Information Bulletin no. 32, January 2000

FIAT President dreams of single organisation

This is an edited version of FIAT President Peter Dusek's greetings to the IASA Conference in Vienna last September.

"It is an honour for me to bring greetings from one of IASA's affiliated organisations. FIAT is the umbrella organisation for television archives, at least since IASA broadened its scope from audio to audiovisual. FIAT and IASA are looking in the same direction. If you think about the digital revolution of our society, I think at the end of this development there will be no need for different organisations like FIAT, FIAF, IASA, etc.

But at the moment there are big differences. FIAT mainly deals with companies which have television production archives and that means that we have to live with old formats, with high level information content and the data-reduced browsing quality of the digitization of audio-visual contents of today is only the first step in the direction we will reach in some years.

You all know that there have been some attempts to hold joint annual conferences between FIAT and IASA, but neither Bogensee nor Washington yielded the expected results. FIAT and IASA together are too many people to enable a real exchange of information. Many members of IASA are researchers, audio-enthusiasts or radio archivists and are not interested in the problems of the television world. The overlapping interests are not significant enough to continue with such an elephantine marriage. But instead of these big meetings, we now have a working group which will be of greater importance for both organisations. The topic is digitization of radio archives as part of the digital development in the information world. This working group will meet for the third time at this conference (previous meetings were in Vienna and Lausanne) and I hope that this group will hold a further meeting in the Spring of 2000 in Rome or in Baden-Baden and then in October 2000 during the FIAT General Assembly also in Vienna.

There is also a second field of co-operation. There will be a Joint Technical Symposium in Paris between FIAT, FIAF and IASA, starting on January 20, 2000. This meeting should be one more step in the right direction and I hope that in the future we will have this Joint Technical Symposium between the three main audio-visual archive organisations. So you see, I have a dream: in some years from now maybe in seven or ten years we will have a single audio-visual organisation with several branches. We will not have three Presidents and three General Secretaries, but a strong co-operation between members of ICA, EFLA, FIAF, FIAT and IASA.

I wish the IASA General Assembly 1999 good results and I wish all our organisations that my dream has the chance to be realised."

Vienna figures

The organisers of last year's annual conference in Vienna wish to report that the official attendance figure was 146 delegates from 37 countries. The number of delegates is definitely a record, as is probably the number of countries represented.

A number of delegates were subsidised by IASA but the organising committee also received Austrian subsidies to bring delegates from Eastern Europe, China, and Papua New Guinea. In particular, these funds came from the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and KulturKontakt, an agency which specialises in establishing and maintaining cultural contacts with Eastern Europe.

Birthday gifts

Dietrich Schüller writes: "The Phonogrammarchive is grateful to various manufacturers and distributors of audio equipment who, on the occasion of the Archive's centenary, have considerably enhanced its operations through their generous birthday gifts:

  • STUDER Audio Professional, for their gift of a STUDER A 810 Master Tape Recorder;

  • Dietmar KOLLER Recording Equipment, Vienna, in co-operation with SCHOEPS

  • Microphones Manufacturers, for their gift of a TASCAM DP 1 Portable R-DAT Recorder, along with a SCHOEPS MSTC 6 stereo microphone;

  • AKG, for providing the Archive with a pair of Blue Line CK 91 microphones, specially designed in collaboration with the Phonogrammarchiv for phonographic field work.

The Phonogrammarchiv has announced that this equipment will be used in co-operative projects with sister archives in developing countries.

Frank Rainer Huck retires

Detlef Humbert (Südwestrundfunk) writes:

"Frank Rainer Huck, IASA member since 1978, retired from working at Saarländische Rundfunk at the end of last year. He had been President of the German/Swiss-German branch of IASA from 1991 until 1994 and subsequently a Vice President of the branch.

