Information Bulletin no. 39, October 2001

Nearly two-hundred made it to London

After the terrorist atrocities in America and the impact on air travel, the ARSC-IASA conference organisers were expecting a much lower attendance than had been registered before September 11, so it was very heartening for the organisers to see so many delegates queuing in the sunshine to register at 11.00 am on the first day.

I was especially gladdened to see so many North American delegates, some of whom had endured arduous journeys involving several security checks and delays. Gathered together for the opening reception, held in the cathedral-like space of The British Library foyer and serenaded by a reverberating NSA jazz band, the customary excitement at renewing old acquaintances and getting to know new faces was accompanied by a tangible sense of relief that we all had something else to think about for a few days.

The conference was opened by Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive of The British Library, who had some flattering words for the National Sound Archive, the conference hosts. She said that two of her most magical moments during her first year in post had been associated with oral history acquisitions and associated press events. It is clear that audiovisual archives, by the very nature of their holdings can make a powerful and impressive impact on institutional and cultural life, given the right set of circumstances. With veiled reference to reorganisations underway at The British Library, she urged us to view our work as special but not separate: collections within larger organisations needed to integrate their activities in order to gain from and play a part in the new possibilities afforded by new technology. She left us to ponder that as we began our investigation of the conference theme "Why collect?"

Did we find the answer? I am not sure that we did. Certainly nobody was prepared declare with any degree of confidence or authority why we should have been collecting so much for so long and into perpetuity. Neither was there much time during sessions for debate, a conference failing in the view of some delegates. So shall we just keep going until someone or somebody stops us, on the understanding that all this collecting activity satisfies some psychological drive and in so doing helps to protect and promote cultural identities?

There were some fine papers, crisply delivered with many entertaining illustrations. The NSA's embarrassment at not being able to demonstrate its own technical facilities on account of accommodation modifications at the time of the conference was amply compensated by NSA Conservation Manager Peter Copeland's technical workshop Getting back to the original sound on old recordings. Some of the papers on the last day were needlessly rushed, partly because of the need to switch to another venue. This was unfortunate because the final session considered how collecting may look in the future with the aid of electronic distribution and educational partnerships. We, the audience, needed to consider whether a subtle shift in the collecting imperative was being suggested: collecting for a specific purpose rather than collecting just in case someone asks for it?

Professional visits included the EMI Archives, the Imperial War Museum and the BBC. Various ad hoc tours of The British Library were arranged. The conference wound up with a brief guided coach tour of central London and a splendid dinner at the Institute of Directors. The ARSC awards ceremony was an enjoyable piece of American theatre and was followed by brief but telling speeches by the respective Presidents that pronounced the joint conference to have been an enjoyable success. The organisers received their highly deserved tokens of thanks.

As the co-conspirator with Ted Sheldon during the Paris conference in 1998 who sought to coax ARSC across the Atlantic Ocean for the first time, ARSC-IASA in London also gave me great personal pleasure.

Nominations to the election of the IASA Board 2002

The year 2002 is election year for IASA. The Nomination Committee hereby invites nominations for the following Board positions:

  • President

  • Three Vice-Presidents

  • Editor

  • Secretary-General

  • Treasurer

Please observe that all nominations must include a proposer, a seconder and the name of the nominee together with the office for which he/she is being nominated.

Send your nomination to any of the Nominating Committee by January 1st 2002, at the latest. The slate of nominations will be mailed to the membership by May 16th 2002 for postal ballot. The deadline for postal ballots is August 16th 2002.

Candidates applying for an Executive Board office shall, as a rule,

  1. have professional experience in the archiving business and, as they will represent the Association if elected, a good standing and reputation;

  2. take into account that their commitment will last for three years at least (for presidents, six years). For that term, they shall assure that they are ready to dedicate a considerable time for the business of the Association without any compensation by the Association. If they work for an institution they shall ensure that, at the time of their application, they have their institution's support and backing to hold that office as the use of institutional resources will be indispensable to the success of any appointment. Otherwise, they shall ensure that they will be able to provide the necessary resources themselves;

  3. disclose their ability to pay for travel and accommodation expenses. It would be most desirable if they can ensure that, at the time of their application, either their institutions or they themselves are, on principle, willing to pay for travel and accommodation costs;

  4. shall have sufficient knowledge in English enabling them to negotiate with representatives of other associations, organisations and institutions;

  5. shall include a biography to their nomination from which the voting members may form an impression to their mind of the aptitude of the nominees. These biographies are part of the electoral list to be sent to the membership.

