Information Bulletin no. 45, April 2003

Executive Objectives

At its recent mid-term meeting in March in Pretoria, South Africa, IASA's Executive Board planned its strategy for the next three years. The following objectives were identified:

  • To increase the number of IASA members considerably through better presentation of IASA as a pool of competence for audiovisual archiving

  • To build up a consistent and continuous training policy for IASA on the CCAAA platform (together with the other NGOs)

  • To improve IASA's image as a pool of competence in audiovisual archiving

  • IASA wants to increase its membership and improve member's identification with the association towards recruiting active members for the board the committees and sections. IASA now has a membership of over 400 from more than 60 countries. Closer collaboration with the various heritage sectors through membership would be a means of getting a stronger public voice, which would be possible if IASA embraced a wider scope of audiovisual activities.

The IASA Executive has undertaken to:

  • Plan carefully for the 2004 ICA event and to take a leadership role in it.

  • To take leadership in setting up a common training strategy of CCAAA-members

  • To seek for partnership for funding in training activities and common research

  • Refresh the promotion material for IASA and create specific tools for events like the ICA-workshop

  • Seek contact with other NGOs potentially interested in the competencies represented by IASA and its members, mainly IFLA.


Please note that the dates of the IASA Conference in Pretoria are September 21-25, not 22-26 as given in the last Information Bulletin.

Also note that the following statement was printed in the last Information Bulletin:
Proposals for travel grants to attend the Vienna conference must be received by the Secretary General of IASA by the end of April 2003 in order to be considered... Applications will be considered when the Board of IASA meets, so the next chance will be at its mid-year meeting in May.

This statement should read:
Proposals for travel grants to attend the Pretoria conference must be received by the Secretary General of IASA by the end of May 2003 in order to be considered... Applications will be considered when the Board of IASA meets, so the next chance will be at Annual Conference in September.

My apologies for confusing everyone by publishing this incorrect information in the Information Bulletin

A strategy for sound and moving image archives in the UK.

The strategy study for the UK audiovisual archive sector was announced at the conference 'Hidden Treasures: The Impact of Moving Image and Sound Archives in the 21st Century', held at the British Library Conference Centre on 7 October 2002

The British Library Sound Archive, the Film Archive Forum, and Resource are supporting the initiative, and have announced that ABL Cultural Consulting have been appointed as the consultants for this project. ABL is an independent management consultancy specialising in the arts, museums and heritage, entertainment, media and crafts

The study's terms of reference are to:

  • produce a document for audiovisual archival development across the UK

  • provide information on the strengths and weaknesses of audiovisual archival provision across the UK

  • recognise the important strategic benefits to be gained from the audiovisual sector working closely with the wider museums, libraries and archives sector

  • do the above within the broader context of changing national and regional policy making and structures

  • inform public and private funding bodies on the priorities for capital and revenue investment in audiovisual archives sector

  • The completed strategy will be launched in London in June 2003.

'Hidden Treasures' was organised by the British Library National Sound Archive, British Universities Film & Video Council, the Film Archive Forum and the National Council on Archives. Top experts gathered at the British Library for the 'Hidden Treasures' conference. Keynote speaker Sir Christopher Frayling highlighted some of the problems he has encountered - such as the difficulty of obtaining a definitive version of the film classic Battleship Potemkin and the trials of tracking down uncatalogued archive footage on the historic opening of Tutankhamen's tomb.

The conference discussed how to collect, store and make these materials available for future generations, examined how archives should be funded and started developing a strategy for audiovisual archival development across the UK. Themes included the BE-ME Project, using audio and video oral history to record and preserve the histories of African-Caribbean and Asian communities who have settled in Wolverhampton since the 1940s; an initiative to improve the experience of disabled visitors to film archives from Full Circle Arts and the North West Film Archive; and Northern Ireland's revolutionary - and portable - digital film archive.

The British Library's Head of the Sound Archive, Crispin Jewitt, who also spoke at Hidden Treasures, commented: "This conference was a major shaping event for the pattern of archival provision in the UK. Sound and moving image is a great untapped resource for all kinds of researchers and users: it's vital that we develop strategies for improving the availability of access to this rich heritage and for ensuring its survival for future generations."