Frank Rainer Huck studied musicology, comparative literature, and psychology and first joined the musicological institute of the University of Saarbrücken before starting a long career in 1970 at Saarländische Rundfunk, one of the ARD public Broadcasting Companies, as an editor for classical and popular music. In 1975 he was appointed Head of the Archives and Library Division. Already at that time he was a determined advocate of co-operation between the ARD archives in the Southwest corner of Germany (Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Baden-Baden).

He actively participated in the work of IASA, in particular the Radio Sound Archives Section and the Cataloguing & Documentation Committee. He was a member of the Editorial Group which compiled The IASA Cataloguing Rules

He drafted the Constitution for the IASA German/Swiss-German branch and compiled and published the Directory of sound archives and sound collections in Germany and Switzerland, better known as "The Huck".

We wish him all the best in his retirement and hope he will continue to support IASA as an individual member."

IASA/SEAPAVAA Conference 2000: call for papers

This is the first call for papers for the IASA/SEAPAVAA Conference in Singapore, July 3-7 2000, the theme of which will be: A Future for the Past

As audio-visual archives enter their second century, this overall theme embraces the idea that archivists must always project their thoughts in two directions, backwards and forwards, in order to ensure that the work of the past will remain intact for future generations. The theme will be explored through a number of sub-themes: selection and acquisition; digital collection management (including metadata); format and obsolescence; the professional and political context of AV (e.g. global co-operation; persuading governments to give AV archiving greater priority; legal & copyright issues; cultural restitution; training); the state of audio-visual archiving in South-East Asia.

Technical papers will be welcomed but should not be repetitions of those given at the Joint Technical Symposium held in Paris in January. They should seek to address current needs while anticipating future developments that may be already on the horizon.

A selection of all papers delivered at the conference will be published subsequently in the IASA Journal. The conference language will be English. Please submit abstracts of a maximum of 150 words by 1 March 2000 to: Ms Irene Lim, National Archives of Singapore, 1, Canning Rise, Singapore 179868, Republic of Singapore. Fax: +65 3393583; e-mail

All abstracts will be screened by the IASA/SEAPAVAA programme committee and applicants will be informed if their contributions are accepted by 1 May 2000.

Venezuela's libraries and archives struck by catastrophe

UNESCO Webworld news reported December 22nd 1999: "The greatest natural catastrophe, which has ever hit Venezuela as torrential rains poured non-stop last week causing thousands of deaths and destroying basic infrastructures and houses, has also severely affected the country's libraries and archives. According to Venezuela's National Library, a major part of the public library network of the states of Vargas, Miranda and Falcon has been destroyed. Many library service staff are dead, many are missing and there are enormous losses in equipment, collections, furniture and facilities. The overall damage in the information sector cannot yet be estimated. Also severely affected have been schools, museums, archives and cultural institutions.

UNESCO's Information and Informatics Division for Latin America and the Caribbean launched a call for world-wide solidarity from regional and international organizations, and from public and private institutions to offer prompt and generous cooperation to assist the Venezuelan Government in its efforts towards national reconstruction."

IASA has no members in Venezuela but the database compiled by the Archiving the Music World project, with support from IASA, lists two significant AV collections, including the national library's, which may have been affected by this disaster. Although the impression is "business as usual” at the national library's website (, I am sure that as Venezuelan sound archivists count the cost of this disaster any small gesture of support or sympathy from IASA might help to raise morale. Members are therefore encouraged to write to:

Ignacio Barreto, Biblioteca Nacional de Venezuela, Calle Soledad con Calle las Piedritas, Efif. Rogi, Apt. Post. 6525, Zona Ind. La Trinidad, 1071 Caracas, Venezuela (e-mail

Gustavo Colmenares, Gerente, Fundacion Vicente Emilio Sojo, Avenida Santiago de Chile 17, Quinta Raquel, Los Caobos, 1071 Caracas, Venezuela (e-mail

