SDR Deposit of the Week: Sounds of Stanford and the Bay Area

‘AHAmele – Oakland based Hawaiian Music Ensemble

The Archive of Recorded Sound (ARS) recently took an active role in two courses during the spring semester, one in the Stanford Music Department and the other in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric, to encourage students to deposit their final projects into the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR). The purpose of working with these courses was primarily to introduce students to the SDR and its many benefits, and to walk them through the process of using the SDR's self-deposit tool. This instruction was backed up by customized online screencasts that guided students through the deposit process for the particular sets of materials within their projects. The rate of deposit for both courses was extremely high as the professors in each case elected to make the deposit of final projects into the SDR a mandatory part of the courses' requirements.  

Sounds of Stanford: Listening & Writing to Higher Education (PWR 2CG), taught by Christopher Gerben (Lecturer, Program in Writing and Rhetoric), encouraged students to explore the wider topics or stories behind sounds they might encounter on a daily basis, either on the Stanford campus or beyond. Topics included: A cappella groups at Stanford, food truck culture, foster care, and the power of song during social and political uprisings. The final assignment for the course was a podcast exploring the chosen topic which students researched, scripted, recorded, and produced. These podcasts included both narrated text and audio examples, which were either captured "in the field" or found within various collections at Stanford University Libraries, notably archival collections in the ARS. In addition to an hour long library instruction session with ARS staff, which outlined how to use Searchworks to find sound recordings, students also visited the ARS to learn about the history of recorded sound and the need to archive sound recordings, from the earliest cylinders to today's born-digital recordings. With this new found understanding of why sound recordings need to be archived in a controlled and curated environment, students were able to understand why their podcasts, complete with scripts and supporting research materials, should be deposited in the SDR for preservation and future access. The archival component of this course was so successful in fact that the course will be renamed in 2015 as Sounds of Stanford: Authoring, Archiving, and Podcasting, and will continue to require students to deposit their final projects in the SDR. 

Listening to the Local: Music Ethnography of the Bay Area (MUSIC 147A), taught by Anna Schultz (Assistant Professor - Ethnomusicology, Stanford Music Department) and Eoin Callery (Teaching Assistant, Stanford Music Department), acted as an introduction to music ethnography through student research on musical life in the Bay Area. The course focused on the intersections of music, social life, and cultural practice by engaging with people as they perform music and culture in situ. The fieldwork component of this course included collecting samples of performances and oral history interviews with various members of the Bay Area musical community. In addition to uploading the audio materials collected, students also deposited appropriate fieldnotes, interview transcriptions, photographs, analysis, and ethnographic writings. Musical styles documented include: Indian-jazz hybrid, garage rock, Congolese drumming, Capoeira, Hawaiian, Afro-Cuban jazz, and traditional Irish folk. The projects produced by this course record and preserve the activities of groups in the Bay Area that might otherwise go undocumented and are therefore prime examples of the types of materials that the SDR was designed to capture.