1.1 Scope and activities of Sound and Audiovisual Archives

The roles and purposes of the many types of sound and audiovisual archives determine how they will relate to collections and their owners. The national archives of a given country usually have the role of maintaining the records of the government, part of which may include sound and audiovisual material. A national audiovisual archive may have the role of acquiring and maintaining the output of the commercial recording industry resulting in a strong relationship with the copyright owners. Such an archive may have legal status in some form, such as being a repository for legal deposit for audiovisual material produced within the country. A broadcast archive may be part of a government funded broadcaster or part of a commercial broadcasters’ asset management team. A research archive may be part of a government funded initiative or may exist within the faculty of a university department. Many archives and collections have some or all of these roles, and may occasionally need to expand their roles into other areas.

Sound and audiovisual archives, in line with other types of archives, concentrate upon three principal activities: collection building and management, preservation, and dissemination. Although ethical guidelines exist for some specific aspects of audiovisual archiving, no single statement of ethics from related archival organizations and institutions covers all of the activities of the IASA membership.

The following document provides a statement of principles relevant to each of the major activities undertaken by the different kinds of sound and audiovisual archives within IASA. Individual collectors and owners of private archives may also find the following principles useful as a guide for their ethical responsibilities relating to their holdings. These principles cover both present practice and future developments. References are also given to existing documents that may be helpful to IASA members.