Proposed merger of UNESCO PGI and IIP

Kurt Degeller (IASA's UNESCO representative) reports on the 30th session of the UNESCO General Conference held November 11-12, 1999:  "IASA's primary concern, the merging of the General Information Programme (PGI) and the Intergovernmental Informatics Programme (IIP) to form a new programme, was discussed in working group V. Proposals for a new programme were presented in the document 30 C/14 drafted by Marianne Scott (Canada) and the joint board meeting of the IIP and PGI in June 1999. The draft had been circulated and I took the opportunity to propose several amendments concerning the role of preservation and audio-visual media, many of which had been considered in the final version of the document. In its report following the examination of document 30 C/14, the Executive Committee of UNESCO mentions that "one delegate stressed that the role of libraries and archives in the new programme needs to be enhanced and that stronger co-operation with the relevant NGOs in this field be sought".

The Executive Board has now made a proposal to the General Conference recommending that it authorise the Board "to replace the General Information Programme and the Intergovernmental Informatics Programmes by a new programme, as recommended by the PGI Council and the IIP Committee, and taking account of the visions, values and objectives outlined in document 30 C/14”. Pending the establishment of the new programme, an interim committee consisting of the members of the bureaux of the PGI Council and the IIP Committee will be established. Finally, The Board invites "the Director General to prepare, in co-operation with the interim committee, a new programme and draft statutes of an intergovernmental body for the new programme and to submit these to the Executive Board at its 160th session."

In my short intervention during the debate in working group V, I emphasised that the new programme must maintain the balance between preservation and access, documents in analogue and digital form, analogue documents in paper and in audio-visual form. I mentioned also the necessity of training in the field of audio-visual archiving, the planned virtual training centre for audio-visual archiving and the JTS to be held in Paris in January. Finally, I offered the services of IASA in support of the elaboration of the new programme.

As there was no substantial opposition against the merging of the two programmes, we can presume that the General Conference will follow the proposal of the Executive Board and that a commission will meet in summer 2000".

Bern, November 16th 1999

MOW registrations

Joie Springer, UNESCO, writes: "I to encourage the submission of more audiovisual collections for registration on the Memory of the World Register. Information on nominating collections can be obtained from [the UNESCO] website at the following address:

A list of basic texts and databases can also be found at:
or can be obtained by writing to us at the following address:
Division of Information and Informatics, UNESCO, 1, rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15

Millennial collaboration in Manesar

A workshop entitled Preservation for the Millennium: an International Collaboration , sponsored by the American Institute for Indian Studies, Archives and Research Centre for Ethnomusicology was held in Manesar, just outside New Delhi, India from 5-12 December 1999. Delegates from South Africa, Ghana, Sudan, China, Papua New Guinea, Nepal, the Philippines, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, the USA, Australia, Austria, Cuba and Peru were funded from a grant provided by the Ford Foundation to attend. The organisers were Tony Seeger and Shubha Chaudhuri, and they provided a model of gracious and focused leadership.

The focus of the meeting was on the needs of research archives. Delegates had written papers before the meeting dealing with various aspects of audio-visual archiving, such as challenges, objectives, dissemination, networking, and funding.

The workshop began with delegates undertaking a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of their own archives. Later in the week, delegates presented questions centring on technical, ethical and copyright issues to a panel of IASA members Anthony Seeger , Grace Koch and Dietrich Schüller.

Each delegate participated in two working groups and two debates. The debates were highlights of the conference. One pitted archivists who wanted to increase their budgets against administrators who were to counter all arguments and refuse funding. The second debate was a three-way role play amongst performers, fieldworkers and archivists criticising the interactions amongst one another.

The working groups formulated a series of papers on ideal administrative structures for audio-visual archives, a philosophical statement on the importance of archives to society, possible archive services and strategies for their implementation, general principles of copyright, ethics, and guidelines for producing model forms for depositors, performers, pre-fieldwork, recording permissions and general user agreements. After the documents has been formulated, they were presented to the Indian Archives Resources Community, who offered questions and comments.

The results of the workshop will be published at a later date and it is hoped that IASA members will be able to learn more about it during the Singapore conference.

