recorded.

Respect
We respect the cultural expressions of the people our collections document and the media upon which they are carried.

Service
We intrinsically support the work and heritage of others. We provide resources and education by making our holdings and expertise available to local, national, and international publics. We connect subjects, scholars, and patrons in a shared educational enterprise.