IASA Journal - Issue 50 - Published Online

Dear Colleagues --

I am happy to announce that issue 50 of the IASA Journal has been published online on the IASA Journal web platform:


The IASA Journal now presents its content as open-access scholarship available to all.

Issue 50 contains 100 pages, and currently includes 5 articles, 2 profiles, 1 review, 1 editorial, and 1 president's letter. The print version includes five advertisements: NOA, Memnon, AVP, SAA, and JTS.

For the past two years, the IASA Journal has been in a state of flux, including the implementation of double-blind peer review, the commencement of an editorial board to provide input into the development of the Journal, a move from static PDF delivery on the IASA website to a dedicated searchable e-Journal website, and a shift from closed content (i.e., members only) to open access (i.e., free to the world). As editor, I have largely been responsible for driving these changes, although I will note that others in the association called for these changes, and that the general trend worldwide is to provide open access to information. With support from IASA’s membership and the Executive Board, we have opened the door and paved the way for the IASA Journal to be sustained, and even to strive, in the 21st Century.

Another significant change is looming for this Journal. Now that the Journal has full electronic distribution, I made the proposition to the Executive Board, based on an historical analysis of printing and shipping costs, that IASA cease offering a paper copy of the journal. Instead, I proposed that we focus our efforts on increasing electronic distribution, diverting the twice-yearly printing and shipping expenses towards other areas of IASA activity, for example membership development, or training and education, both areas that could use additional resources. The Executive Board agreed with my request, and this issue — Issue 50 — will be the last printed issue of the IASA Journal.

This issue is an exciting one, offering five engaging articles, two profiles, and a book review. We have three articles that focus heavily on workflows in a digital environment. In To Normalise or To Manage the Multitude? Determining Workflows and Output Specifications for the Transfer of a Heterogeneous Collection of DV-based Video Cassettes, Brecht Declercq, Peter Bubestinger, and Gaël Fernandez-Lorenzo present a detailed case-study on the digitization of DV-based video tapes at VIAA in Belgium. The paper is valuable to the international audiovisual archives community because of the thorough details provided by the authors as they illustrate the choices they had to make to achieve a quality outcome. Also relevant to digitization efforts, in this issue Michael Casey from Indiana University in the USA provides guidance on quality control in his paper, Quality Control for Media Digitization Projects. Casey has had the opportunity over the past few years to lead his organization on a massive and continuous digitization journey called the Media and Digitization Preservation Initiative. Because mistakes happen, and perfection is a fleeting ideal, Casey has implemented a thorough quality control and risk management strategy to ensure continuation of an around the clock digitization factory while simultaneously reducing as many issues as possible in such a high-throughput environment.

Our colleagues from New York in the USA, Annie Schweikert and Dave Rice, have written a thorough analysis and case-study of using software microservices in the archive to increase productivity, to reduce technical dependencies on commercial software, and to fine-tune the control archivists have over digital file and data handling. In Microservices in Audiovisual Archives: An Exploration of Constructing Microservices for Processing Archival Audiovisual Information, Schweikert and Rice detail their ongoing work to develop function-specific software modules to handle their day-to-day digital audiovisual archives needs. The article offers examples of code and general design principles that may be of use to archives around the world.

Focusing on archival content and less on digitization and digital preservation, the remaining two articles in this issue highlight efforts to extend and diversify the scope of archival collections, providing visibility and a voice to the depth and richness of the human experience. Diana Chester provides an article that recounts her efforts to record and to disseminate the Islamic call to prayer. Chester analyses how sound maps can increase accessibility and ultimately increase collection of archival materials from broader audiences. Dr. Colter Harper and Judith Opoku-Boateng offer an article that highlights the ongoing effort to build a sustainable audiovisual archive that documents African music and culture at the University of Ghana. Renewing Cultural Resources and Sustaining J.H. Kwabena Nketia’s Vision for an African Music Archive in Ghana, is an important case study on the challenges of accessibility, preservation, and sustainability for audiovisual archives.

In the IASA Journal’s Profile section, authors have a space to offer opinions, creative writing, and other information that may be important to the community but that does not require full double-blind peer-review. In this issue, Paul T. Jackson offers a short vignette on the disappearance of parts for audiovisual equipment in Where Are the Parts?, and Michael Casey makes a second appearance with his ongoing epic media preservation fairy tale, Degralescence, Prince Codec, and the Kingdom of Media. (I will say nothing more of this fairy tale as an attempt not to spoil the ending for anyone.) Rounding out this issue of the Journal, Trent Purdy revives IASA’s interest in book reviews with his well-crafted review of Moving Image and Sound Collections for Archivists (Cocciolo, SAA, 2017). Does he recommend it or not? You’ll have to read Purdy’s review to find out.

You might also note, in this issue of the Journal, the appearance of a DOI (Digital Object Identifiers) for each article. The IASA Journal now has a registered DOI prefix and all publications listed in our online portal (and all moving forward) are assigned DOIs automatically by our Journal software and registered automatically with our DOI provider (CrossRef). The IASA Journal will mint DOIs for all individual articles as well as for each Journal issue. Once activated in CrossRef, then other journals will enforce their authors to use our DOIs when our articles are cited, creating broad referrals and enlarging IASA's presence in the literature worldwide. The IASA Journal will also require the use of DOIs when available in our article citation lists moving forward to uphold our part of the open-access and DOI bargain.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the contents of this Issue, as well as on the future of the IASA Journal.

Bertram Lyons, CA
IASA Editor