  6. Those candidates applying for President will be favoured who, additionally, hold managerial posts within an archival institution and are used to making decisions and having good contacts with any other archival institutions, governmental and/or non-governmental organisations, commercial/industrial companies and other authorities.

  7. The Nomination Committee is obliged to examine the candidates' nominations in time. If a nomination does not correspond to these guidelines, then the Nomination Committee shall call the candidate's attention to that and ask her/him for a statement. The Nomination Committee is, however, not permitted to decline nominations.

The Nominating Committee
Olle Johansson (Chair), Statens ljud- och bildarkiv, Box 24124, SE-104 51 Stockholm SWEDEN.
Virginia Danielson, Richard F. French Librarian, Loeb Music Library, Harvard University Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.
Kevin Bradley National Library of Australia, Canberra, ACT 2600, AUSTRALIA.

The IASA Awards

Consistent with two of its stated constitutional purposes:

  • to initiate and encourage activities that develop and improve the organisation, administration and contents of recorded sound and audiovisual collections;

  • to stimulate and further by every means the preservation, documentation and dissemination of all recorded sound and audiovisual collections;

IASA wishes to nurture and recognise work that significantly improves and enhances the work of professional audiovisual archivists and to these ends proposes the establishment of an award programme. In so doing, the visibility and influence of IASA will be improved.

After many hours of deliberation and comparing our ideas with those of other associations, the IASA Board agreed in London a set of guidelines that will enable IASA's first award to be made at next year's conference in Aarhus. You are therefore invited to send in your nomination (or nominations) to the Editor, which will be dealt with according to the following agreed procedure.

Nature of the award
The award will take the form of a framed certificate, appropriately worded and attractively designed. One award will be made annually, but exceptionally, in the event that more than one outstanding candidate is nominated, the Board may sanction more than one award.

Procedure for nominations
Only IASA members are entitled to nominate award candidates.

Nominations must be submitted in writing to the Chairperson of the Awards Committee (see below) by January 1st 2002. The Awards Committee will consider all nominations and will report the winner to the Executive Board at their mid-year meeting.

Candidates for awards need not be members of IASA but the achievement for which they are being nominated must have taken place (e.g. been published, delivered, patented, etc.) during the calendar year preceding the most recent annual conference (i.e. between September 2000 and September 2001). Awards will not be made posthumously.

Criteria for judging the nominations
The Award will be conferred on an individual or team of individuals whose contribution during the course of the permitted timeframe has met one or several of the following criteria, in that it:

  • represents a powerful influence on the work of IASA

  • serves as an example of best practice

  • advances standards or methodology

  • enriches a particular area of work in which IASA has an interest

  • meets an urgent requirement

The IASA Awards Committee
The Award(s) shall be administered by the IASA Awards Committee to be nominated by the Executive Board. This will consist of five voting members:

  • one member of the Executive Board of IASA (at the time of her or his appointment) who will serve as chairperson of the Committee

  • four other nominated individuals, two of whom must be members of IASA and two who are eminent in the field of sound and audiovisual archiving but who are not necessarily IASA members.

The Committee will serve a three-year term, not necessarily synchronous with the Executive Board life-cycle. Members may serve consecutive terms, at the discretion of the Executive Board.

This year's Committee is:
Chris Clark (Chair), Isabelle Giannattasio (France), Richard Green (Canada), Detlef Humbert (Germany), Joie Springer (non-IASA committee member).

Procedure for the selection and presentation of the Award
The IASA Award(s) will be presented each year at the annual conference of the Association.