The event was supported by the British Film Institute, the British Library, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries:

  • The British Film Institute is the UK's national agency with responsibility for encouraging the arts of film and television, and conserving them in the national interest.

  • The British Library Sound Archive is one of the largest sound archives in the world. Opened in 1955 as the British Institute of Recorded Sound, it became part of the British Library in 1983.

  • The British Universities Film & Video Council is a representative body which promotes the production, study and use of film and related media in higher education and research.

  • The Film Archive Forum represents all of the public sector film and television archives which care for the UK's moving image heritage.

  • The Heritage Lottery Fund uses money from the National Lottery. It gives grants to support a wide range of projects involving the local, regional and national heritage of the United Kingdom.

  • The National Council Archives brings together the major bodies and organisations concerned with the care, custody and use of archives and provide a forum for the regular exchange.

  • Resource is the Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries. Resource provides the strategic leadership, advocacy and advice to enable museums, archives and libraries to touch people's lives and inspire their imagination, learning and creativity.

  • For further information, contact:

Frank Gray, Director, South East Film & Video Archive

Crispin Jewitt, Head of the Sound Archive, The British Library

James Patterson, Director, Media Archive for Central England

Rachel Martin and Nick Dixon, ABL Cultural Consulting

New members

Judith A Gray, Quebec St NW, Washington DC
who is joining on behalf of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Rhys Beetham, High Street, Berwick St James, Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK
Rhys, who works for Surroundscape Media Ltd, says his reason for joining IASA is to find out more 'about the organisations, trends and uses for content in this industry.'

Dr Rosemary Firman, Chief Librarian, Jerwood Library of Performing Arts, Trinity College of Music, London, England
The performing arts library holds the Music Preserved collection of historical live sound recordings. Music Preserved is a separate charitable trust and its collection is available only at the Jerwood Library and the Barbican Library of the Corporation of London. The recorded sound collections include a good jazz collection and an archive of Trinity's own performances. Its current concerns are digital preservation of analogue recordings, and cataloguing.

Artspages International AS, Sogndal, Norway
Artspages represents a network of archives of independent music producers, and is involved in an interchange project between record producers and with other archives, as well as a technological development project.

Jonathan Morgan, Elia Street, Islington, London, England
who was a member formerly, but has now retired.

IASA Annual Conference

It is almost September and time for IASA's annual conference. This year the conference will be held in Pretoria, South Africa (21-25 September 2003) and if you haven't booked your flights and hotel accommodation yet, you should do so as soon as possible. Booking details are available on the IASA website.

There is still time to apply for travel grants for assistance in attending the Pretoria Conference in September.

Proposals for travel grants to attend the Pretoria conference must be received by the Secretary General of IASA by the end of May 2003 in order to be considered. Please send your application to:

Secretary General: Eva Fønss-Jørgensen, State and University Library, Universitetsparken, DK-8000 Aarhus C. Fax: +45 8946 2022. E-mail:

Apart from the normal IASA Travel Grant, the Conference Local Organising Committee will be able to help delegates with accommodation and subsistence costs, owing to the generosity of the National Archives of South Africa.

Please apply in writing (by letter, fax or e-mail) to the IASA Local Organising Committee,
Prof. Chris Walton, Music Department, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002
Tel.: ++27-12-420 3747
Fax: ++27-12-420 2248
(please mark your e-mail 'IASA 2003')

Deadline: 31 May 2003

Sound Savings: Preserving Audio Collections

Realizing the growing need for a forum on audio preservation, the Preservation and Conservation Studies program of the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin, the Library of Congress Preservation Directorate, the National Recording Preservation Board, and the Association of Research Libraries are co-sponsoring Sound Savings: Preserving Audio Collections. The symposium will be held in Austin, Texas, from 24-26 July 2003 in the newly renovated Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center on the UT-Austin campus. Sound Savings will feature talks by experts in the field of audio preservation on topics ranging from assessing the preservation needs of audio collections to creating, preserving, and making publicly available digitally reformatted audio recordings.

