1.2 Roles involved in activities of Sound and Audiovisual Archives

Eight different roles may be encountered in the course of work in sound and audiovisual archives. Each of these roles may belong to a separate individual or group, but in some cases a single person or group can fulfil multiple functions.

  • Creators of content that is subsequently recorded: including authors, composers, broadcast program makers and arrangers of pre-existing works. These people will often be the holders of copyright.
  • Performers: the individuals or groups whose sounds, images, and movements are recorded.
  • Recordists: those who actually affix the sound and audiovisual recordings on specific media. These include, for example, engineers in recording studios and collectors of field recordings.
  • Intellectual Property owners: individuals, communities, organizations, or companies that have rights over original works and recordings. These may include creators of content, performers or their communities, and recordists, or their assignees.
  • Depositors: individuals, groups, corporations, or institutions that deposit recordings in archives.
  • Archivists: staff or owners of archives who organize collections and provide access to them.
  • Technicians: specialized staff of archives and archival services who are responsible for the preservation of audiovisual carriers and the migration of data from one carrier to another. In some instances, they may also be responsible for restoration of sounds and audiovisual data.
  • Users: those who access collections held in archives.

These roles are linked through their relationship to the audiovisual recordings and the data about those recordings. There are ethical issues related to each of these roles at various stages in the archival process. In the following, ethical principles applicable to the various roles are grouped around the basic archival tasks of acquisition, processing and preservation, and providing access.