Norway's digital radio archive project under way

Starting in January 2000, a co-operation between the NRK and the National Library of Norway will include the digitization of all of the NRK Historical radio archive, plus digital deposit of two NRK radio channels.

The Historical archive contains some 45,000 quarter-inch tapes. Three tape engineers will use three workstations each in a daily routine whereby it is hoped they can digitize 225 tapes a week. Each recording will be digitised as .wav file, a 384 kb/s MPEG 1 layer 2 version, and a RealAudio version.

The digital deposit will be in the 384 kb/s MPEG format, and will be downloaded nightly from the NRK to the National Library, Rana Division.

An order has been placed for a mass storage system which will hold these files together with more digital objects, stemming from the library's other activities.

The financing, the people and soon the hardware will all be in place. We hope to report back with news of the progress. For more details, contact Karl Erik Andersen, Broadcast Archivist, Sound and Image Archive, National Library of Norway, Rana Division, NO-8607, Mo i Rana, Norway, tel. +47 75 12 11 82.

indecs moves

Previous issues of this Bulletin have reported on the rapid progress made by the indecs project. A brief report on the recent Washington conference "<names, numbers and networks>" appears at

Presentations were heard from Oliver Morgan (SMPTE), Glen Secor (Yankee Rights Management), Ralph Swick (W3C), David Martin (Book Data), Clifford Lynch (CNI). Matt Puccini (MUZE) and Nic Garnett (Intertrust) as well as Godfrey Rust, Mark Bide, Matt Puccini and Keith Hill representing the indecs consortium. Keynote speeches were given by Dr Leonardo Chiariglione, CSELT who reviewed the technological challenges for digital content management, and Cary Sherman of RIAA who updated the conference on developments within the SDMI initiative.

indecs moves across the globe to Sydney, Australia, for its next conference "Putting works to rights". Described as "an evaluation and implementation conference", this will be held 9th and 10th March 2000 at the Wentworth Hotel, Sydney and will be hosted by the Australian Copyright Industry Alliance (ACIA). Attendance will cost US$ 450. For further details contact INDECS Conference, c/o Copyright Agency Ltd, Level 19, 157 Liverpool Street, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia, or fax +61 2 9394 7601.

Media convergence - data divergence?

Last year I wrote a paper for the IASA Journal entitled "Audiovisual resource discovery on the web" (IJ 11). This examined just one kind of metadata, the descriptive kind, or the kind used to identify resources on the Internet. The two metadata schemes featured were Dublin Core and IMS.

Not only have things moved on swiftly since then but it is clear that there are many kinds of metadata relevant to sound archives, three at least, and within those three 'partitions' there already appears to be a bewildering range of schemes, each struggling to become the adopted standard in some place or another. It could be said that while media is converging the means to document them is diverging so that once again the scenario which confronts AV archivists is one of having to choose between mutually incompatible schemes. But I, for one, am not so pessimistic. Taking its cue from the American Z39.50 standard ,which has proved that interoperability between disparate computer systems is possible, information science in the Web environment promises the paradoxical scenario of uniformity with flexibility. Legacy cataloguing systems (as Stefan Hoffmann recommends [1]) governed by long-standing rules for spelling names and formulating uniform titles, can be harnessed to metadata stored within digital storage systems. Such metadata will consist mainly of numbers and codes since these are the data which machines understand best.

This present text is an expanded and updated version of the survey Metadata in sound archives which I presented to the Working Session of the Cataloguing Documentation Committee at IASA's Vienna conference. It was not my intention there to go into detail about any of the many initiatives now running, but just to present an overview of where the main action appeared to be and where it was heading, a map of my own Holzweg, my track through the forest. By now there will be other IASA members who have a better understanding than me and who have probably charted their own knowledge of metadata better than me.

At the evaluation conference for the indecs project (interoperability of data in e-commerce systems) in July this year one of the speakers illustrated metadata with a blank screen. One of the audience said that it was inaccurate because the screen had form - four edges [2]. There are indeed many dreams and ideas about metadata: so far it is quite difficult to recognise a scheme as being, for instance, the successor to a MARC record made for one of our recordings.