The Chairperson of the IASA Awards Committee, having received all nominations by the appointed deadline, will convene a 'meeting' of the Awards Committee. This meeting will typically take place as a telephone conference or by exchange of e-mails. At this meeting nominations will be considered and judged and a shortlist of three candidates determined. Each Committee member will then separately judge the nominated work of each of the three finalists and will rate it on an overall scale of one (low score) to ten (high score). Ratings will be submitted in writing to the Committee Chair who shall compute an average score for each finalist and declare the finalist with the highest score to be the winner. In the event of a tie, the Chairperson may request a re-rating of all finalists or recommend joint winners. All ratings shall be kept secret until the results are officially announced by IASA.

Each Committee member rates all finalists by applying the general criteria specified above. Committee members may discuss nominated works with each other and with specialists if they wish; however the final rating is theirs.

A Committee member must disqualify her/himself from rating a particular work in the event of a conflict of interest or complete lack of knowledge of the subject covered. Any Committee member whose own work becomes a short-listed finalist in a given year will be automatically suspended from the Committee for the duration of that year's judging process and not rate other finalists. The IASA Executive Board may appoint a temporary replacement for a suspended or self-disqualified member. The suspended member will be reinstated following the presentation of the award(s) in question.

Once the rating process is completed, the Committee may, if it wishes, award a Certificate of Merit to particularly worthy runners-up. This will be decided by majority vote of the Committee and should be done only in exceptional cases.

Please send nominations by January 1st 2001 to Chris Clark, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB, UK. email / fax 00 44 020 7412 7411

New members

Silke Breslau, Deutsches Musikarchiv, Berlin

Sana Homsi (associate), Istanbul
Joined in order to find out more about preservation and archiving as preparation for a future project.

Gisa Jähnichen, Germany
Dr Jähnichen overseas the collection, documentation and training operations at the Archives of Traditional Music in Laos at the Berliner Phonogrammarchiv

Radio Educación Angel Urraza No. 622, Colonia del Valle, C.P. 03100, Mexico
IASA's first Mexican member is devoted to the conservation and preservation of radio programmes produced by Radio Educación since 1968. There are more than 60,000 items in the collection covering education, culture, journalism and music in Mexico.

Timkehet Teffera Mekonen, Berlin
Dr Teffera overseas the collection, documentation and technical training operations at the Institute of Ethiopian Studies at the Berliner Phonogrammarchiv.

Eduardo David Vicente Leite, Radiofusão portuguesa (RDP).

Elizabeth Watson Learning Resource Centre, University of the West Indies, Barbados.
Ms Watson is in charge of a collection of 2000 videos, 2500 sound recordings and other media in support of academic research and outreach activity at the Care Hill Campus, UWI.

Harold Heckendorn

IASA is sorry to have learned that Harold Heckendorn, of Worthington Ohio, and long-term member of the association, died on December 31st last year. Ted Sheldon wrote:

"Harold Heckendorn was a long-standing ARSC member, and the ARSC archivist for many years. He had been ill on and on for five years or more, and finally passed away last year. He was much loved by ARSC conference attendees, and all who worked with him on the Board of Directors. A really nice man."

IASA travel and research grants

Members are invited to apply for travel grants for assistance to attend the IASA Conference in Aarhus, Denmark in September 2002.

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

The IASA Board has recently agreed new guidelines for the awarding of travel grants. You are asked to consider these carefully before making your application.

  1. While the aim of IASA shall be to encourage members to attend the annual conference by supporting their travel costs, such support must take account of the current financial health of the Association. Normally, 50% of travel costs (cheapest air or train fare between the applicant's home and the conference venue) will be met.

  2. IASA will, in addition, approach the local conference organisers and request that the grantee's registration fee be waived. The decision in each case will be up to the conference organiser.

  3. Accommodation and subsistence costs will not be supported.

  4. Applications must be sent in writing (by letter, fax or e-mail) to the Secretary-General in response to the announcement of travel and research grants, which are published in the IASA Information Bulletin. Applications must contain the 100% amount of the travel costs in US$, confirmed e.g. by an official travel agency.

