How the New York Philharmonic jumped the online gun

The orchestra is ahead of the world in digitising its archives and making them universally available online.

Archivist Barbara Haws traces the process from small beginnings:

When I was finishing archive school in the 80s, I was reading a magazine that talked about the first PC. That was just mind blowing: it changed completely my understanding of where we were going based on how I had been trained. I could see the possibilities in the future. At the Philharmonic, I was the first staff member to have a PC on my desk. And we started creating the databases of our performance history.

Read on here.

If you have ever run an archive, you need to read this piece.

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  • I don’t know if this is a “divided by a common language” thing, but in American English “jumped the gun” generally means to move prematurely. Which isn’t the intended meaning here.

  • I spoke with her some years ago at Verbier when her project was getting started. She told me of the pleasure of digitizing a page of a Mahler symphony. There were pencil marking by the composer, by his former assistant, Bruno Walter and finally by Bernstein. Imagine the treasures in archives rotting and being tossed all over the world.

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