For more information, please visit To register for the symposium, please use the online registration form.

We look forward to seeing you in July!

For more information, contact
Ellen Cunningham-Kruppa

Digital Community Services: Pacific Libraries and Archives. Future prospects and responsibilities

A survey conducted for UNESCO by Esther B Williams.

The libraries and archives in the Pacific suffer from poor perception and lack of awareness of their importance for education and sustainable development. Therefore, their situation in the emerging Knowledge Society is still unclear. This is one of the conclusions from a survey of "Digital Community Services in Pacific Libraries and Archives", conducted by Esther Williams (Fiji) for the UNESCO Office of the Pacific States. According to the survey, the state of libraries and archives has not improved in the past five years. In fact, in some countries the situation has deteriorated. The support given to these institutions has been poor.

Many libraries and archives are not able to purchase ICT equipment, and do not have appropriate facilities, space, staff, operational budget, adequate collections, and Internet access. The cost of equipment and telecommunication is also an obstacle. Despite these obstacles, some libraries and archives are finding creative ways of responding to the new technologies, supported by leaders, who have recognised the importance of information to education, development, good governance and alleviation of poverty. On the question of telecentres, many libraries agreed that it is a good way of providing information to the community. "Instead of developing new structures, existing institutions should be identified to perform as a telecentre, as well as continue their other role of library, archive or museum", the survey concludes. Further findings are that it will be imperative for funding to be found to support libraries and archives, and projects to be implemented, if the Pacific peoples at large are to be part of the global information age.

For many libraries and archives all over the world, the new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are already having an impact. In the Pacific, the situation is still unclear. There is the view that it is now only a matter of time before many Pacific libraries and archives move into the digital age. This study, commissioned by UNESCO as part of the Pacific Pathway project, seeks to establish a clearer situation for the Pacific. The primary focus of the Pacific Pathway project is promotion of digital access to the Pacific culture represented in the documentary holdings of libraries and archives, or wider access for the community to information in the public domain.

This study, therefore, aims specifically to collect feedback on:

  • the situation of Pacific libraries and archives in respect of access to computers and the Internet

  • digital access for the community at large to information services and collections

  • any plans there may be to promote a wider range of communication and information services for the community

  • the major obstacles to these developments

  • A questionnaire was prepared and sent to libraries, archives and museums in the fifteen UNESCO Pacific member states. The survey attracted little response. Those who responded gave useful information, but limited in some sections of the questionnaire. It was clear that those who completed the questionnaire were unable to provide all the information required. This raises the question of appropriateness of the survey method. It would be more efficient and useful if focus group discussions and face to face interviews in-country were conducted to ensure more inclusive and reliable results.

Despite the shortcomings, there were a number of interesting findings. It was clear that the state of libraries, archives and museums had not improved in the five years since the study on Information Needs in the Pacific Islands had been done. In fact, in some countries, for example in Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, the situation in many of the libraries had deteriorated. Some of the blame could be put on the political situation in the countries in the past five years, but from the findings it is clear that the commitment and support given to libraries by governments in these three countries, and others as well, has been poor.

Since governments do not provide the financial support libraries and archives and museums need, many are unable to purchase the required ICT equipment. Many do not have appropriate facilities, space, staff, operational budget, adequate collections, and Internet access. Libraries and archives continue to suffer from poor perception and lack of awareness of the role of libraries in education and development. Also, despite the ICT Regional Policy adopted by Forum Communication Ministers in April 2002, this has had little effect in terms of reducing the cost of telecommunications in the region, or of equipment and related computer technology.

Work to reduce costs is being spearheaded by the Pacific Forum. Despite the lack of support, developments in ICT-related projects in a number of countries in the region are moving fast. Some are related to education; others to government good governance programmes; and yet others to trade and investment. In all the recent developments, it would seem that the libraries and archives are not being supported as they should be. Instead, developments are taking place mainly in government departments, which is a concern if we regard access as the priority of this Pacific Pathway project. Government departments have established various policies that may
restrict the public's access to information. Which bodies, then, could act as effective information gateways? Despite the obstacles and challenges, some of the libraries, archives and museums are finding creative ways of responding to new technology, users' demand for information, and changes taking place. Each of the libraries that responded to the survey has access to a computer. Some now have Internet access and e-mail. Others have digitisation programmes and plans, and are pushing ahead regardless. Those in this category are largely the institutions and libraries that have special collections. Leaders in these institutions recognise the importance of information to education, development, good governance and alleviation of poverty, and provide the necessary support. Libraries and archives could, therefore, be gateways to global information services as well as providing access to local information. Libraries and archives could allow the public to access the Internet and e-mail services. Other services could include photocopying, use of the telephone, radio broadcasting, and films.