  5. Applications by representatives of institutional members must be countersigned by the director or a senior officer of their organisation as evidence that their attendance has been authorised.

  6. The method of payment shall be specified in the application including to whom moneys shall be paid and how they will be made.

  7. The Secretary-General will check all applications received by the appointed deadline and will submit them to the Executive Board at its mid-year meeting for discussion and approval.

  8. Applicants will be informed as soon as possible of the result after the Board's decision has been reached.

  9. IASA will not pay grants in advance of travel. Costs will be reimbursed on presentation of copies of the travel documents by the grantee to the IASA Treasurer during the conference.

  10. IASA travel grants are awarded only to members of the Association; grants will not be made in support of accompanying persons.

Applications for travel grants to attend the Aarhus conference must be received by the Secretary General of IASA by the end of February 2002 in order to be considered at the mid-year Board meeting to be held in March 2002 Please send your application to: IASA Secretary General, Albrecht Häfner, Suedwestrundfunk, Sound Archives, D-76522 Baden-Baden, Germany. Fax +49 7221 929 4199 e-mail

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 Executive Board of IASA meets, so the next opportunity will be at its mid-year meeting in March 2002 and then at Annual Conference the following September.

Support to attend the Mexican seminar/workshops

With the support of UNESCO, IASA is able to support the travel of two IASA members in Latin American or Caribbean countries to Los Archivos Sonoros y Visuales en América Latina, a series of workshops and a seminar being held in Mexico City, with organisational input from FIAT and IASA, during the week of November 19th - 24th. For details of the programme and how to register see apply for travel support, by November 9th 2001 at the latest, to IASA Secretary General, Albrecht Häfner, Suedwestrundfunk, Sound Archives, D-76522 Baden-Baden, Germany. Fax +49 7221 929 4199 e-mail

Digitisation of Radio and TV archives

Detlef Humbert, Secretary of the IASA Radio Sound Archives Section has sent in this report on the 4th annual IASA/FIAT Joint Meeting Digitisation of radio and TV archives.

The meeting was hosted by Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv (DRA) for the second time. The venue was near Berlin at DRA's impressive new building in Potsdam-Babelsberg on May 21-22nd. Twenty-eight participants from nine European countries and the United States were welcomed by IASA Executive Board member and Deputy Director of DRA, Anke Leenings, who brought greetings from DRA's departing Director Joachim-Felix Leonhard.

IASA President Crispin Jewitt welcomed the audience on behalf of IASA and expressed his pleasure at seeing "FIAT and IASA getting together to discuss mutual areas of interest as an AV-community" in accordance with the aims of the Co-ordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations (CCAAA). In March 2001 CCAAA terms of reference were established, a convenor was elected and a FIAT/IASA joint AV-seminar is to be held later this year in Mexico [see below].

The first paper was given by Bjarne Grevsgard, NRK Oslo: The NorWay of Safeguarding the Audiovisual Heritage showed how co-operation between the Norwegian Broadcasting System NRK and the National Library can fulfil the common interest to preserve the audiovisual heritage and make it accessible. The National Library handles the legal deposit of Norwegian radio broadcasts, which are about to be delivered online from NRK.

Richard Wright, BBC, London, reported on the importance of building a digital future by using archive preservation projects. It is estimated that around two-thirds of all archive materials are kept on deteriorating or obsolete carriers. The EC-funded project PRESTO, chaired by Richard Wright, brings together ten major European broadcast archives with seven technology partners and has as its goal the reduction of preservation costs by as much as 30 percent through the use of new technologies. PRESTO's first phase is summarised on the Internet at

Dietrich Schueller from the Phonogrammarchiv in Vienna gave a report on the specific problems with recorded sound collections in research archives and their experiences with digitisation. These collections are logged to different institutions on fields like musicology, ethnology, etc. Research means working with these old collections of very valuable material as a part of world cultural heritage. Different formats, speeds, materials and a recording often made under irregular conditions may even include the necessity of de-alignment of an exactly aligned tone-head to reproduce the original audio information. At the present time digitisation is carried out using two AudioCubes via Fast Ethernet to an 80 GB server and DLT7000 drive at 96kHz sampling rate and 24 bit dissolution. Future plans include a scaleable tape library, a 540 GB fileserver and the link to the University Computing Center for disaster preparedness.

