Information Bulletin no. 29, April 1999

Vienna prospects

Arrangements for the IASA Conference in Vienna are at an advanced stage and invitations will be going out shortly. Dietrich Schüller provides a vorgeschmack of what we can expect from this key event in IASA’s history:

"This will be the 30th IASA Annual Conference and it will mark the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the Phonogrammarchiv in Vienna. The theme of the conference is A Century of Sound Archiving. The venue will be the Headquarters of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, in the heart of the city and the Farewell Dinner, by demand of Grace Koch, at Demel, k.u.k. Hofzuckerbäcker."

A reminder of the conference dates: September 18th - 22nd.

HARMONICA and EBLIDA meet the Music Industry

Copyright needs to be balanced with harmonised exemptions and security backed up with a code of good practice.

On the 21st and 22nd January 1999 the Austrian Academy of Sciences hosted a joint meeting of the HARMONICA Project and EBLIDA to discuss music libraries and copyright. Representatives attended from the phonograph producers, music publishers, composers' organisations, rights collection societies, broadcast organisations, together with representatives from public library music departments, music conservatory libraries, music and audio-visual archives, music information centres and software research companies.

All parties appreciated the need to recognise and protect the copyright and neighbouring rights vested in printed and recorded music as well as in the music elements in multimedia. While the industry needs to do all it can to protect those rights, libraries have a role to make materials available to their clients; archives and cultural institutions need to digitise and all may need to copy for the purpose of preservation and access.

Though these positions may appear to be diametrically opposed, the Forum in Vienna revealed much on which compromise might be reached. While the European Parliament is debating changes to copyright regulations and the phonograph companies are developing both copy protection and watermarking against piracy, some music libraries feel that they are being left out of the discussion, despite the active lobbying by much of the rest of the library sector.

Music libraries and archives have much to do to keep up to date with copyright legislation and the exemptions that govern their practice.

The main issue that emerged at the Forum was the lack of knowledge on all sides of the position and needs of the other parties. In order that the libraries can respect the position of rights holders, and that the rights holders in turn can understand and support the legitimate needs of libraries, archives and their users, they have all to talk to each other. It was clear at the Forum that many parties were hearing the views of the others for the first time.

Each of the different institutions: public libraries, specialist collections, sound and audio-visual archives and music education institutions must complete a matrix of needs and practices. With this in hand there can be a sensible basis for discussion with all the rights holders, leading to agreement on a code of good practice in these institutions which respects and is respected by the music industry.

A full report of the Vienna Forum is in preparation and will be published. For further information contact: HARMONICA, /

IASA travel and research grants - a reminder

There is still time to apply for travel grants for assistance to attend the Vienna Conference in September.

The purposes of the travel grants are to encourage active participation at the IASA annual conferences by those who have no alternative funding and to encourage continuing participation in the work of IASA.

Individuals submitting requests are required to be currently paid-up members of IASA and willing to participate in the work of IASA. Your application will be strengthened if you can demonstrate that such participation is current or planned.

IASA Committees may also consider bringing members from less developed countries to join the conference and share their experiences.

Funding for grants is limited and they will only cover a proportion of the costs involved.

Proposals for travel grants to attend the Vienna conference must be received by the Secretary General of IASA by the end of April 1999 in order to be considered at the mid-year Board meeting to be held in May. Please send your application to:
IASA Secretary General, Albrecht Häfner, Suedwestrundfunk, Sound Archives, D-76522 Baden-Baden, Germany, Fax +49 7221 929 2094

Research grants are also available to assist in carrying out specific projects and these are always open for application. Anyone planning a project which concerns the interests of IASA and which requires start-up funding or which requires financial support for work already underway is invited to apply to the Secretary General in writing (see address above). Applications will be considered as and when the Board of IASA meets, so the next chance will be at its mid-year meeting in May and then at Annual Conference in September.

Digital Library Conferences

The 8th DELOS workshop on User Interfaces in Digital Libraries was held in Stockholm, Sweden, 21-23 October 1998. Papers are available (or will be shortly) at

The DELOS working group is an action of the ERCIM (European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics digital library initiative.

Related to both, the Third European Conference on Research and Advanced Technologies for Digital Libraries (ECDL'99) will take place in Paris, 22-24 September 1999:

Trouble-free digital

From EBLIDA Director, Barbara Schleihagen, via IASA General Secretary:

"I am pleased to announce that the ECUP+ brochure Licensing Digital Resources: How to avoid the legal pitfalls? by Emanuella Giavarra is now also available in printed A5 format. Individuals copies can be ordered free of charge at the EBLIDA secretariat at the address given below. EBLIDA members will automatically receive a free copy. The brochure is also available in English, French and very soon in German for downloading from the ECUP website at:

This licensing warning brochure has been compiled in order to help the reader to understand the legal consequences of certain clauses in a licence. The publication takes you clause by clause through a standard licence and explains the impact of each of them. It also provides a list of clauses to avoid and a licensing check-list. We hope that you will find this publication useful whilst negotiating licences for electronic resources.

