America's Best Record Collection Takes Shape

Library of Congress announcing plan to expand public access
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2011 9:14 AM CDT
A 1948 photo of tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon. The Library of Congress's Packard Campus of Audio-Visual Conservation is going to expand public access to its music and film collection.   (AP Photo/Herman Leonard Photography, LLC., CTSIMAGES, File)

(Newser) – A former nuclear fallout shelter near the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia is now home to the nation's musical and cinematic history over the past century. The Library of Congress's state-of-the-art $250 million Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation contains nearly 100 miles of shelves and 6 million goodies—wax reels, eight-tracks, screenplays, vinyl discs, piano rolls, kinescopes, and on and on. Now the Library is poised to significantly expand the nation's access to it, presumably online, reports the Los Angeles Times. Details will be announced Tuesday.

More complicated than preservation issues has been copyright law, which is way out of step with the digital era. "If it was up to me, I'd just throw it on the Internet, let everybody sue each other and happy new year," says a museum official. Tuesday's announcement won't go that far, but few details are available. One other tidbit: It turns out that CDs and MP3s may not stand the test of time as well as another familiar format: "Vinyl discs properly stored will last hundreds of years," says a preservation specialist. "Shellac too.

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