Christoph Bauer, ORF, presented an overview of projects at Austrian Broadcasting System dealing with digitised assets and workflows. ORF is involved in eight such projects: Newsroom, IMX-Recording, Request Broker, Vienna Philharmonics, and EU-projects AMICITIA, PRIMAVERA, VIZARD, and PRESTO. DMA (Digital Media Architecture) is a one-year-old ORF task force with the aim of avoiding redundancies and evaluation conflicts and of co-ordinating these digital projects. Sub-groups deal with metadata (development of a company-wide data model) and economy (adaptation of workflows and job specifications, rights and licensing strategies).

A project report by Luis Estrada, IBM, on the digital asset management solution for Paramount's domestic television Entertainment Tonight opened the second day. Beginning with the example of Frank Sinatra's death in 1998, when Entertainment Tonight wanted to show a portrait of the artist and all video tapes disintegrated when put into the player, Luis Estrada gave an historic overview from physical archives to asset management. For IBM's digital asset management system of the ET project standard solutions are mostly in use.

Concepción Gomez Alonso, IBM, presented a project report on the digital sound archives at Radio Nacional de España (RNE). The biggest Spanish audio archive owns a collection of 200,000 hours of audio recordings on all types of carriers made since 1937. Using IBM Admira System with IBM 3494 Tape Library scaleable up to 590,000 hours capacity the digitisation process is managed by a Lotus Notes Workflow Application. Costs for the whole project of digitising the whole collection amount to 5,000,000 €.

Lasse Vihonen, YLE, reported on the Digiarchive of Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE). Digitisation of historical material has just started with the oldest of a number of 100,000 hours audio on analogue tapes using Quadriga System. 30,000 hours are stored on DAT. Together with new productions (e.g. audiofiles from Radio 1) the annual growth of the Digiarchive will be approximately 7 TB a year. The audience were astonished to hear that for reasons that are peculiar to copyright laws in Finland a fee of 0.5 € per minute has to be paid to the rights owners' organisation for replaying the programmes during the digitisation process.

The next three items on the agenda dealt with subjects handled by Working Groups of European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Gunnel Joensson from Swedish Broadcasting Resources reported on EBU Working Group P/FRA (Future Radio Archives). By decision of Scandinavian Radio Archives and National Libraries a subgroup on metadata called SAM (Scandinavian Metadata Group) was founded. Their aim is to define a minimum set of metadata for audiofile transfer leading to a P/FRA proposal to EBU. Detailed information can be found on IASA Nordic Branch homepage at and elsewhere in this Bulletin.

Andreas Ebner from German Institut für Rundfunktechnik (IRT) gave an overview of EBU Working Groups P/META and P/FTA. P/META is dealing with metadata in TV-archiving. Three work packages have to be carried out: WP1 - Exchange of metadata; WP2 - Unique identifiers; WP3 - System to system scope. With regard to the reference architecture Andreas Ebner claimed that it represented "a dramatic change in TV-archiving, but also the chance to adopt production library management."

Representing the P/FTA Working Group on future TV-archiving Andreas Ebner reported that content management in future TV-production will have to deal with increased programme volumes, increased format and distribution diversity and increased programme fragmentation. The project is organised in seven work packages of which Content Management and Legacy Television Archives are two examples. More information is given on the EBU website at

Istar Buscher, Suedwestrundfunk Baden-Baden, presented a paper Changes in Professional Profiles Caused by Digitization, which was much in opposition to the views of industrial possibilities given by the previous speaker. Istar Buscher's examples and experiences on the field of research and development in TV-archiving led to provocative questioning, such as "Has anybody seen an integrated digital workflow?" A lively discussion arose from that "clash between theory and practice", as Buscher called it.

