Preserving Denton's Music History at LIMIT Scanning Day

This Saturday between sips of Wassail, Dentonites are invited to preserve music history at LIMIT Scanning Day at Emily Fowler Central Library from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

LIMIT is the Local/Independent Music Initiative of Texas of the University of North Texas Music Library. By partnering with Denton Public Library, these two institutions will work together with the community to save Denton music history — a heritage that is “extensive but disappearing,” according to UNT music librarian Sara Outhier.

To avoid further disappearance of Denton’s music history, Outhier organized LIMIT Scanning Day “to save historical objects and records of the Denton music scene,” and as a way to connect with the music community as well as identify collectors and potential partners.

When Outhier began her position at UNT last year, a priority was to begin a local music archiving initiative. Because UNT music librarians and staff have deep roots in the Denton/DFW music scene — in fact, many of the staff are performers — they are trained and have the resources to collect and preserve Denton music history. “Denton is the ideal place for this sort of an archiving project,” said Outhier. “The community has this collaborative artistic spirit that pairs nicely with our preservation abilities.”

Outhier added that her vision is to collect and preserve, both digitally and physically, as much music and music memorabilia as possible to represent the vast spectrum of Denton cultural history. Her hope is to create a collection that will be indefinitely available and exceptionally useful for musicians, fans, and scholars. As a curator, Outhier sets the scope for what is included in the collection.

“We collect from every genre and time period,” she said, but added that “the music must have a substantial Texas connection.” Although the initiative is focused on acquiring Denton music and memorabilia, LIMIT also will be adding music from all over the state.

LIMIT has grown from the UNT Library mission to collect music of cultural value and interest to musicians, researchers, and music fans in Denton and beyond. Partnering with Denton Public Library, UNT Libraries provides personnel and resources to preserve, inventory, and provide access, but depends on the community to create and build their collection. As such, Outhier and the rest of the LIMIT team ask music fans and collectors to bring in up to 25 two-dimensional, music-related objects for free digitization onto a complimentary USB drive. If the materials are within collection parameters of the initiative, the owner will have the opportunity to donate not only digital files, but original materials, too.

“We can handle physical objects as well as digital objects,” Outhier stated. “The UNT Libraries has a lab dedicated to digitizing physical objects. Any digital object can be added to our Digital Library, and we also have archivists and facilities that adhere to the highest standards for preserving physical objects.”

Audio/visual materials will not be digitized on Saturday, but the UNT Sound Preservationist will be on site to answer questions and provide tips on AV preservation.

While LIMIT will do their best to accommodate every request, digitization will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Additionally, LIMIT can make arrangements with donors and collectors at the time of the event for later scanning and processing for items to be returned by mail.

Outhier explained Saturday’s plan is “to walk a participant through paperwork, take the physical item to be scanned, gather information about the item, and to give it back to the participant with a digital copy on a flash drive.” UNT Libraries will keep a digital copy of the item, but “if the participant wants to donate the physical item to the LIMIT collection, that would be awesome, too.”

With Wassail Weekend overlapping LIMIT Scanning Day, participants are invited to either drop off items to be scanned and picked up at 2 p.m., or stay and play tabletop games provided by the UNT Media Library. “I would love to chat with participants about their experiences in the Denton music scene,” Outhier added.

LIMIT Scanning Day is free and open to the public. A list of qualifying print items can be found on the initiative’s Facebook event. Learn more about LIMIT on their website.

Header image by Christopher Rodgers