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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Inspector Archivist, that is....

An archivist wear many hats.  We are audio editors, researchers, catalogers, and historians, among other things.  But personally I enjoy the investigator hat a lot!  We often get inquiries in the SABC Radio Archives asking for details of signature tunes, which might sound simple at first, but if the request starts with: Years ago, I am not sure when, there was a program, I am not sure on which station, and I think the presenter was...., then the investigative hat gets dusted and worn.  I recently had such a request, and by following every smallest lead, we cracked the code.  The client couldn't give me enough detail to put me on a definite trial, but played what he could remember of the tune on the piano and e-mailed me the mp3.  This I took to Frans Erasmus, of the Springbok Radio Preservation Society, and he immediately recognized the tune, since he, well, knows almost everything regarding Old Time Radio in our country.  We then compared it with what he definitely knew were some of the tunes of the mentioned show, and alas, we found a match and I could give our client the right details.

One thing I learnt from this venture, is that there is always somebody who remembers, you just need to keep on asking and searching!


Retha Buys
Senior Archivist: Springbok Radio
Tel: +27 11 714 2772
www.springbokradio.co.za



2 comments:

  1. What an inspiring piece of writing, keep up the good job, i'm personally proud of you

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  2. Comment received via e-mail from Willem, the client whom the request was for (in Afrikaans):

    Beste Retha

    Ek is 'n elektroniese ingenieur – het meerendeels met telekommunikasie gewerk.

    Argiewe en biblioteke is ver van ons wêreld verwyder, maar natuurlik speel dit by tye 'n besondere rol in ons beroep. Om inligting te kry is onontbeerlik.
    Ek het die artikel heelonder op die www opgespoor [dit klink so effens bekend !] en dis nie net treffend geskryf nie, maar besonder “smart”. [verskoon my Frans]

    Die liedjie “I Feel Like a Child” kom van my jeug af – ek probeer die tyd onthou maar dit moes iewers tussen matriek en universiteit ( tussen Bellville en Stellenbosch !) gewees het.
    Maak nie saak nie. Die besondere liedjie het al die jare in my kop gebly en vandag Sondag 12 Augustus toe kry ek dit op 'n webwerf. Die gevoel toe ek dit speel was dadelike herkenning, verrassing, blyheid (!) en vreugde.

    Groot en baie dank aan jou vir jou hulp – jy beskryf dit baie goed in jou artikel – beter as wat ek kan. En omdat ek hierbo die woord Frans gebruik het moet jy asseblief vir Frans Erasmus ook my dank oordra. Die liedjie is 7.6MB in grootte. Omdat ek dit graag wil saamstuur het ek dit verklein na 3MB – ek glo nie dit sal te veel afbreuk doen aan die kwaliteit nie.

    Hartlike groete

    Willem

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