The final discussion on future co-operation between FIAT and IASA was opened by Albrecht Haefner who regretted the poor number of FIAT attendants. Dietrich Schueller emphasised the greater importance of inviting those who are less informed about the matters under discussion rather than 'preaching to the converted'. Crispin Jewitt considered the meeting itself a success and recommended that such co-operation continue for at least another year and this was endorsed by those present.

Echolot in Moscow

Natalia Solovieva (Glinka State Central Museum of Musical Culture) reports:

The first all-Russian conference Echolot on audio culturology, archiving and new technologies took place in Moscow May 22-25, 2001. It was organised by the State Literary Museum of Russia and the State Moscow Conservatoire with the assistance of the Russian Ministry of Culture and the Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation - Russia).

The plenary meeting was hosted by the Glinka State Central Museum of Musical Culture, while the other sessions were held at the State Literary Museum. Delegates also had the opportunity to visit various audio archives in Moscow.

Delegates included specialists from archives, museums, libraries, universities and scientific institutes, and representatives from the Russian recording and broadcasting industries and other mass media based in Moscow, St Petersburg and other Russian regions. These were joined by Ukrainian researchers from Kiev and the Kazakh representative of UNESCO from Alma-Ata.

The main topics covered included: audio culturology and mass media, audio psychology and phono-semantics; problems faced by national audio archives (acquisition, preservation, restoration, cataloguing and access); today's audio technology; regional, national and international collaborations. For instance, one of the subjects discussed was the Franco-Russian distance learning project Sonothèque (Encyclopédie Sonore). This is a collaboration between the Fédération Interuniversitaire de l'Enseignement à Distance (FIED), France, and a number of Russian cultural and educational institutions. Further details about this project can be obtained from Christiane Guillard, the President of FIED,

One of the highlights of the Conference was the report by Vyacheslav V. Petrov from Kiev on the digitisation of Edison phonograph cylinders. Ukrainian scientists have developed what some consider to be the best equipment for the digital re-mastering of cylinders and this has enabled the reconstruction of a series of unique Jewish music recordings made during the first half of the 20th century in Ukraine and Belarus. Petrov demonstrated the first CD from a projected set of 20 discs entitled Treasury of Jewish Culture in Ukraine. These recordings include what is probably the only authentic phonograph recording of the famous Jewish writer Sholom Aleichem (1859-1916).

The outcome of the Conference was a set of recommendations to improve state policy governing the audio heritage. Firstly a system of state legal deposit must be established to support acquisitions; secondly, the Russian audio archives should be accessible on the web.

SAM - Scandinavian Audiovisual Metadata group

Representatives of the radio archives and the national libraries/archives of the Scandinavian countries met in Århus, Denmark in August 2000. The agenda of the meeting was to establish a structured and effective cooperation within the field of metadata. To best achieve this goal a working group was established. The members of the working group were:

Elsebeth Kirring, State & University Library, Århus
Per Holst, Danish Broadcasting Corporation
Berit Stifjeld, National Library of Norway, Rana Division, later replaced by Hilde Høgås
Gunnel Jönsson, Swedish Broadcasting Resources, Program archive
Olle Johansson, National Archive of Recorded Sound and Moving Images, Stockholm
Marit Grimstad, Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation

The meeting in Århus discussed the group's work and agreed on the following mandate for the group:

The Scandinavian Radio Archives and National Libraries has decided to establish a Scandinavian metadata group with the responsibility of developing a minimum standard for metadata within the area of broadcasting material and other AV media. The work is to be co-ordinated with similar work within the EBU and other international organisations

Already at the meeting in Århus it was decided that the group should base its standard on the existing international standard Dublin Core. The Dublin Core is, as the name signifies, a core standard, meaning that a core of data is common while permitting great local diversity.

The group has mainly worked through email. We have had one meeting in Copenhagen in November 2000 and one in Århus in April 2001. The group also spent some time to further detail the mandate as follows:

We are mainly working towards a standard for retrieval and transfer of data files between institutions and on an international level. To achieve this we need a minimum list of data (a core list) that can be exported in a format that can be internationally recognised by computer programmes. Locally within each institution the need for data is greater and more specialised. Each institution has their own local databases with all the archival data needed in that institution's work. All local databases should be able to export data records in the Dublin Core format.

