The discerning ear of the American public brought several relatively obscure recordings to the attention of the Library of Congress, ensuring that they will be preserved for all time as part of the congressionally-mandated National Recording Registry. These recordings include three quintessential Americana selections: a 1930 performance of a Modesto, California high school band performing in a national competition; O. Winston Link's steam locomotive recordings; and a 1972 recording of a haunting foghorn in Kewaunee, Wis. These sounds of America’s heartland joined a unique collection of legendary music and spoken words because of nominations from the public.
The Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, is seeking nominations once again from the public of recordings that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” for this year’s consideration. The recordings must be at least 10 years old. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 31.
“These public nominations play a key role in bringing certain lesser-known titles to the attention of the Librarian and members of the advisory National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB),” said Steve Leggett, NRPB staff coordinator. Leggett said that public suggestions also help showcase more popular titles. Nominations from the public, for example, sparked the selection of Sonic Youth's 1988 album “Daydream Nation.”
Congress established the National Recording Registry with the passage of the 2000 National Recording Preservation Act. Along with mandating the development of a comprehensive national program to ensure the survival, conservation, and increased public availability of America's sound-recording heritage, this law authorizes the Librarian of Congress, after reviewing public suggestions and consulting with the NRPB board, to select up to 25 recordings each year for inclusion in the registry.
The 250 titles named to the registry thus far illustrate the dynamic variety of recorded sound, ranging from groundbreaking pop hits and radio broadcasts to field recordings and seminal jazz and blues albums. Presidents, sportscasters, gospel choirs, rock bands and the sounds of Americana all share a place on the list. Visit www.loc.gov/rr/record/nrpb/nrpb-masterlist.html
to view the full list and descriptions of all recordings named to the registry.
To view criteria and nominating procedures, and to fill out the nomination form, go to www.loc.gov/rr/record/nrpb/nrpb-home.html
. A button at the bottom of the form automatically forwards the nomination to the registry's email account at [email protected]
Email is preferred to avoid postal delivery delays on Capitol Hill. However, to submit suggestions by regular mail, send to National Recording Preservation Board, c/o Motion Picture, Broadcasting & Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue SE, Washington, D.C. 20540-4698.
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