AES Historical Committee
Minutes of the Meeting at the 115th AES Convention, New York
2003 Oct 11, 10:00...12:00
Attending: Kevin Irelan, Geoffrey Wilson, Wesley Bulla, Louis
Manno, Michael Murphy, John Chester, Philip Esterhazy, R. David Reed,
Alex Kostelnik, Myles Davis, Ron Streicher (AES President), Irv Joel
(vice-chair), Jay McKnight (chair).
Chair Jay McKnight called the meeting to order.
1. Historical Committee (HC) Report to the AES
Board. On the back side of the agenda is the Historical Committee
Report to be submitted to the AES Executive Board at this
convention. It includes a list of activities for the past
year. Chair McKnight reviewed the report for those attending.
1.1 History of the Japan Section. The HC was
provided with a history of the AES Japan Section in 2000, along with
the request that it be translated and published. Two people have
agreed to undertake the translation, and translation of about
one-quarter of the document has been completed. Both the Japanese
and English versions will be loaded on the HC website.
1.2 AES Archive. A volunteer is needed in the
New York City area to help organize and catalog the materials in the
AES Archive. R. Furness, AES Executive Director has
responsibility for finding someone. If members know of someone
who is interested, please contact him.
1.3 Historical Exhibits at AES Conventions.
Documents from the 114th convention historical exhibits have been
placed on the AES HC website. Thanks to Alex Balster for his hard
work on those exhibits. Another fine exhibit is on display at
this New York convention.
1.4 Minutes on the AES HC Website. It was suggested at
the Amsterdam meeting of the HC that it made no sense to have minutes
of meetings approved at the following meeting, because attendance
is mostly by different people in Europe compared to North
America. Therefore, it was decided that minutes would be posted
on the HC website and suggestions for changes would be reported to the
HC reflector. This appears to be the most expeditious way to
handle this issue.
1.5 HC Email Reflector. The HC maintains an email
reflector. McKnight encourages all members to participate in the
discussions occurring thereon. Persons wanting to participate in
reflector discussions can go to the HC website to join.
1.6 HC Web site. The HC maintains a web site. Most of
the results of the Committee’s work appears there. This is an
important resource for members. This year the web site was moved
to the AES server.
1.7 The HC has a project to develop and publish a directory of
museums, libraries and other repositories of audio. A full report
follows later in this meeting.
1.8 The archive of the German audio heritage will find a home at
the Technical Museum of Berlin. The Tiele Archive and its catalog
will reside there.
1.9 The HC oral history project is ongoing. A report will follow later in this meeting.
1.10 The HC programs for this convention. The "Vinyl Goes
Digital" committee has done a fine job of locating one-of-a-kind
machines for display. These include one of the early Sound Stream
machines. Presenters will talk about using these same
machines. Irv Joel reviewed the successes of HC exhibits and
presentations at previous conventions.
2. Directory of Museums. M. Davis reported on
progress toward the compilation of the Directory. The official
purposes of the proposed directory are 1) to create a directory of
museums, libraries and archives and private collections that contain
historic audio equipment or documents pertaining to the history of
audio engineering, and 2) to cooperate with existing libraries,
archives and museums and with other professional organizations having
interests in these areas.
Davis raised a few questions that have emerged from early discussions and asked for comments from the HC.
Is there an intent or mandate to preserve technology through the aegis of the AES?
Is there a purpose to educate regarding the history of audio technology and audio engineering?
If these are the purposes, a review of links on the HC Web indicates
that there are only two museums in the world that qualify for inclusion
in the proposed directory. Clearly, an effort is needed to
contact people and institutions to widen the knowledge base of the
Is there a cut-off date defining the historical period covered by the
project? It was noted that an effort should be made to be
inclusive when determining which institutions and individuals to
include in the directory.
Where should be the dividing line placed between audio equipment and
computer equipment? It was noted that while there is no
absolutely clear division, the HC is primarily interested in audio and
equipment related to audio. One area needing coverage is
equipment and documents residing in private hands.
Next steps include publicizing the project as a way
to garner information. A draft of text for publicity was provided
to the chair and read to the members attending the meeting. The
intent is to publish publicity to the AES Journal, newsletters and
other reflector lists to inform people about the project and garner
information and support .
It was noted that AES has considered the idea of
building a museum of recording technology, but this was deemed too
expensive. AES now seeks to coordinate the work of existing
museums, and help people find places to donate old equipment.
It was requested that the proposed directory should
reside on the web and be maintained in a searchable environment.
This would make information about repositories and collections widely
available, including which are accepting donations, the nature of
holdings, accessibility and other information to facilitate
preservation and research efforts. An endangered equipment list
could be developed.
3. The availability of the HC website was noted, and
the chair invited comments regarding its operation and usefulness.
4. The chair noted the open invitation to all members
and others to propose projects for the endorsement and support of the
HC. Projects need to pertain to the interests of the HC as
defined in its charge. The charge can be found on the HC website.
5. Oral History Project. Irv Joel has been
conducting the project, which began in 1999, for the HC. The goal
has been to record audio and/or video interviews with persons prominent
in audio history, and do so as quickly as possible. Some 115
interviews have been completed to date and they exist on either video
or audio tape. Joel described some of the problems he has
encountered, and some approaches he has used to assure that interviews
are successful. It was noted that efforts should be made to
assure correctness and clarity of comments made in the
interviews. A disclaimer is needed to the effect that these are
the opinions of the interviewee, and not those of AES or the
AESHC. Also, there are a large number of tapes made over the last
twenty years in the Los Angeles area, including the “Afternoon with….”
interviews. These need to be merged with the more recent
interviews. An inventory has been created.
Another part of the project seeks to edit the raw
interviews and create presentations of the most important parts.
Progress in this area has been limited.
6. History of the AES Japan Section. A history
written in Japanese was submitted for publication several years
ago. Someone has volunteered to translate it. It
should be up on the website by year end.
7. Ampex Museum. The museum has moved to
Stanford University. A status report is available on the website.
8. Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned,
noting that the next meeting will take place in Berlin on May 8-12,