Information Bulletin no. 37, April 2001

Executive objectives

At its mid-year meeting in London in March, IASA's Executive Board determined three primary objectives that will govern its work over the next eighteen months.

  • Fulfil the audiovisual remit of IASA
    Members voted overwhelmingly several years ago to extend the scope of IASA to include 'visual' but little has been achieved. If the establishment of a new Research Archives Section is accepted by the General Assembly in London it will be encouraged to include small cross-media subject-based archives in its remit. The inclusion of audiovisual content in IASA conference programmes will be mandatory. IASA will seek to engage with metadata standardisation activities.

  • Extend IASA's geographical reach
    The Research Archives Section, if established, will provide a focus for recruiting small institutions in Africa, Asia and Latin America and will serve as a hub for their involvement in IASA business.
    The IASA website will be developed to meet the needs of a more widely separated membership

  • Strengthen IASA's external influence
    IASA will support the development of the CCAAA as the umbrella body for AV archive associations. The IASA website will seek to address an external as well as an internal membership.

New members

Centro Studi Jazz Arrigo Polillo, Siena, Fortezza Medicea 10, 53100 Siena, Italy.
Institution devoted to the conservation of jazz recordings with special emphasis on Italian jazz and jazz in Italy.

Cerchiari, Luca. Milan
Professor Cerchiari plans to develop a modern public sound archive for the region of Lombardy and Northern Italy.

Chin Man Iris Wong, Hong Kong
Ms Wong is Media Services Librarian at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, which has a collection of more than 30,000 media materials.

National & University Library (Slovenia), Music Collection, Tujaska 1, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
The collection includes 77,000 printed music items, 20,000 music recordings and 6,000 audiovisual items. The scope includes music of all kinds with a special emphasis on classical music.

Radio Guangdong, 686 Renminbei Road, Guangzhou, China
The aim of the station is to build a quality digital sound archive covering material produced for Guangdong Province, in particular music, literature and arts, language.

Sampradaya, No.1 Musiri Subramaniam Salai, Mylapore, Chennai 600 004, India
The centre for preserving the musical traditions of south India, especially Carnatic music. The Director is Geetha Rajagopal, e-mail

ARSC-IASA Annual Conference, London: final call for papers

This is the final call for papers on the theme Why collect? The purpose of audiovisual archives. See Information Bulletin No.35 for more information. Proposals for a paper or poster presentation should be sent in the form of a title and summary along with your name and address to one of the programme committee:

John Spence, IASA Vice-President: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Archives, G.P.O. 9994, Sydney, NSW 2001, Australia. Fax 011 61 2 9333 2525, email

Alan Ward: The British Library National Sound Archive, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB, United Kingdom. Fax + 44 20 7412 7441, email

Dr Michael Biel, ARSC 2nd V.P.: P.O. Box 822, Morehead, Kentucky 40351, United States. Email

The deadline for this call is June 15 2001

Full details of the conference and a provisional programme are now available at the ARSC-IASA Conference website, which is linkable from the ARSC and IASA sites respectively: .

IASA-FIAT change date

Due to unforeseen arrangements at Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv in Potsdam-Babelsberg the joint IASA/FIAT meeting announced in Information Bulletin no. 36 has been moved to 21-22 May 2001.

For further information please contact: Per Holst, Radio Sound Archives Section, c/o Danish Broadcasting Corporation, E-mail , Fax: 45 3520 5568".

Merging audio and visual at National Library of Wales

Iestyn Hughes writes:

"The Wales Film and Television Archive (WFTA) amalgamated with the National Library of Wales (NLW) Sound and Moving Image Collection on 1 April to form the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales / Archif Cenedlaethol Sgrin a Sain Cymru. The new archive is the fruit of close collaboration between Sgrin: Media Agency Wales, and the National Library of Wales. The Archive will eventually be housed at the National Library, where building work is currently under way to provide additional space and facilities. In the meantime, the Archive will continue to operate from the three current sites in south and mid Wales.

