Selection and documentation in a radio archive needs a strategy and working method, which differs greatly from those of other archives where documentation is an end in itself. In a radio station the archive has to provide the daily programmes with repertoire material and therefore has to be prepared to offer a wide spectrum of recordings. The selection decision of the archivist is less a decision of whether or not to keep or to erase, than one of whether or not to increase the depth of the documentation. Radio documentation and selection are composed of three functions: the formal registration, the recording of the contents and the presentation of different forms and branches of programmes. Included are those records, which reveal that they can be used for programme purposes as well as for arts, science, culture and education outside the radio. It is the duty of the archivist to keep both these sides in mind, help and advice for the programme makers and adequate documentation of the actualities of the day. The radio sound archivist must try to avoid mistakes in his selection, a demand that possibly can never be fulfilled totally, but this is one, which he has in common with every other archivist.

Ulf Scharlau is Head of Archives, Süddeutscher Rundfunk, Stuttgart.
This paper was first presented to the IASA conference in Budapest, 1981.