This project originated with Professor Lopatovska’s Info 601 class, in which I analyzed and wrote a paper about do-it-yourself music archives as an alternative method of archival preservation. I will define DIY in relation to community archives, explain the importance of DIY music archives and dissect some of the problems that they face.

You can read this paper in the latest issue of the Serials Librarian:


The preservation of popular music has traditionally faced numerous philosophical and practical obstacles, but do-it-yourself archives present an alternative method that warrants further attention. As grassroots cultural sites, they largely resemble community archives in their focus on community in all aspects of collection and preservation. DIY is a response to mainstream organizational and production structures that encourage self-sustainability and community engagement. Translated to archival practice, this ethos can provide the appropriate space and handling of a cultural entity so prominent in human society, but somehow missing from the formal cultural heritage sector. In this paper, I will further define DIY, specifically in relation to community archives. I will explain the importance of DIY music archives and describe several problems they face. In the end, I will maintain that further research and care be focused on DIY music archives to ensure that music and the communities built around music maintain their due places in our collective history. 

Keywords: Do-it-yourself, DIY, music archives, archives, DIY music archives, underground music, popular music, affect, community archives, self-authorized, democratizing 

Sarah Cuk (2021) Do-It-Yourself Music Archives: A Response and Alternative to Mainstream Exclusivity, The Serials Librarian, DOI: 10.1080/0361526X.2021.1910614



Graduate Student, Graduate Assistant at Pratt Institute, Pratt Libraries Special Collections
Sarah is an M.L.I.S. student and musician, seeking collaboration that is focused on the ethical care of underrepresented stories particularly related to performing arts. She strives to negotiate the balance between underground art communities and formal preservation methods without harming the integrity of such narratives. Her research interests include community archives, resistance movements, open access and privacy/surveillance all of which are grounded in critical librarianship and influenced by her passion for music. She currently works as a Graduate Assistant at Pratt Libraries Special Collections in Brooklyn. On Sundays, she transforms into DJ Quack as part of the radio collective, Entropy FM.