The text of the report can be found at

ARSC in Santa Barbara

The Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) is pleased to announce that the 36th annual ARSC conference will be hosted by the University of California, Santa Barbara from May 8-11, 2002. This will be ARSC's first West Coast conference since 1985. Papers and Session proposals are now being accepted. Contact David Seubert for more information or visit

UNESCO AV Glossary

Compiled with financial support from UNESCO by a working group from the Round Table on Audiovisual Records, a preliminary version of the Glossary of Terms Related to the Archiving of Audiovisual Materials has just been published on the UNESCO website. Edited and compiled by Gerald Gibson, with Sven Allerstrand as translation co-ordinator, the main contributors to the document include specialists from each of the 5 NGOs representing the Round Table (now the Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations- CCAAA) in addition to a number of other experts in the audiovisual field.

The Glossary gives definitions of audiovisual and audiovisual-related terms with their equivalents in French, German and Spanish when known. This preliminary version can be consulted at . A more complete version with additional terms and bibliographical references is expected to be available early next year in electronic and hard copy formats. UNESCO hopes to keep the Glossary up to date and invites specialists to contribute to this resource by updating entries or providing terms in other languages.

For additional information, please contact: Joie Springer, Information Society Division,
UNESCO, 1, rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, Fax: +(331) 45 68 55 83

Phonogrammarchiv expands into video archiving

Dietrich Schüller writes:

As of September 2001, the Phogrammarchiv has expanded its preservation activities to include video documents.

During the course of recent technical developments, video documents have gained importance as sources for many disciplines, particularly for the natural sciences and the humanities. Consequently, several research institutions, as well as individual scholars, have produced numerous video research documents, which, due to the lack of a specialised Austrian institution, remained without adequate custodial care.

This development was prefigured by a team of evaluators who analysed the work of the Phonogrammachiv in the late 1990s. They recommended expanding the archives' activities into video archiving. A feasibility study conducted by Nadja Wallaszkovits identified over 2000 hours of video research footage that had accumulated in several research institutions over recent decades. It is planned to archive these stocks by applying a selection rate of 50 percent. Parallel to the intake of old holdings, newly produced video recordings will also gradually be incorporated. In a second phase, following the example of audio, the Phonogrammarchiv will also become engaged in videographic field work, actively supporting field workers by giving methodological and technical advice and by loaning suitable equipment.

Technically, the most commonly prevailing source formats are U-matic, VHS, and video8/ Hi8. Newly produced material is partly made on DV. The present challenge is the selection of an appropriate target format for archiving. While the original plan foresaw the use of DigiBeta, most recent development work suggests we try to by-pass proprietary formats and aim at an openly defined video file format.

After two years of preparation and planning, the project was launched with the support of special funding of the Academy by the Federal Ministry of Education, Research and Culture.

Domain UK

Stephen Bury, The British Library, writes:
Domain UK is a pilot project at The British Library to investigate the feasibility of selecting and archiving websites of British 'historical or cultural significance', from political party sites during the General Election to issues such as genetically-modified crops and Foot and Mouth disease. The name, Domain UK, is something of a misnomer as we are not harvesting the whole of .uk and we are also archiving some sites that are hosted abroad but relate to Britain.

As there is currently no Legal Deposit of this electronic resource in the UK, we have to email each webmaster/publisher to ask permission to download. We are using Bluesquirrel software to 'whack' the sites on a three-weekly basis. During the six-month experiment we will not be making these publicly available, but at the end of this period we hope to renegotiate permission to make them available from one of our servers and, eventually, through the British Library's Digital Library Store.

We have decided to select 100 representative sites across the Dewey Decimal classes but avoiding mainstream publishers, databases or individual sites where image, text or sounds might not have been copyright-cleared. Music websites selected include an unofficial Fat Boy Slim and the official Mediaeval Baebes sites. Future plans would involve the public being able to nominate sites which, if they met our selection criteria, would be archived, as in the case of PANDORA, the National Library of Australia's web archiving initiative ( Part of the project is to determine what these selection criteria should be.

