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52nd Annual ARSC Conference
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5/9/2018 to 5/12/2018
When: Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Where: Radisson Hotel Baltimore Harbor
Baltimore, Maryland 
United States
Contact: Patrick Midtlyng

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Please join the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) for its 52nd annual conference, May 9–12, 2018. The conference programs will take place at the Radisson Baltimore Downtown-Inner Harbor, situated near Baltimore's historic seaport.

Nearby attractions include Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the National Aquarium, the USS Constitution, the Civil War Museum, the Walters Art Museum, the George Peabody Library, the Maryland Science Center, and the giant RCA Nipper dog on top of the Maryland Historical Society.

Two Pre-Conference Workshops, "All Hands on Deck! Analog Tape Playback" and "People, Processes, and Technology" will be held on May 9.

A block of rooms has been reserved at special rates for ARSC conference attendees. ARSC's contracted dates extend from Tuesday, May 8 through Saturday, May 12, with Sunday departure. These rates will also be honored three days prior and three days following, subject to availability. The deadline to make reservations at the Radisson Hotel is Tuesday, April 24. Reservations made after this date, or after our room block is filled, will be on a space available basis at the prevailing rate.

For more information about the hotel, room rates, and reservations:

Register early and save! In order to receive the early registration discount, you must register for the conference by April 17. Registration options are available for members and non-members. Online registration is now available at:

For further details about the conference:

For general information about the conference, contact Brenda Nelson-Strauss, Conference Manager:

To discuss or arrange sponsorship, exhibits, or advertising, contact Curtis Peoples, Assistant Conference Manager:


Conference Program

ARSC is dedicated to the preservation and study of sound recordings—in all genres of music and speech, in all formats, and from all periods. Reflecting this broad mission, the upcoming conference offers talks and sessions that will appeal to both professionals and collectors.

This year's plenary sessions are:

  • Baltimore Sounds: An Introduction, ranging from opera singers to auctioneers
  • Bluegrass In and Around Baltimore
  • Revival and Reinterpretation, which addresses the challenge of race in early sound recordings.

Some of the session topics are:

  • Eubie Blake
  • Babe Ruth
  • Jazz Oral History at the Smithsonian
  • "American Epic" Goes to School
  • Blue Sky Boys
  • Ray Davis and Wango Records
  • Go-Go, Club, and Hip-Hop (moderated discussion)
  • Introducing the Cold War Communication Project
  • Expert Disc Transfer Techniques
  • Continuing to Push the Cylinder Transfer Envelope
  • A Methodology for Digitizing Wax Cylinders
  • Quality Control for Media Digitization
  • Phonographs on the Road in Latin America
  • Sounds, Sights, and Sites of Activism in '68
  • Requirements for AD converters in Audio Preservation
  • Saving the War of the Worlds: In Search of Missing Martians
  • Birgit Nilsson and Astrid Varnay
  • State of the Art 1925: The Orthophonic Victrola Credenza Compared to a Legacy Victor Talking Machine

Poster sessions are back this year. Posters will be displayed all day Friday. The poster session will be held Friday afternoon, from 3–4pm.

Of course, there will be conference "extras."

On Thursday, the Women in Recorded Sound Social will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Alewife, Tasting Room, 21 N Eutaw St., a five-minute walk from the hotel. (Pay your own tab.)

Also on Thursday evening, bring your technical questions to "Ask the Technical Committee." After, the ARSC and IASA discography committees will have an open meeting. It will include an update on the "International Bibliography of Discographies" and other topics of shared interest to both committees.

Later, join ARSC President and DJ Matt Barton, his two turntables, and guests for a special narrowcast featuring rare and special recordings from Baltimore and beyond, old time radio magic, interviews, and surprises. Don't touch that dial!

On Friday evening, Brandon Burke will introduce the film, "Watch the K Foundation Burn a Million Quid," about the British prankster/provocateur electronic group, The KLF.

For the annual Friday-evening Collectors' Roundtable/Swap, we have asked some of the local record collectors and vendors to set up for the conference. There should be a wide range of musical styles and prices, ranging from the 50-cent table to premium collectables. Tables will be available for you to set out your stock as well. Participants are invited to bring a crate of records they would like to sell or trade, and/or a record or two for show & tell. This event is open to the general public.

The preliminary conference schedule (subject to change) can be viewed at:


Pre-Conference Workshops

ARSC is offering two pre-conference workshops on Wednesday, May 9, at the conference hotel. The Technical Committee's always-popular workshop, "All Hands on Deck! Analog Tape Playback," will be offered for the first time as a full-day affair. This workshop is designed for beginners, as well as the more advanced audio professional with limited analog tape experience. The afternoon workshop, "People, Processes, and Technology," focuses on the assessment and digitization of audio collections, and is geared towards institutions.

For more information:

or contact:

Curtis Peoples ("People, Processes, and Technology")

Marcos Sueiro ("Analog Tape Playback")


Newcomer Orientation and Mentoring Program

ARSC invites first-time conference attendees and conference veterans to participate in the Conference Mentoring Program. The program pairs newcomers with long-time members, based on their shared interests. Mentors provide mentees with an orientation to the conference, the association, and its participants in informal meetings over the course of the conference. Only ARSC veterans who are committed to the mentoring program should volunteer.

For the Mentoring Program sign-up:


Awards Banquet

The conference will conclude on Saturday evening with the annual Awards Banquet. Winners of the 2017 Awards for Excellence and 2018 Lifetime Achievement and Distinguished Service awards will be honored. Finalists for the 2018 Awards for Excellence will be announced.


The Association for Recorded Sound Collections is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and study of sound recordings—in all genres of music and speech, in all formats, and from all periods. ARSC is unique in bringing together private individuals and institutional professionals—everyone with a serious interest in recorded sound.

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