There are other institutions and community centres that could act as effective information gateways. These include schools, local community centres and telecentres. On the question of telecentres as a development in the region to provide the community with information for development, many of the libraries agreed that this was a good development and one that needed to be supported. Instead of developing new structures, existing institutions should be identified to perform the functions of a telecentre, as well as continuing their role of library, archive, school library, community centre or museum.

In such a centre, the use of ICTs, and access to computers, the Internet, e-mail, fax and telephone would be necessary. The infrastructure for these services are available, but the financial resources to put these structures and services in place would have to be found. It would be imperative for some serious commitment to be given to the development of telecentres or digital community services in the Pacific, to allow the public access to information.

This survey aims to ensure that the people in the Pacific participate and take advantage of the developments in ICTs. Based on the results of the survey, a group of experts will devise a number of model projects for possible submission to UNESCO PP-fund in 2004-5 and other sources of funding. It will be imperative for funding to be found and projects implemented, if the Pacific peoples are to be part of the global information age and participate in developmental activities. It will also be important to co-ordinate all the work and developments already taking place in this field.

For more information, contact:
Tarja Virtanen, Adviser for Communication and Information (CI), UNESCO Asia-Pacific Bureau for CI, Safdarjung Enclave B5-29, NEW DELHI 110029.
Tel: 91-11-2671 3000
Fax: 91-11-267-13001/3002

The Sounds of Philadelphia

The Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) to meet in Philadelphia, May 28-31 2003.

The Association for Recorded Sound Collections will be holding its 37th annual conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 28-31 May 2003. Hosted by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, the conference will bring together many of the world's experts in recorded sound history and technology for three days of lectures, demonstrations, and workshops on the history of recorded sound from its very beginnings to the most recent developments of the 21st century.

Philadelphia, famous for both its classical and its popular music, will be featured in many of the sessions. Two of Philadelphia's most renowned recording luminaries, Sigma Sound Studio owner Joe Tarsia, and Cameo/Parkway Records producer-songwriter Dave Appell, will be speaking at the conference. Cameo/Parkway, where Mr Tarsia was a chief engineer, was the center of Philadelphia popular music recording in the 1960s. The independent record company was the home of Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, and the Orlons. The great rhythm & blues hits of the 1970s, such as those by the Stylistics, the O'Jays, and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, were created at Tarsia's Sigma Sound Studios. It was at Sigma that The Sound of Philadelphia was born and bred.

Dr Carole Nowicke will review the work of the Philadelphia Brass Ensemble. The group, made up of members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, recorded a number of important albums in the 1960s, including one that was surpressed by music director Eugene Ormandy. Dr Nowicke will be joined by members of the ensemble.

Millions of Americans collect records for fun and profit, and two sessions will address the arcane world of record collecting and record collectors. Kurt Nauck, owner of one of the world's foremost auction houses for historical recordings, will discuss the value of vintage records and the economics of record collecting. Francis Davis, a Contributing Editor to the Atlantic Magazine, will give a talk titled "Record Collecting: The Mundane Obsession." Record collectors of all sorts will find their talks enlightening and informative. Noted author and producer Dick Spottiswood will talk on the widely acclaimed book Country Music Sources: A Biblio-Discography of Commercially Recorded Traditional Music, which he co-authored with the late Guthrie Meade and his son Douglas S Meade. Called "this generation's most important reference book" by Charles Wolfe of the Institute for the Study of American Music, the session will look at the genesis of this new book that promises to change the study of vernacular American music.