Iestyn Hughes, formerly Assistant Keeper responsible for the Photographic and Sound and Moving Image Collections and for corporate planning at the National Library, has been appointed to head the new archive.

The formation of the new archive ends a long period of uncertainty for both WFTA and NLW staff, and heralds what we all hope will be a period of growth and opportunity. The archive begins life with 50% additional funding, and has medium-term plans to develop and deliver significant improvements to the services currently provided by each party. The amalgamation is not so much about 'now' but about securing a long term, stable future for the national audio-visual collections, and about providing the Welsh public with a level of service of which they can be proud."

AIATSIS on the move

In January 2001, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) moved into new, purpose-built premises. The archival collections were transferred during early morning hours to ensure that they would remain in cool conditions, and the move of the collections was efficiently and successfully accomplished in less than a week.

The new building is located on Acton Peninsula in the middle of Canberra, the Federal capital of Australia and is sited next to the new national Museum of Australia. Both AIATSIS and the Museum of Australia opened to the public on Sunday, 11 March. The new location places AIATSIS within the
precinct of the National Library, the National Gallery, the High Court and other national institutions.

Visit the new AIATSIS web site at for more information on the audiovisual collections.

NSA networked and a message for IASA

The launch of CADENSA, the NSA's catalogue of sound recordings, on the Internet ( ) at the end of January marked a step-change in the evolution of NSA services with a far-reaching increase in their accessibility and availability. The experience gained from this and the prospects it holds may be of interest to IASA members.

For libraries and archives seeking to make themselves more accessible the Internet is a powerful and timely enabler. However, managing a catalogue that is available 24 hours a day, every day, for everyone is rather different from that which is provided for a traditional reading room set-up with helpful curators in attendance. The successful launch of CADENSA on the web depended on a thorough review of the electronic interface between the NSA and its users as well as an enhancement to the catalogue itself.

The NSA - what it does, what it holds, how it can be used - is complex. Buying and installing Sirsi's WebCat browser as an extension to the existing software last May and customising our installation of it was relatively straightforward. More complicated, by far, was its accommodation into our web pages, which needed to be transformed from the 'brochure-ware' common to most first generation institutional web sites into an interactive set of real services. With the support of the British Library's web management team we brought in a consultant, Bob Hughes (his book on multimedia and web design Dust or magic was reviewed in IASA Journal 15) but otherwise all the final design work and authoring was carried out by a team of NSA staff. We believe that the new pages devoted to collections, services and information (including the catalogue) provide remote users with a range of information that now approaches what is available to those who visit our reading rooms.

The original implementation of CADENSA was designed to support the management of the NSA collection and to assist with the identification of recordings for listening appointments. Discographical research was also possible but despite the inclusion of hypertext links between the various levels of information (works, recordings and products) navigating around the catalogue was never easy for a first-time user. The effect of transferring the public interface to a web browser instantly improves navigation. Hypertext linking is the technique which underpins the Web, so it will be immediately clear to a user that if the information is underlined and in a different colour it will be possible to follow a network of links, for instance from the singer you looked up, and whose accompanist may have been unexpected, you could link to all recordings made by that accompanist. Such chain searches can proceed unbroken almost indefinitely.

While many entries for recordings on CADENSA remain summary, others are brim-full of information. Most of the entries for oral history interviews, for instance, contain lengthy interview summaries. (These are often supplied for us by those who recorded the interviews and can be pasted into CADENSA). The summaries provide a rich resource for research by subject matter but locating the context for the term you looked for was difficult off-line: on-line you can search within the summary for that term by using other tools available on the Internet. A favourite search of this kind used by NSA in demonstrations is for "Spotted Dick", a basic steamed pudding including currants that was once very popular. One of the many interviewees who mentioned this venerable dish tells a delightful story about how he and his siblings would always know on their return from school when spotted dick was going to be served as their mother was wearing only one stocking. The other was used to suspend the pudding in the boiling pan.