EBLIDA, P.O. Box 43300, NL-2504 AH The Hague, Netherlands

Digitisation of Radio Archives

Per Holst, Chair of the IASA Radio Sound Archives Committee reports on the Joint IASA/FIAT Meeting in Lausanne which took place on January 25th, 1999:

" This was the second time such a joint meeting between IASA and FIAT had been arranged. Last year the meeting was held at Austrian Broadcasting Corporation in Vienna and this year Jean-François Cosandier and Ralf Dahler from Radio Suisse Romande (RSR) had generously offered to host the meeting.

The digital production systems of RSR and the SIRANAU Project (Integrated Radio System for Digital Audio Archiving) were presented. The demonstration of the functionality of the system gave a convincing impression of the possibilities the system contains with regard to fast and easy access to archival material.

Albrecht Haefner from Suedwestrundfunk (SWR) gave a report about the positive aspects of the application of digital mass storage technology in radio archives based on the experiences gained from the SWR pilot project Digital Media Archive System (DMAS).

Pekka Gronow and Markku Petaejae from Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) reported on the need to implement a digital archive system in the radio sound archive as a consequence of the introduction of CAR (Computer Aided Radio). The introduction of a digital archive system is scheduled to take place 2000-2001. The digitisation of the older analogue archives will be based on archival materiel frequently used.

Lars Gaustad from The National Library, Mo i Rana in Norway reported on the co-operation between The National Library and Norwegian Radio (NRK) about digitisation of Norwegian sound recordings. Until now 300 hours of sound from the historical collections at NRK have been digitised by The National Library. Access possibilities to the sound files are now being tested by NRK.

President of FIAT Peter Dusek and IASA Secretary General Albrecht Haefner recommended to continue the co-operation in the coming years for the exchange of information about digitisation of Radio and TV-archives.

Progress with archiving the music world

It was announced in IASA Bulletin 27 that IASA had made its first grant to a research project, Archiving The Music World. This is a summary report of progress to date.

First, a reminder of the project’s overall aim, which is "to assist the preservation, accessibility and development of collections of music throughout the world particularly in countries where resources and expertise are scarce, and existing collections are in danger of being lost".

The organisations involved are the British Library National Sound Archive (International Music Collection) and Music for Change. Progress to date includes:

  • List of sources drawn up

  • Sources researched

  • Initial report written

  • Questionnaire designed written in English, French and Spanish

  • Introductory letters written in English, French and Spanish

  • Preparation of database structure and questionnaire on computer

  • Basic contact information of all archives entered onto the database

  • All questionnaires and letters copied, collated with IASA ;information (i.e. the IASA Leaflet) and sent out

The project’s director, Janet Topp-Fargion comments: "The project is progressing well, despite a slow start due mostly to difficulties with setting up the computer database. The NSA had to acquire and install Microsoft Access software specifically for this project. Unfortunately, the two researchers have had to work on two different versions, making the merging of data from one computer to the other a time-consuming task. An exceptional computer programme and database has nevertheless been constructed, which will be an extremely useful tool not only for the completion of this project, but also for future use.

Completed questionnaires are now coming in steadily and at present almost 100 have been returned. So far replies have usually provided full and detailed answers to the questions. In addition, many respondents have expressed their enthusiasm for the project and a number of them an interest in linking with IASA and becoming actively involved in the current project.

We anticipate the database will be completed and ready for publication by the end of April 1999."

Standard for trading in digital content? Whose will it be?

A seminar organised by the British Standards Institution (BSI) in London on March 22nd attracted a wide range of interested parties: publishers, librarians, rights societies, higher education, broadcasters and commercial companies. Your IASA Editor was there with pencil poised.

Eight varied presentations demonstrated the rapid progress being made with providing a secure and trustworthy (or low-risk) context for trading in digital content (also known as e-commerce) but also indicated that there are several worthy contenders for standardising the various components of the new trading floor.

The central preoccupation of what is essentially information engineering, is that machines discourse in numbers while people discourse in languages. The familiar ISBN, ISSN, ISRC, ISAN, ISWC numbers are already in place (or jostling for a place) to cover the mechanical requirement, though some or all could be supplanted by the new number on the block, the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) which is the product of an open consortium effort led by commercial companies such as Elsevier, Microsoft and OCLC (see Less certain is the human requirement which generally goes by the name "metadata". When I wrote the article "Audio-visual resource discovery on the Web" for IASA Journal no.11, I was confident that a consensus was emerging. Since then new liaisons have been created between the teams behind metadata components such as Dublin Core and the Z39.50 protocol, XML and RDF have gained pre-eminence (and may threaten the former pairing) and a new fast-track project INDECS seems set to bring all developments (including new data models proposed by IFLA which are of interest to the library and archive community) together by the end of the year in support of e-commerce.