Emanations from the various metadata fora are of little help either. Rhetoric prevails over action. In April last year, the third Metadata Workshop and Concertation Meeting, organised by the European Commission, convened in Luxembourg. The major conclusions of the workshop can be summarised as follows:

  • for electronic documents and resources produced today, there is a pressing need for tools and systems to create and maintain metadata;

  • further research in this area is necessary;

  • the matter is complex, as requirements of different types have to be met, electronic commerce and long-term preservation of resources;

  • there is a need for a highest common denominator across domains and services. It is not yet clear what the specification for this is, and co-operation between many actors is necessary.

Read about the workshop at or read a report in Ariadne (20)

There seem to me to be three main kinds (or layers) of metadata likely to become the responsibility, in part or in total, of documentation and technical staff in audiovisual archives:

1. metadata for resource discovery

2. metadata for preservation

3. metadata for access rights and management

Metadata for resource discovery: Dublin Core, Z39.50

If you do not already have a digital storage system in operation, the closest you can get to seeing resource discovery metadata in action is to create a Dublin Core (DC) record for your archive's own website via DC-Dot:

The DC and Z39.50 communities appear to have pooled concerns of late. Work proceeds on a project called the DC Metadata Initiative (DCMI). The lead figure in this is Stu Weibel from OCLC. See his "State of the DC Metadata initiative" in D-Lib Magazine (April 1999) Consider also the work of DSTC (Distributed Systems Technology Centre) in Australia, which has an input to DCMI: Renato Ianella and Rachel Heery "Dublin Core Metadata Initiative - structure and operation"

Metadata for preservation: CEDARS, OAIS, David Bearman v Jeff Rothenberg, MPEG -7

At the Luxembourg Workshop, Michael Day (UKOLN) talked about metadata for preservation from the perspective of the CEDARS project (CURL Exemplars in Digital ARchiveS, where CURL = Consortium of University Research Libraries). The aims of this project are to promote awareness and identify appropriate strategies for collection management and long-term preservation, based on a realistic sample of current digital resources. Day noted that it was becoming increasingly recognised that metadata had an important role in the ongoing management of digital resources, including their preservation.

Day also discussed in some detail the model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS) being developed by the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems and its application in the CEDARS project. He concluded that digital preservation is increasingly becoming an important issue for libraries, archives and other organisations and that the creation and maintenance of relevant metadata can contribute to the solving of some digital preservation problems. He specifically pointed to the OAIS reference model as providing a common framework of terms and concepts:

  • Content Information

  • Representation Information

  • Preservation Description Information (broken down into Reference, Context, Provenance, and Fixity information)

  • Packaging Information

  • Descriptive Information

  • Projects, other than CEDARS, that are investigating the use of the OAIS model include NEDLIB in Europe and PANDORA in Australia. The British Library is also basing the design and development of its digital library on OAIS.

For Day's paper see: [3] . For the OAIS model see

Meanwhile, I can recommend re-tracing the debate in the US over Jeff Rothenberg's theories beginning in Scientific American some years ago and continued in last year's report Avoiding Technological Quicksand: Finding a Viable Technical Foundation for Digital Preservation... (Washington DC, CLIR, 1999) (available at

and the rejoinder by David Bearman "Reality and chimeras in the preservation of electronic records"D-Lib Magazine (April 1999) (Albrecht Haefner reviewed the Rothenberg report in IASA Journal no.14).

Great expectations are being aroused by MPEG-7 the standard for multi-media due to be published in 2001 which incorporates metadata for audiovisual media. See Jane Hunter "MPEG-7 behind the scenes" in D-Lib Magazine (September 1999) or visit the MPEG website at

Metadata for access/rights management (SDMI, Intertrust, indecs, SMEF)

Rather than weigh up the pros and cons of each of the main players in e-commerce as it relates to audiovisual media, I will leave you to draw your own conclusions by visiting the respective web-sites:

  • SDMI (Secure Digital Music Initiative) (and much reported in the music industry press, e.g. Billboard and Financial Times Music & Copyright).

