The Archive and the Library meet in online film

Click to view “Library of Congress,” a 1940s film by the National Archives and Records Administration… 20 minutes of history in black and white, including a few moments of folksinger Woody Guthrie recording what a friend describes as a “cowboy anti-fascist song” for the LOC archives.

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This note is part of an exercise in making sure I post things to the open web via my WordPress blog, not just to the closed but huge community on Facebook… where this film was mentioned by a Library & Information Science friend.

Librarian, archivist, historian, folklorist and ethnomusicologist friends… Have you seen the film linked above? The Internet Archive copy could use some comments adding more searchable keywords, but it’s a fascinating slice of history… including an old fashioned look at copyright law before it turned into the protectionist mess it is today.

An excerpt from it at YouTube sent me off looking for the original. That clip had Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee as an example of the field recording efforts of The Library of Congress. But there is much more in this 20-minute film from 1968, a guided tour of the work of the library back in the days of cardboard index cards and international mail as information sharing devices, just before the dawn of the digital age…

Original title if you just share the Archive webpage: “LIBRARY OF CONGRESS : National Archives and Records Administration : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive”

mild-mannered reporter who sank into computers and the Web during graduate school in the 1980s and '90s, then taught journalism, media studies and Web production, retiring to write and play more music.

Posted in ethnomusicology, folklore, Internet Archive, Libraries, Library of Congress

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