Closing the conference will be the 13th annual ARSC Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research. The awards honor the best research for the previous year and recognize the contribution these authors have made to documenting and preserving our cultural heritage. A pre-conference audio preservation workshop will address technological issues confronting recorded sound collections, offer advice on designing and managing an audio preservation program, and explain the permission process for sound recordings.

Early registration fees are US$100 for ARSC members and US$125 for non-members.
Registration materials, program schedule, and information on local arrangements are available on the conference web site at

ARSC, a non-profit professional and scholarly association, has been at the forefront of research into the history of recorded sound for nearly 40 years. The annual ARSC conference brings together leaders in the history and technology of recorded sound from all over the United States and the world. Information on ARSC is available on the web site at

For more information contact:
General Information: Marjorie Hassen: (215) 898-2817,
Program Information: Samuel Brylawski: (202) 707-8465,

Towards the Complete Archive: Practical Steps for Permanent Results

This year's SEAPAVAA 8th Conference and General Assembly in Brunei Darussalam will be held from 19-23 May 2003 at the SEAMEO VOCTECH Conference Centre in Bandar Seri Begawan a self-contained complex offering a variety of well appointed hotel style accommodation, restaurant, library, and Internet facilities, and symposium and meeting venues. The conference will be hosted by Radio Television Brunei, the National Radio and Television Network in Brunei and a founding member of SEAPAVAA.

The conference theme this year, "Towards the Complete Archive: Practical Steps for Permanent Results", will explore the reality of the gap between theoretical ideal and pragmatic reality, and how archives can work overtime to narrow the gap. Topics include a discussion of the types of archives, the intellectual, strategic and managerial underpinnings necessary for long-term growth and survival, the four pillars of archiving, the challenges posed by technological change, issues in the profession, and some practical strategies that could be employed to narrow the gap.

Aside from the symposium, institutional visits and sightseeing excursions, and the opportunities to network and socialise, the conference will feature the SEAPAVAA Inaugural Screenings Evening where archives showcase important and interesting items from their own collections.

More information and the registration form are available on the SEAPAVAA web site:

PRESTO-SPACE: Proposed EC project on Preservation and Access

There is a new round of European Commission Funding -- the Sixth Framework -- and it had its first Call for Proposals last December, with an April deadline. Successful applicants will be notified in June, and projects are likely to begin next December, says Richard Wright, Technology Manager for Projects at BBC Finance, Property & Business Affairs.

Within the Cultural Heritage Sector, there will probably be three or four large projects, in Digitisation/Restoration, Digital Library technology, and Museum Technology.

Three broadcasters ran a project on Preservation Technology under the 5th Framework: Presto, headed by BBC (UK), INA (France) and RAI (Italy). That project developed new technology for automatic signal monitoring in a 'preservation factory', allowing one operator to transfer four (or more!) audio or video formats simultaneously. This approach may sound like heresy, but it is the only way to reduce preservation costs significantly -- and the computer monitoring, if well done, could still keep quality high. PRESTO technology is now being adopted by the Library of Congress in their major audiovisual digitisation project.

But, who can afford a Preservation Factory? Only medium and large audio archives, and only quite large video archives -- and PRESTO really didn't provide a factory approach for film.

The objective of the new project is to provide affordable preservation technology for the entire audiovisual sector. There are two main approaches:
1) establishing pay-as-you-use preservation services, where small institutions can rent time on somebody else's factory
2) linking preservation to access, and developing a full package of "preservation, documentation, coding, website development" -- to open up collections for web access, for educational or commercial use.

PRESTO-SPACE will emphasise film. Audio is seen as the area where archives already know what to do and how to do it, where there are sophisticated vendors of technology specialised for audio archives, and where digitisation progress is already well established. Video is an area where the mass-production approach is known, but not widely taken because it means digitising to a server as a first stage (where the automatic monitoring takes place), and far too much video preservation remains tape-to-tape rather than using a server. Film is the weakest link: the cultural sector hasn't accepted digitisation as anything but an intermediate step, with "writing back to film" as the final step.

