There is another element within this issue which is often overlooked;
that is donations of original literature to institutions. In my role
as Editor of the AMICA Bulletin, I'm always on the lookout for original
literature, such as promotional literature, owner's manuals, service
manuals, trade journals, etc., to scan them for an on-line library.
In every case I've encountered where original literature has been
donated to an institution, it becomes effectively inaccessible by
any means other than a personal visit to the institution, then fill
out a request form for photocopies of specific items, then return in
a week's time to pick them up. At pickup, such B&W photocopies are
typically priced at 25 cents each. If computer scans are requested,
the typical fee is often about $10.00 per page.
Furthermore, some institutions require that a statutory declaration
be signed that the copies are for personal use, and are not be used for
publication of any kind, including the Internet. In every case, access
remotely, perhaps through inter-library loan, has been refused, even
though I offered to share with them a digitized copy at no cost.
It often gets awkward when I find myself speaking with an executor
or family member about collection disposal by advertising in the AMICA
Bulletin. In that conversation, I often learn that the items of
original literature collected over many years in addition to their main
instrument affection, has already been disposed of, often by BlueBox
recycling, as lost forever. It seems that "all that old paper" is all
too often seen to have no value.
I see no harm in donating original literature to institutions as they
excel at caring for and protecting all that olde paper. But donate
it only after it has first been offered on loan to associations such
as AMICA, MBSI, COAA, PPG, NWPPA, MBSGB, GSM, etc. The objective is to
make it possible for open access to all this published heritage, taking
advantage of the magic and power of the internet. Something to think
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada - currently still in Britain following
the annual AMICA Convention, this year held in the UK.