WNUR Underground Archive Project



The WNUR Underground Archive Project is an ongoing effort to gather and display the collection of vinyl records which constitute WNUR's Rock Show music collection. The unique focus of the Underground Archive Project resides in the music director comments written on the sleeves of many of the records. Thus, the project is less focused on the usual audio qualities associated with and researched through records, and more concerned with the physical, the visual and the semantic information each record and its accompanying notes contain.

Through this archiving, collecting and processing we can hope to more clearly analyze the collection and the broader role college radio played throughout the 1980s and 1990s in the underground rock music scene. We can manipulate the data of music director notes to realize trends in comments attached to added records, and witness cross-generational conversations on the sleeves of many records that point towards evolutions in taste and priorities within underground college radio.

The Archive focuses solely on records added to the stacks between 1980 and 2000, wherever you see a date attached to a record, that date refers to the day the record was added to the stacks, not when the record was released (dates marked 6/6/year, do not have a legible date on the cover, and are attached to the release year) The metadata gathered on each record has been limited to information a WNUR DJ would have access to without a computer, examining the record. Thus, the geolocation associated with each record refers to the locale of the recording, and if none is given, the country of the record label. The exception to this rule is the sub-genre tag given to each record. In an effort to normalize and objectify this distinction as much as possible, the sub-genre designation follows the style classification given to each record on the Discogs database. 

The Underground Archive Project was conceived of and is being carried out by Brock Stuessi with support from the Office of Undergraduate Research at Northwestern University. Brock will be graduating from Northwestern University in December with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Technology and looks forward to continuing to pursue music-related archiving and historical work along with work in the music-related non-profit world. He would like to thank Professor Michael J. Kramer for his invaluable support and encouragement, Peter Civetta for his support of undergraduate research, Josh Honn for his professional archiving advice and enthusiasm, and every WNUR Rock Show DJ who contributed to this incredible collection. 

For more information, contact Brock Stuessi : stuessi.brock[at]gmail.com

Updated - 8/19/2017