No mention was made, however, of the all-American contender, the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI), otherwise known as the Madison Project and currently number one hot topic at RIAA Online ( During the panel discussion which wound up the morning’s proceedings of the BSI seminar, it was contentiously proposed that to the recording industry all this earnest talk about inter-operable metadata, the functional granularity thereof and the disambiguation of language was pointless. Indeed, ‘functional granularity’, which means that you do something only if you have to, could be considered the cornerstone of the recording industry’s policy in the face of digital distribution. The major record companies will not be sitting up and taking notice of the metadata experts until the bottom line (their sales chart) tells them to. It will certainly be important for IASA to watch for signs of the industry’s change of attitude because any member archive concerned with collecting commercial product may find they have to re-structure entire systems, from acquisitions, through cataloguing, to preservation and access in order to accommodate the changes to the common distribution formats such as compact discs and cassettes. The first signs are there to see: when the Madison Project was launched in December last year, two days later the U.S. trade publication Billboard announced that the stock market value of the three biggest record retailing chains had fallen by a combined $175, the main reason cited being the expectation that their share of sound carrier sales will decline (source: Music & Copyright, February 1999, page 8).

Copies of papers presented will be posted at where you can already find a number of leading edge articles about this emerging area of standardisation.

Other sources to follow up:

David Bearman, Godfrey Rust, Stuart Weibel, Eric Miller, Jennifer Trant. "A common model to support interoperable metadata: progress report on reconciling metadata requirements from the Dublin Core and INDECS/DOI communities". D-Lib Magazine (January 1999) vol.5 no.1.- available at

SDMI questions and answers at

Film soundtrack preservation

Gordon Reid writes: "CEDAR Audio has developed a prototype algorithm that removes large, low frequency thumps of the type encountered on degraded optical soundtracks. These thumps are not simply large clicks (which can be removed successfully using CEDAR’s various flavours of Declicking and Descratching algorithms) but are sounds that may have little transient information and which may extend for many thousands of samples.

The company has few examples of this type of audio in its archive, and would be keen to receive other examples from national (or commercial) archives and libraries. This material would be used only for research purposes, and CEDAR would be happy to sign agreements to this effect if requested.

If successful, the algorithm will be further developed into a product for the professional audio industries (including, of course, forensic agencies, archives and libraries). We believe that IASA members would find this useful in their restoration and preservation work."

CEDAR’s website is at, Gordon Reid can be contacted by e-mail,, or phone + 44 1223 414117.

The IASA Guide to Acronyms

An "acronym" would be a good collective noun for a group of information specialists. Every time the door closes on a meeting at which one or more information specialists are present you can be sure that the rate of acronym citation will increase rapidly to one or more per minute (the agenda may consist of nothing but acronyms) and by the end of the meeting several new ones may have been coined.

Most IASA members are information specialists (technical experts are not exempt) and in response to an inability to remember the full spelling of the acronyms they themselves may have created, Information Bulletin No.30 (which will be the first in the new design format, by the way) will include a list of those in current circulation in connection with IASA business. But.... it will have to be a joint effort. So, if you come across an acronym relevant to IASA work between now and the deadline for the next Bulletin (mid-June), please send it (and its full form) in an e-mail to the IASA Editor:, or fax a selection to + 44 171 412 7412.


In IASA Bulletin 28 it was mistakenly announced that IFLA had published Ray Edmondson’s A philosophy of audiovisual archiving. UNESCO is the publisher, as would have immediately have been apparent if you followed up the url reference. The text of the Web-based version of the IASA Bulletin was changed as soon as the error had been pointed out. Apologies to UNESCO and the author for any subsequent inconvenience.

Calendar of events

Date Event Location
April FIAF Annual Congress Madrid
July 18 - 23 IAML Annual Conference Wellington, New Zealand
August 16 - 19 Collecting and Safeguarding Oral Traditions Khon Kaen, Thailand
August 20 - 28 IFLA Council and General Conference Bangkok
August 19 - 25 ICTM World Conference Hiroshima
September FIAT/IFTA Conference Rio de Janeiro
September 18 - 22 IASA Annual Conference Vienna
September 24 - 27 AES Convention New York
November FIAF Executive Committee Toulouse

This Information Bulletin was compiled by:

The Editor of IASA, Chris Clark,
The British Library National Sound Archive, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB, UK,
tel. 44 (0)20 7412 7411, fax 44 (0)20 7412 7413, e-mail

Printed in Budapest, Hungary