Unfortunately film will not be made forever, and could go out of production in as little as a decade (whenever Hollywood switches to 'digital cinema'). So PRESTO-SPACE will promote a cost-effective digital solution for actual preservation of at least 16mm B&W film, including developing an 'archive special' telecine specifically for this purpose. By preservation, we mean digitisation at sufficiently good quality that archives can throw away the old film.

Again, this is heresy, but in our view film-to-film preservation is not a long-term solution (because sooner or later blank film will go out of production), and not a cost-effective solution.

So, what's in it for IASA? The work we do linking preservation and access may be of interest, particularly linking preservation metadata with web site production, and whatever progress we can make on rights issues. We would like to promote common European policy on educational access and cultural institution access to audiovisual material. Part of using access to fund preservation is a general campaign to extend access, and eliminate artificial barriers (as has been done so effectively by the Mediathek in Vienna, for instance).

We will keep the Bulletin posted on our progress.

Preservation of Electronic Records: New Knowledge and Decision-making

September 15-18, 2003
Library and Archives of Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA

Hosted by the Canadian Conservation Institute, the Library and Archives of Canada, and the Canadian Heritage Information Network, this symposium is intended to increase awareness of the issues surrounding electronic records by bringing expert and leading-edge opinions to a large audience including small and medium-sized archives, libraries, and museums. The program will be based on the chronological decisions that need to be made as electronic records come into heritage institutions. The focus will be on making decisions and finding practical solutions that can be implemented immediately. In addition to formal papers there will be a poster session and trade show. Tours, receptions, and a banquet are also planned. The symposium will appeal to anyone interested in the preservation of electronic records.

In conjunction with Symposium 2003, the organizers are planning a special event for the general public. Preservation Quest: How to preserve your home movies, CDs, videos, and more will take place Sunday, September 14, 2003 from 1 to 5 p.m. Designed to raise public awareness about the conservation issues surrounding their own personal electronic records, this fun, interactive, and informative afternoon will include short information sessions, tours of a state-of-the-art music studio, films, and booths were the public can talk to the experts.

For further information and/or to register for the symposium, visit CCI's Web site ( or contact:

Christine Bradley
Canadian Conservation Institute
1030 Innes Road
Ottawa ON K1A 0M5

tel.: (613) 998-3721
fax: (613) 998-4721

Sites and Sounds

For a high-level presentation by Barbara Tillett at the Library of Congress on the Virtual International Authority File project, with a strong recommendation that cataloguers acquaint themselves with this new development, the likes of which have been in the dreams of cataloguers for decades (according to Chris Clark), have a look at

Calendar of events

Date Event Location
March 14-15 IASA Mid-year Board meeting Pretoria, South Africa
March 22 25 114th AES Convention Amsterdam
April 3 5 Joint IASA/FIAT/DELOS meeting on digitisation Helsinki, Finland (YLE)
May 19-23 Second National Sound Archive Seminar Mexico City
May 19-23 SEAPAVAA 8th Conference and General Assembly Brunei Darussalam
May 28-31 37th Annual ARSC Conference Philadelphia, PA
July 6 - 11 IAML Conference Tallinn, Estonia
July 24-26 Symposium: Sound Savings: Preserving Audio Collections Austin, Texas
August 1 9 69th IFLA Council and General Conference
Access point library
September 6-10 FIAT/IFTA annual conference Brussels, Belgium
September 21 25 IASA ANNUAL CONFERENCE Pretoria, South Africa
November Caribbean Seminar Jamaica
November 18 22 AMIA Conference Vancouver, Canada
January June
(to be confirmed)
Joint Technical Symposium Montreal, Canada
August 8 - 13 IAML-IASA joint Annual Conference Oslo, Norway
August 23 28 ICA Annual Conference Vienna
November 9 13 AMIA Conference Minneapolis, U.S.
September (2nd half) IASA Annual Conference Barcelona, Spain

This Information Bulletin was compiled by:

The Editor - Ilse Assmann,
SABC, PO Box 931, 2006, Auckland Park, Johannesburg, South Africa,
Tel: 27 (0)11 714 4041, Fax: 27 (0)11 714 4419, Email:

Language editor: Dorothy van Tonder, SABC
Printed and produced in South Africa by Heypenni Gold