CADENSA can now be used also as the hub of a network of links to information that is usually considered beyond the scope of a catalogue. This is especially useful in the description of recordings that are unique to us. Whereas a typical explanatory note in a catalogue entry has to be kept short and concise, additional information can now be provided through electronic source links (MARC tag 856) to appropriate and authoritative electronic sources external to the catalogue and The British Library, e.g. an explanation of why we believe the recording we hold of Oscar Wilde reciting one of his poems is a fake, or the technical specifications of Ariel 3, Britain's first satellite, the launch of which was recorded and forms part of our actuality collection.

Networking externally can also help us to fill gaps in the catalogue. In addition to standard 'help' texts each of the specialist curators was asked to provide the text of an on-line guide to searching their subject area. Some of these subject areas are less comprehensively covered than others, the collection of commercial recordings of traditional music being a particular case in point. In order to concentrate cataloguing resources on unique unpublished recordings, the curator has simply directed her users to other sites which provide track listings for published product, such as Smithsonian Folkways and the International Library of African Music. Label and serial numbers found at these sites can then be cross-checked against CADENSA

The immediate priority for CADENSA is to improve the catalogue coverage of digitised recordings, in particular the products of our acetate disc and tape preservation project. The aim is to compile catalogue records for these recordings in such a way that, without disturbing CADENSA's internal coherence, they can be transferred automatically, most likely in XML format, to The Library's new Digital Library System (DLS) where the data will accompany the audio files which are to be stored therein. With CADENSA linked to the DLS we will be able to expand the existing token selection of audio files (retrievable by searching for "virtual NSA" on CADENSA) to something approaching a representative and critical mass.

CADENSA will also form a key component in the gradual automation of the NSA's onsite Listening & Viewing Service. E-mail has made ordering recordings and making appointments much easier, though more could be done by introducing e-commerce devices such as virtual shopping trolleys. The software supplier for CADENSA, Sirsi Corp., is working on such a facility for a future version.

One frustration encountered after the launch of CADENSA on the internet was that people expected all of the sound to be available immediately as well. Peer to peer models of doing business, even those threatened by legal action such as, have raised expectations far beyond what the NSA, or any other IASA institutional member, can expect to deliver at the present time. Nevertheless we need to develop some form of regulated access to our recordings or others, better placed financially, will get there first. I will end with a quote from Lorcan Dempsey, Director of DNER (Distributed National Electronic Resource):

"The digital medium is radically new. Although there is continuity of purpose and value within cultural institutions, these exist alongside a fundamental examination of roles and practices. The costs of developing necessary roles and sustainable practices will be high, as will the social and organisational costs of change and institution building. However, the costs of not doing so will be higher, as the cultural and intellectual legacy to future generations is entrusted to a house of cards built on a million web sites" (1).

Audiovisual archives should readily embrace the challenge of these words. The millions of recordings already held and preserved for the best part of 100 years are too valuable an asset to consign to the fluidity and fragility of the world wide web without the assurance of the secure foundations based on supported technical infrastructures and on the professional skills of staff such as are to be found in any IASA member institution.

Chris Clark (BL NSA)

(1) Lorcan Dempsey. Scientific, industrial, and cultural heritage: a shared approach, 1999.

Infofethics 2000

Kurt Deggeller (MEMORIAV) writes:

The 3rd Infoethics Congress on legal ethical and societal challenges of cyberspace organised by UNESCO's Information and Informatics division with the assistance of the Bureau of the Intergovernmental Council for the General Information Programme and the National Commissions of UNESCO took place in Paris from December 13 to 15 2000.

The main topic of the Congress was "the right to universal access to information in the 21st century". This was subdivided into three themes: the role of public authorities in access to information; the fair use concept in the information society; and protecting human dignity in the digital age.

The goal of these congresses is to reach a set of recommendations on access to information and international agreement on the financial aspects and rights of access. These recommendations should be ready for the next General Conference in autumn 2001. A world summit on information society is also in preparation for 2003.