  • indecs project (reported on elsewhere in this Bulletin)

  • intertrust (with their widely supported and financed Magex e-commerce system).

For a recent view of intellectual property rights in the digital environment in the United States see Henry M Gladney "Digital dilemma: intellectual property" in D-Lib Magazine (December 1999) This is a distillation of the full report The digital dilemma: intellectual property in the information age available on-line at
t. It will shortly be printed in book form by the National Academies.

Meanwhile, the broadcast industry, in Europe at least, is intent on providing its own solution to digital media management. Information is evidently hard to glean but there was a press release issued by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) last year concerning Project P/Meta: This is based on work developed at the BBC, specifically the Media Data Group led by Carol Owens which has developed a Standard Media Exchange Framework (SMEF). To this exchange reference model they will endeavour to add SMPTE metadata. Members of the IASA Radio Sound Archives Section are invited to contribute more information on this development.

End notes

1. Stefan Hoffmann. "Between digitisation and mass storage: system structures in digital archives" IASA Journal, no.14 (December 1999)

2. The speaker was not entirely honest in his representation of metadata as a blank screen. Anyone who uses the Internet will already have been using metadata in the form of the URL or unique resource location. "URLs have been serving the combined purpose of identifying a resource and describing its location for some time now, but they are not a satisfactory means of uniquely identifying a digital resource. The URL simply points to the current location of the resource. If a resource is moved to a new location, the previous URL is no longer useful. A persistent and unique identifier would be specific to one particular digital resource and preserve access to that resource regardless of its location, as long as it still existed on the Internet". PADI: Preserving Access to Digital Information

3. A new CEDARS data catalogue is under review at the time of writing and will be featured in a future Bulletin.

Chris Clark, The British Library National Sound Archive

Ringing the changes in London (again)

Please note that from April 1st this year telephone and fax numbers for members based in London will change. All seven-digit numbers under the area code (0)171 become 020 7nnn nnnn and all seven-digit numbers under the area code (0)181 become 020 8nnn nnnn. Therefore, from outside the UK, the numbers for the IASA President Crispin Jewitt become (tel) +44 020 7412 7424 (fax) +44 020 7412 7422 and for the IASA Editor, (tel) +44 020 7412 7411 (fax) +44 020 7412 7413.

Sites and sounds

The website of the National Gallery of the Spoken Word (see Bulletin no.31) is at

Calendar of events

Date Event Location
January 17 - 18 IASA Executive Board, mid-year meeting Paris
January 20 - 22 JTS (Joint Technical Symposium) Paris
February 19 -22 AES 108th Convention Paris
April 13 - 15 ASRA Annual Conference "Sound of Federation" Melbourne
May 31 - June 4 ARSC Conference University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
June 3 - 10 56th FIAF Annual Conference London (National Film Theatre)
July 3 - 7 IASA/SEAPAVAA Annual Conference "A future for the past" Singapore
August 6 - 11 IAML Annual Conference Edinburgh
August 13 - 18 66th IFLA Council and General Conference Jerusalem
September 12 - 18 Berlin Phonogrammarchiv Centenary Berlin
September 20 - 24 IAML-Gruppe Bundesrepublik Deutschland/IASA-Ländergruppe Deutschland/Deutschschweiz Leipzig
September 21 - 26 ICA 14th International Congress Seville
September 22 - 25 AES 109th Convention Los Angeles
October FIAT Annual World Conference Vienna
November FIAF Executive Committee New York
July 8 - 14 IAML Annual Conference Périgueux, France
August 16 -25 67th IFLA Council and General Conference Boston, U.S.
September 23 - 26 IASA/ARSC Annual Conference London
August 4 - 9 IAML Annual Conference Berkeley, U.S.
  68th IFLA Council and General Conference Glasgow, U.K.
September IASA Annual Conference Aarhus, Denmark

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