Announcing: something new and something that’s growing very old

Let’s start with the fun news: we now have a chat room, a dedicated space on this blog site where you can discuss Tammen-related topics without interference from me. Oh, OK, I’ll be checking in now and then to make sure everyone’s getting along peaceably, but I won’t be approving each and every comment before they’re posted. 

Am I terrified? Oh good Lord, of course I am. Have you seen how some people treat one another online, especially if they’re using a pretend name? But you all seem like wonderful people and we’re going to give it a try. It could be fun! Or it could be a spectacular failure! But there’s no harm in giving it a shot, so OK, let’s do this.

The chat room—named Room 225 Fisher—is currently being field tested. Check it out!

My second bit of news has to do with Miami Hockey Tape #2, the unedited version, which was housed in a box labeled CDS 18 at University Archives. Shortly before Christmas, I submitted a public records request for that recording, and this past Friday, I received a response from Aimee Smart of the Office of General Counsel. 

Long story short: they don’t have it. No, I’m totally serious. They don’t have a tape that someone had typed up on an inventory sheet and placed in a box labeled CDS 18.

Short story long: Once upon a time, there were two hockey tapes that resided in box CDS 18 of University Archives. One had been edited (see line #1716) and the other ostensibly was the raw, uncut version (see line #1718). The tapes had presumably been sitting in that box for a long time…since 2009, perhaps. Still, they weren’t the oldest ones there. A tape from the same box originated in 1988. Another was from 1995. And there weren’t that many tapes in the box to begin with. According to the inventory, only 24 items were stored there, a veritable hodgepodge of mixed media. Some are miniDVs, others are VHS tapes, others are reel-to-reels, and there’s even a hard drive. If anything were removed, I’d think it would have been apparent.

The one-time contents of box CDS 18; the tape that’s highlighted in yellow is inexplicably missing; click on image for a closer view

But when the time came that the two hockey tapes were needed by members of the public—their raison d’être, so to speak—the edited version had been so badly damaged, so utterly destroyed, it was almost as if someone had been angry with it. As you know, it’s unwatchable. As for the other one… well, apparently the other one wasn’t long for this world either. It’s gone. It had seemingly been lifted from the box—it can’t very well leave on its own, right?—and then what? Was it tossed away, plastic case and all, like a paper towel or a leaky pen? Or did the purloiner put it in a place so obscure that people who should know its whereabouts were kept in the dark? 

Here were two tapes of the same interview, with two very different destinies, both equally doomed. And yet, at one moment in time, someone with archival expertise had held those tapes in their hands and determined that they were of sufficient usefulness that they should be inventoried and stored in a box among 22 other items in case someone might need them.

I mean…what are the odds? 

I’m including Ms. Smart’s comments in blue and a few of my thoughts beneath them in black.

************

We see this request as a duplicate to your request from this past summer. 

See, I disagree. Over the summer, we were negotiating over two damaged tapes—Hockey Tape 1, a tape that had turned up at the last minute in an undisclosed location, and Hockey Tape #2, which was in box CDS 18. Both tapes had the word “EDIT” in parentheses next to their titles. In my recent records request, I’m seeking a third tape that had never been mentioned before, and one that was ostensibly unedited and is potentially undamaged. That’s very different.

We agree that the inventory log reflects that there is a tape labeled Miami Hockey Tape #2 in box CDS18. 

OK, cool. Cool cool cool.

However, we searched this box when you made your initial request for the hockey tapes at the end of June 2022. When we reviewed box CDS18, we found one tape labeled Hockey Tape #2 (edit).  There was not a second tape labeled Miami Hockey Tape #2 in that box. 

Wow. Uncool and very troubling. It’s my understanding that University Archives never throws anything away. Also, if someone discarded it, wouldn’t that be a breach of Ohio’s Public Records Act?

In response to your most recent request, University Archives reviewed all the boxes associated with the inventory log to see if it was somehow misfiled in one of them. The tape was not in any of the boxes. 

I sincerely appreciate them looking through all of the boxes, but I still don’t understand how this happened. Again, University Archives, as a rule, doesn’t throw away its records. Also, if the edited tape always looked the way it does in its photo, you’d think they would have treated the unedited tape with even more care as opposed to removing it from the box. Why would someone leave the mangled-looking tape in box CDS 18 and remove the (presumably) decent-looking, unedited tape?

John Millard also conducted a thorough search of his department and was unable to locate a tape labeled Miami Hockey Tape #2. 

Mr. Millard, who oversaw Digital Initiatives for the Oral History Project, is indeed an important resource regarding this question. I’ve recently learned that the Miami Hockey Coach tape had been handed over to Digital Initiatives on June 17, 2009, a full month after the interview had taken place. According to the university, the tape never made it out of Digital Initiatives as a DVD. I would be interested to hear Mr. Millard’s recollections of what happened to that hockey coach tape. I can be reached at rontammenproject@gmail.com to schedule.

Accordingly, we are unable to provide you with a responsive record. Please be aware that we have searched all reasonable locations for the Oral History’s Hockey interview. We have provided you with the only two copies of the interview that we were able to locate. 

I find it interesting that the only two copies that University Archives seems to possess are edited versions. I’ll be searching somewhere else for an undamaged copy. Maybe we can even find the original. 

We will deny any further requests for copies of this same Oral History hockey interview.  

I realize that they’d like me to go away, I really do, but I don’t think they can say this. What if I were to provide a solid lead as to the unedited tape’s location—a location that they haven’t checked yet? Wouldn’t university officials like to find a good version of the hockey coach tape? They’re treating me as if it’s all my fault that a public record that was created to survive the ages has been misplaced or destroyed (the unedited tape) or irreparably damaged (the edited versions).

As for where another copy might be found, as I mentioned earlier, it took a full month before the people in Digital Initiatives received the tape. Where was the tape during that time period and who requested the edits?

I have my ideas, and that’s where I’ll be looking next.

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Stevie J
Stevie J
13 days ago

//When we reviewed box CDS18, we found one tape labeled Hockey Tape #2 (edit). There was not a second tape labeled Miami Hockey Tape #2 in that box. //

Does she realize what she’s admitting here? Let’s review:

Anyone with a modicum of common sense realizes that anything labeled “edit” indicates the existence of an “original.”

Affirming the “original” isn’t where it should be, isn’t where it’s legally bound to be, is a really lame argument for a lawyer to make.

Miami has clearly failed in meeting its legal mandates. But if you dare ask where it is if it’s not where it should be, they won’t respond.

This is beyond pathetic.

Julie
13 days ago

I can’t remember if you’ve done this, but have you tried the sports department to see if it wound up there? At the college my brother works for (in the sports dept), he’s constantly putting out fires because people don’t remember to return stuff they’ve borrowed, or tell others when they’re taking something. And it only takes one person to forget…