As the list of themes shows, preservation was not covered at that Congress. The most vivid discussion took place between representatives of right holder's societies and speakers who claimed for free access to information.

Personally I was astonished that the role of libraries, archives and documentation centres as gateways to information a formula often used in the context of the information politics of UNESCO, has never really been mentioned. No speaker came from this professional area and in consequence the representation of our organisations among the participants was weak.

Even if speakers from developing countries showed clearly that they are far from having reasonable access to cyberspace, all other forms of distribution of information seems to have been forgotten, let alone the question of preservation. I think it is an important task for our organisation to bring these discussions back to reality.

A selection of the papers given at this conference is available at:

Another unique identifier

Issue 198 of the excellent Music & Copyright magazine (January 31st 2001) carries an announcement that various rights societies and publishers have joined together with two of the main recording industry associations, IFPI and RIAA, to collaborate on an online music transaction identifier project, known as the Music Industry Integrated Project (MIIIP). The technology is to be developed by the UK-based consultancy Rightscom.

MIIIP will allow for the efficient management of the delivery and sale of music online and to achieve this it must be interoperable with other data and identification systems, such as ISRC and ISWC. Possible frameworks are the work of the <indecs> project and the Dublin Core metadata schema.

The IASA newsdesk will keep a watch on this development though at the time of writing (in February) the only sites obtainable by searching for MIIIP were German comic strips and toy companies (characters and toys that go "miiip!"). In a global context organisations should really be more careful about their choice of acronyms.

YLE goes digital

The Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yleisradio Oy, also known as YLE) issued a press release early in March to announce the procurement of a digital storage system for its sound recordings.

YLE's Digital Radio Archive is the first large-scale system of its kind designed for long-term preservation of audio recordings, integrating tecmath AG's award-winning Enterprise Content Management System media archive with YLE's in-house software developments for metadata management. YLE's Digital Radio Archive will hold the public broadcaster's radio programmes and recordings in digital form for long-term preservation and future re-use. tecmath AG, a German high-tech software company, will act as general contractor and system integrator for the project. After a six-month design phase, the implementation phase of YLE's Digital Radio Archive project as officially launched with a press conference on March 8th, 2001, in Helsinki. Tapio Siikala, Director of YLE's Radio Division, explained why the Digital Radio Archive is so important for YLE:

"YLE is Finland's only electronic media company in possession of sizeable historical archives. Their effective utilisation will bring significant competitive advantage to our corporation."

For Jorma Laiho, YLE's Director of Technology, digitising YLE's radio archives has become a top priority:

"In the near future, all YLE networks will employ CAR (Computer Aided Radio) systems, producing radio programmes in a fully digital, computerised environment. The Digital Radio Archive will enable us to store radio programmes designated for archiving in their original, digital format, and to digitize the existing archive stock for quick access through the CAR systems."

"With this project", said Rainer A. Kellerhals, member of tecmath AG's executive board, "YLE is to become a pioneer in large-scale digital audio archiving. Having worked with Europe's broadcasting industry over the past years to develop our standard Enterprise Content Management platform media archive, we see YLE's Digital Radio Archive project as a milestone on the industry's way into the digital future."

tecmath AG is Europe's leading provider of enterprise content management systems; the company has implemented content management solutions at SWR, NDR, NRK, SAT.1 and ProSieben and holds a Framework Agreement with the BBC for media asset management systems and services.

During the press conference, Pekka Gronow, head of YLE's archives, pointed out that

"YLE's archives are more than just a giant audiovisual vault. They are the Finnish nation's audio-visual memory. By digitizing them, YLE meets its obligation to secure these archives' permanent preservation and makes access to its archive holdings much easier and more effective. There is a large demand for material from our archives in the research and library communities, which we have not been able to fulfil in the past."

