AES HC Minutes, 115th Conv, 2003-10-11

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 project.

 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, 2004.

Respectfully Submitted,

Ted Sheldon
Historical Committee Secretary

2004-04-15;  html jm 2004-05-17
Draft 2004-05-25
AES - Audio Engineering Society