SUBJECT: AVRL Status and Plans
Officially, the AND project is no longer active. is working on a database discography model project for ARSC, which the National Recording Preservation Board is funding. On AND, once the programmer in Dayton dropped out, Bill and I took the project to a prospective funder but he didn't bite. We're hoping that Bill's database model and the work I now do for UC Santa Barbara might evolve into something, but they are separate projects now, both outside of AND.
FYI, I edit the Fagan/Moran Victor discography for UCSB. We're editing the data Ted Fagan compiled and Stanford had input overseas. It's been migrated from Stanford's Oracle application to Filemaker Pro. David Seubert, who directs the project, and I are beginning to think about extending our work to the Columbia family of labels. But our work along these lines is very tentative. It might have a connection to an LC project being discussed, but it's all very preliminary at this time.
I hope that Bill can find the time in the coming weeks to brief you on his work on the database model. In the meantime, if you would like to host a database of the existing AND data, I'm suspect that ARSC would welcome that. Hopefully, you two can compare notes.
We're projecting that our Victor data will be posted on UCSB's website in late 2007. That's about it for now.
All best, Sam
Please direct all concerns, comments, questions to
Imagine having instant access to a complete listing of every 78rpm and cylinder recording made in the United States! That's right, an entry for every vintage record issued domestically including label name, catalog number, matrix number, artist and selection. Now imagine having full-color illustrations representing each major label variety included as a bonus! Given the scope of this work, and the inestimable research value that it represents, what if I told you it would only cost a couple of hundred dollars?
Well, before you call the men in the white coats, listen to this. Through the incredible technology of CD-ROM, all of this information can be stored on just two CDs taking up no more space than a single Little Wonder! Through the efforts of a handful of dedicated collectors and archivists, this dream may be closer to reality than any of us would dare imagine. With the technical assistance of John Mucci, I am in the process of assembling a nation-wide team of collectors and researchers to make this dream a reality in the near future. Using the enormous data files compiled by Steve Abrams as a foundation for this project, additional discographic information being provided by Dick Spottswood, Ray Wile, Bill Korst, Allan Sutton and others has already yielded over half a million computerized entries! The following list of labels are either complete or currently in progress:
ARA, ARC Theater Records, Arto, Autograph, Banner, Bell, Berliner, Black Patti, Bluebird, Broadway, Brunswick, Cameo, Challenge, Champion, Clarion, Claxtonola, Columbia, Conqueror, Cosmo, Crown, Diva, Domino, Durium, Edison, Elite, Emerson, Federal, Gennett, Grey Gull, Harmony, Hit, Hit-of-the-Week, Jewel, Liberty Music Shop, Lincoln, Little Wonder, Madison, Majestic, Melotone, Montgomery Ward, Musicraft, National, National Music Lovers, New Phonic, Okeh, Oriole, Paramount, Perfect, PicturTone, Puritan, QRS, Radiex, Record Guild, Regal, Romeo, Royale, Signature, Silvertone, Starr, Superior, Supertone, Talking Book, Triangle, Van Dyke, Varsity, Velvetone, Victor, Vocalion, Voco, Vogue
Would you like to help us with this project? We need assistance in the following areas:
Due to the number of people working on this project (and our desire to price it within the budget of the average collector), it will not be possible to offer monetary renumeration to those who contribute their time and information. However, those that do contribute in a sizable way will receive a complimentary copy of the first edition once it is released (target is now the end of 1997). Furthermore, all assistance will be appropriately credited in the work itself. Though a project of this scope can never be complete, revised and expanded editions will be published as new information is gathered.
Future editions may contain categorized label pictures as well as complete session personnel! Serious collectors cannot do without this reference.
If you have always dreamed about being on the cutting edge of discographical research and technology, this is your best opportunity! If you wish to volunteer your time and/or resources, or if you would like to be notified when the Labelography becomes available, please contact me, Elwood McKee.
1.2. The database now contains more than 350,000 data records. More than 80% of the data was contributed by the Library of Congress and two volunteer contributors. Work is underway to make it possible to import and incorporate the data contained in The Rigler and Deutsch Record Index (RDI) and Dick Spottswood's Ethnic Records in America discography by the end of the year.