For Markku Petäjä, project manager in charge of YLE's Digital Radio Archive project, co-ordinating this project with other YLE projects has been a key success factor:

"YLE's Digital Radio Archive project is one of a multitude of projects by which we keep our technological infrastructure up to date. Therefore we decided that the infrastructure for the Digital Audio Archive project was to be multi-purpose. We will use the selected hardware platform for archiving as well as for backup processes and other applications. The time schedule for the implementation of the project will be very strict, but I believe that we can fulfil the expectations of the end-users by working together with a partner which has a wide experience in content
management solutions in the broadcasting field".

The hardware and software architecture designed by tecmath AG and YLE together complied with this strategy:

"With Compaq servers, EMC's reliable, highly scalable Celerra File Server and ADIC's AML/J mixed media tape library, YLE's Digital Radio Archive will employ a reliable server platform as well as the most open and versatile online and nearline storage platforms in the market today", said Dr.-Ing. Lutz Schrepfer, Director of Engineering at tecmath AG's Content Management Systems Division. "To ensure smooth integration with YLE's complex software environment, YLE's Digital Radio Archive will use the same Oracle 8i database management system and OpenText BRS/Search full-text retrieval engine as they are in use for other mission-critical applications. As the result of joint software development and integration effort, YLE's Digital Radio Archive will combine the best features of media archive and Yle's in-house developments", says Jouni Frilander, IT specialist for YLE's Radio Division.

YLE's audio archives include a radio archive and record library. Together they contain hundreds of thousands of hours of recordings from the dawn of broadcasting to the present. A third significant YLE audio archive is the sound effects library. YLE's radio archives currently accumulate materials at the rate of some 8,000 radio broadcasts and 6,500 records (mainly compact discs) a year. Archival is selection-based; currently, less than five per cent of all broadcast radio programmes are archived, but with the introduction of the Digital Radio Archive, this percentage is expected to increase.

For more information contact Markku Petäjä, Project Manager, YLE Technical Development E-Mail:

or Jouni Frilander, IT Specialist, YLE Radio Division E-Mail:

DC change

The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) web site has been redeveloped. This is taken from the announcement in LTWorld March 7 2001:

"Based on many of the suggestions they received in response to [the] Call for Input on DCMI Website Redesign, the new site has been redesigned and the content reorganised to meet the needs of both the existing community base as well as newcomers to the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative. Additionally, the new site incorporates XML, RDF and CSS standards in its content management and design. Further, they anticipate WAI compliance in the very near future.

The Web site is not only easier to use and navigate but designed to employ DCMI technology and help demonstrate the effectiveness of combining encoding standards and Dublin Core semantics. Each Web page includes its own RDF metadata, which is harvested and stored within a database, facilitating effective searching and navigation of the site. The RDF toolkit used to drive the search services will be available under the DCMI Open Source License and available to the community shortly."

The new Dublin Core Metadata Initiative Web site is now available at
Australian mirror : , UK mirror

AES metadata group

The Audio Engineering Society Standards Committee (AESSC) has approved the formation of a new working group, SC-06-06 Working Group on Audio Metadata with Chris Chambers as its chair. The setting up of this new working group is in recognition of the need to have a group that can take a more strategic view of metadata and in particularly address interfacing and infrastructure issues. These are issues which impact on other working groups and SC-06-06 will therefore have, in addition, a co-ordinating role to avoid comparative inconsistencies and ensure metadata can be exchanged as simply as possible.

The scope of the SC-06-06 Working Group on Audio Metadata includes, within the scope of SC-06, the co-ordination and support of the metadata activities of other groups within the AESSC and harmonization with other bodies through working-group level liaisons and the preparation of related documents. It does not include preparation of documents covered in the scopes of other AESSC working groups, except where documents are required to provide co-ordination, overview, and structural requirements for carrying metadata across protocols.

A key task of SC-06-06 is to co-ordinate and distribute information within the AESSC on the methods and techniques of attaching and implementing metadata through all aspects of interfacing for both real time and file transfer audio.

