The Archives of Traditional Music has been an institution serving researchers and members of subject communities and families since it was established by Indiana University in 1953. As we enter our seventh decade we can look back with pride on all of the individuals we have served and how we have participated in the maturation of the field of sound and audiovisual archiving. Our challenges remain just as significant as when George List first worked to find an alternative to storing George Herzog's wax cylinders next to the steam pipes of an old WWII quonset barracks on campus. Just as List worked to secure long-term preservation and access for a growing collection of ethnographic materials, today’s ATM staff works to ensure that the materials under our stewardship are still available to future generations.
The ATM has thrived by not only adapting to the ever-changing landscape of recording formats and methods of access, but by being a leader in the field of sound and audiovisual archiving. We were among the first archives to use MARC records for ethnographic field collections, making them discoverable not only through the IU Library catalog, but through WorldCat. With its partner the Loeb Music Library at Harvard, the ATM was one of the first research archives to systematically apply emerging standards in digital audio preservation to its holdings. The freely available document on best practices that was produced as part of this process is freely available and in use by other institutions around the world. Today, the ATM is a key partner in the IU Bloomington Media Preservation Initiative which has produced the first university media preservation plan in the United States.
In addition to our leadership in the area of audio preservation, the Archives of Traditional Music has trained several generations of ethnomusicologists in the practice of ethnographic archiving. Whether or not their careers involve archiving, the students and faculty who work with the Archives learn important lessons about field collection documentation from their work with the collections of other scholars in their field. The ATM has also served generations of patrons around the world and has supported academic and non-academic research of all kinds.
By becoming a Friend of the Archives and making a donation to support the work we do, you enable us to continue to grow and serve as one of the most important archives of ethnographic sound and audiovisual materials in the United States. To become a Friend of the Archives, click the give now button below.