1.3. In its present state the AVRL requires a great amount of editing. Given the variety of data formats used by contributors -- only one used Microsoft Access, the underlying program of the AVRL Editor -- and the fact that existing contributor databases were not compiled in accordance with the required AVRL file structure, McKee's work has focused almost entirely on moving information in contributor data fields into their equivalent AVRL fields. This has involved the use of block and global replacements for both collating data from more than one field and parsing data into several fields. Without question a certain amount of error has been introduced thereby. A major problem encountered has been the difficulty in transferring Macintosh data into IBM format. Despite good work by two contributors, the problem has not been entirely solved; we hope that new software now being procured will ameliorate this. Some of the submissions have been in the form of non-delimited text. The AVRL protocols for data citations and abbreviations were not used in most files. Perhaps most importantly, the AVRL data file at present contains multiple data records that refer to a single recording; fortunately, the AVRL Editor program contains a utility that greatly facilitates elimination of duplicates without loss of data thereby. There has been virtually no text editing (spelling, word order, case, etc.) to date; textual information is as provided by the contributors. Editing of existing data will require as much -- if not more -- time than adding new data for some time to come. A revised AVRL Table Structure and Entry Protocol was distributed earlier this month. Model database forms adapted to the needs of contributors using various database and spreadsheet programs are being compiled for distribution as required. Future data file submissions will be required to conform more closely to AVRL criteria before being imported into the main file.
1.4. At the October 25th ARSC Board & Executive Committee meeting in Syracuse the Board unanimously adopted our proposals to form a Labelography Associates Committee (LAC) of ARSC. Kurt Nauck is to assemble the committee (by e-mail if he wishes) and have it elect a Chairperson. Note that while LAC members must be ARSC members, AVRL volunteers are in no manner required to become members of ARSC (although a number of active AVRL participants are, in fact, members).
1.5. The Board also unanimously approved the proposal for President Sheldon to enter into negotiations with Chris Hopkins to publish AVRL on CD-ROM. The responses I have had so far from AAA/RDI members with regard to making the RDI available to AVRL have been quite positive. Gerry Gibson, Ted Sheldon, and Sue Stinson discussed the topic apart from the Board meeting, and Gerry is to collect specific responses from the RDI group with regard to implementing the proposal.
2.1. Depending on how quickly the RDI and Spottswood files can be imported into the AVRL, Chris Hopkins will cut off all changes (additions, corrections, elimination of duplicates) to AVRL -- 30 days after signature of the Software Publishing Agreement with ARSC -- and prepare a pre-release version to be distributed to contributors 60 days after signature. The contributors will also be afforded a means of editing their submissions. Following the return of the edited submissions, an initial release of AVRL will be offered to purchasers 150 days after signature. At present, plans call for the initial release to be be on CD-ROM. Licensing/subscription prices remain to be set.
2.2. The necessary assurances of permission to publish contributor data is a responsibility of the LAC. The publishing contract offered by Five Points Technology also has a requirement that a publishing release be obtained for each contribution and has an example release form.
2.3. The AVRL project will require a certain amount of reorganization. Kurt Nauck will continue as Project Coordinator. Label Coordinators will be asked to take a more active role:
3. Immediate Priorities
3.1. The present Editor and the Programer will concentrate on moving Spottswood, Ruppli, and RDI files into AVRL in preparation for the distribution of the pre-release version to contributors.
3.2. Chris Hopkins will distribute the pre-release version, using all available data. The pre-release version will at that point become the sole active AVRL database.
3.3. Contributors will be sent portions of the AVRL database for revision, based on what they have agreed to work on. Only ONE Label Coordinator (and his assigned volunteers) will be requested to work on any given portion of the database. If corrections and/or additions are submitted by another party, they will be forwarded to that Coordinator. The Coordinator is responsible for forwarding the revised data to Elwood McKee, who will then forward it on to Chris Hopkins. Pre-release data that has not been corrected and returned in time to be used for the lst Edition will be held back for further work before distribution in one of the subsequent editions. [Note, please, that given the variety of data sources and the size and scope of the project, it is to be expected that even data included in the 1st Edition may well require additional work by contributors and users of the AVRL. We shall not, however, include blocs of data -- even if unique -- that have become badly flawed in the process of compilation or transfer into the AVRL format.
3.4. The present Editor, the Project Director, and the Programmer will be calling on the AVRL contributors for help in identifying and recruiting new members to the Editorial Group. This will be essential if the continuing development of the AVRL is to achieve success.
for the AVRL Project Group.
November 6, 1997