The one of the methods this group will explore in order to aid description of metadata is the use of universal modelling language (UML) to provide the relationships and flow of metadata requirements within the AES in an open and recognised way. This could be set out in use case descriptions, class models and sequence diagrams as described in UML. Of necessity, this group will have to work closely with other related AES working groups and external bodies such as the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the Object Management Group (OMG) to ensure integration with the wider aspects of metadata generally.

SC-06-06 will hold its first meeting in Amsterdam in conjunction with the AES Convention in May. Following discussion on the email reflector this meeting establish the projects to be undertaken. An initial project, AES-X114 has been set up.

If you have an interest in metadata, you can become a member of SC-06-06 in the usual way by sending an email to the SC-06-06 reflector with your contact details.

See the "Joining a working group" link at for details on joining. More information on the working group and its project are at the Bulletins and Quick Guides link.


Rachel Lord (Sound Archives/Nga Taonga Korero, New Zealand) would like to pass on her appreciation and gratitude to all the IASA members who so generously helped her out on her study trip last year. She had a fascinating time, loved meeting everyone and visiting all the fabulous archives. Her report, at time of going to press, is days away from completion and is expected to appear in the next IASA Journal.


  • is the address of a new service dedicated to motion picture, broadcasting and recorded sound at the Library of Congress. The Recorded Sound Reference Center provides access to the commercial and archival audio holdings of the Library of Congress a collection that dates from 1926 when Victor Records donated over 400 discs to the Library's Music Division to supplement its print and manuscript holdings. In the custody of the Motion Picture Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division since 1978, the collection has grown to include over 2 million items encompassing audio formats from cylinders to CDs. The holdings complement the field recordings of the American Folklife Center and the moving image collections served in the Motion Picture and Television Reading Room. The site also includes useful, expert advice on preserving collections of sound recordings.

  • A number of music sites now aim to cater for those inexact categories of search beyond the orthodox name, title, number and subject variety. If you want a song that sounds like another song, or conveys a certain mood, or has lyrics that are wittier or prettier than the one you already know about then here are some places to explore. All-Music Guide now includes an artist browser feature which includes "mood" and similar technology that helps a user put their feelings into words is available or is being developed at Cantametrix , MoodLogic , and MuBu (Music Buddha), sites which also contain food for plenty of IASA thought, particularly of the metadata variety.

  • (Selection courtesy of Alex Pappademas "A little mood music for the cyber set" TheStandard (September 6, 2000))


Please remember to keep the Editor informed of any changes to the details that appear in the current IASA Directory.

Calendar of events

Date Event Location
April 22 28 57th FIAF Congress Rabat, Morocco
May 2 5 ASRA Conference Hunters and Collectors Canberra
May 12 15 110th AES Convention Amsterdam
May 21 22 * IASA FIAT meeting on digitisation Potsdam-Babelsburg
June 21 24 19th AES International Conference
Surround sound
Schloss Elmau, Germany
July 8 - 14 IAML Annual Conference Périgueux, France
August 16 -25 67th IFLA Council and General Conference
Libraries and Librarians: Making a Difference in the Knowledge Age
Boston, U.S.
September 21 24 111th AES Convention New York
September 23 - 27 ARSC/IASA Annual Conference
Why collect: the purpose of audio-visual archives
September 23 - 27 FIAT Annual Conference London
October 5 7 20th AES International Conference
Archiving, restoration & new methods of recording
November 6 11 11th AMIA Conference Portland, U.S.
May 11 12 112th AES Convention Munich
August 4 - 9 IAML Annual Conference Berkeley, U.S.
August 18 - 24 68th IFLA Council and General Conference
Libraries for life
Glasgow, U.K.
September? IASA Annual Conference Aarhus, Denmark
October 5 8 113th AES Convention Los Angeles, U.S.
October 25 28 Society of Ethnomusicology Annual Meeting Detroit, U.S.
August 1 9 69th IFLA Council and General Conference
Access point library
IAML Tallinn, Estonia  

This Information Bulletin has been 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

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