The downloaded sites are examined each time for authoring environment (html or otherwise), size, number of reciprocal links, number of visitors, Bobby-rating (see and whether they are archived by the webmaster; only some 5% are archived, which suggests that there is a real danger of losing important sites which might well be needed by future scholars. Two of the original sites selected are already defunct. A by-product of the project is a snapshot of how the web is being used in the UK and this will be of interest to future historians of web design.

European Convention for the Protection of the Audiovisual Heritage

The IASA Secretary General recently received a letter from Elisabeth Rohmer, Head of the Cultural Action Division of the Council of Europe, in which IASA is thanked for its "contribution" to the European Convention for the Protection of the Audiovisual Heritage that has been adopted by the Council of Ministers as of 19th September 2001. Reading the text that appears on the Web it is difficult to see what that contribution might have been since by their implicit definition 'audiovisual' is limited to moving image material. IASA has lobbied previously in response to earlier drafts to clarify the scope of the Convention, in the knowledge that sound recordings were excluded, but the term remains in the title and the scope of the Convention could therefore be misinterpreted.

European members of IASA need to be concerned about this. Member States that sign this Convention (the date set for this is November 8th 2001) are obliging themselves to adhere to its articles and to adjust their legislation accordingly. States are, however, not prevented from extending their legislation to other related matters, such as sound and non-film av documents. It is therefore up to the national libraries and audiovisual archives of each member state to lobby accordingly in their respective countries if legal deposit for audiovisual documents is not already in place. Failure to do so may mean that initiatives designed to give legal status to the protection of audiovisual documents, in the sense that IASA uses the term, are rejected on the grounds that, according to this Convention, the audiovisual heritage has already been protected.

IASA will now consider how best to respond to the letter from Elisabeth Rohmer.

AES in Budapest

The theme of the 20th AES conference, held in Budapest 5-7 October 2001, was Archiving, Restoration, and New Methods of Recording, and attracted more than 100 attendants from all five continents. Joie Springer from UNESCO gave the keynote address on 'Promoting Global Access to the Audiovisual Memory of the World'. Almost 30 contributions were delivered on sub-themes such as carrier degradation, metadata and files, broadcasting systems, mass transfer, and restoration, reflecting the latest state of audiovisual archiving.

The complete conference proceedings are available in print as well as on CD-ROM. Copies can be obtained via

IASA website

The iasa website, hosted by the National Library of Wales, is about to undergo a major overhaul and will be given a more direct url. The new website is expected to be launched in January 2002 at which time the new url will be announced.

Meanwhile I am pleased to report another substantial annual increase in the number of people who have visited our pages: 126957 visited our site during the twelve months following the Singapore Conference in July 2000. Compare this with the figure of 18000 recorded in 1998: a similar figure (17812) was recorded for just one month (May) this year.

Calendar of events

Date Event Location
November 6 - 11 11th AMIA Conference Portland, U.S.
November 23 - 24 WEDELMUSIC 2001: web delivery of music Florence, Italy
November 19 - 24 Los Archivos Sonoros y Visuales en American Latina. International seminar and workshops on sound and TV preservation (in association with IASA and FIAT: see above) Mexico
March 14 - 15 IASA Board mid-year meeting Aarhus
April 17 - 20 15th SCECSAL Conference Johannesburg
May 8 -11 36th Annual ARSC Conference Santa Barbara, U.S.
May 11 - 12 112th AES Convention Munich
June 15 - 17 22nd AES International Conference Virtual, synthetic and entertainment media Espoo, Finland
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 15 - 19 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.
November 19 - 23 AMIA Conference Boston, U.S.
July 6 - 11 IAML Conference Tallinn, Estonia
August 1 - 9 69th IFLA Council and General Conference
Access point library
November 18 - 22 AMIA Conference Vancouver, Canada
June 20 - 25 IAML-IASA Annual Conference Oslo, Norway
November 9 - 13 AMIA Conference Minneapolis, U.S.

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

© International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA)