Information Bulletin no. 49, April 2004

IASA Member Wins Prestigious AMIA Award

One of ScreenSound Australia's Curators Emeritus, Ray Edmondson, was recently presented with the prestigious Silver Light Award by the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) based in Hollywood.

AMIA is the world's largest professional membership organisation concerned with the preservation of moving images. It has an international membership of over 750. The Silver Light Award recognises outstanding career achievement in moving image archiving.  

Speaking during the Award presentation in Vancouver late last year, Dr Paolo Cherchi Usai, Senior Curator of Film at George Eastman House, said that Ray Edmondson was now a travelling teacher. 'He has promoted the first internet course in moving image archiving, now held at the Charles Sturt University; he is one of the core instructors and a member of the Advisory Board of the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation at George Eastman House; and he is the most generous, forthcoming mentor to all of us, veterans of the field and students, longtime curators and entry-level employees in film archives.'  

In accepting the Award, Ray responded: 'I know it is a truism to say that whatever any of us achieve as individuals, we do not do it alone, and it is no less true for all its familiarity. Whatever this Award says about me, it also speaks volumes for the numerous colleagues who have helped me, befriended me, advised me, boosted my sagging morale and backstopped my mistakes. Many of them are here in this room and I can only say thank you, all of you. And can I ask you to look around you, because here in this room are gathered roughly 15 per cent of the world's audiovisual archivists. We are a small, if growing, profession, and a passionate, committed and highly interdependent one.'

More information at

on the wire, March 2004
With kind permission from ScreenSound, Australia

IASA Travel Grants for Oslo - Reminder

The deadline for applications for travel grants to go to the joint IASA/IAML Conference in Oslo 8-13 August 2004 has been extended to 1st June 2004.

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

Important: Your application must be in accordance with the guidelines, published on Applications which don't follow the guidelines and applications received after 1st June 2004 will not be met.

Please send your application to: Eva Fønss-Jørgensen, State and University Library, Universitetsparken, DK - 8000 Aarhus C, Phone +45 8946 2051, Fax +45 8946 2220, email:

New members

Danièle Branger, 7 rue Danville, 75014 Paris, FRANCE is renewing her membership.

Mary Wedgewood, 3700 Massachusetts Ave., NW #116 Washington, DC 20016 USA joins IASA because she is the 'Sound recording and music cataloger for Library of Congress'

Funding Assistance: 2004 Joint Technical Symposium

Funding assistance for participation in the JTS is available through a grant from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). JTS2004 is being held in Toronto, Canada from 24-26 June 2004.

Funding is intended to assist archivists from developing countries by defraying travel and subsistence costs. Priority is being given to female candidates and those from Least Developed Countries, Africa and small island states. There will be at least ten awards; the average individual award will be approximately $2,000. Recommendations will be submitted to CCAAA members for approval with final approval given by UNESCO.

Potential candidates are asked to provide the following information: name, institutional affiliation, address, country, gender, departure country/city, statement of interest and need, list of current memberships.

Names of potential candidates must be submitted to the AMIA Office by April 25, 2004

Any questions regarding this funding may be directed to the AMIA Office: 1313 North Vine St., Los Angeles, CA 90028; Email:; Tel: 323-463-1500; Fax: 323-463-1506. More information about JTS 2004 is available at:

The 2004 ARSC / SAM Conference - A Busy Affair

The Association for Recorded Sound Collections & Society for American Music conference on March 10-14 in Cleveland, Ohio was a busy affair, with up to five sessions taking place simultaneously. Its location at the heart of downtown Cleveland allowed delegates to explore and appreciate some fine industrial architecture during what few stolen moments they could muster.

Some sessions were hosted jointly by the two organisations, including a sometimes heated discussion on music downloading and file swapping. Industry and academic representatives discussed strategies varying from educational initiatives and legal action brought against "egregious users", to software which can detect and block the transfer of copyrighted material. Responses from the floor questioned whether music culture is in fact under threat as had been claimed, and suggested that in evaluating the problem, large recording companies should be prepared to critically re-examine their own past and present conduct.

Cleveland's contribution to early recording science and industry was highlighted by some interesting papers on the work of Dayton C. Miller (George Brock-Nannestad), The U-S Phonograph Company (Bill Klinger and Philip Carli), Ken Hamann (Susan Schmidt Horning) and others.

The ARSC Technical Committee held a roundtable discussion on all aspects of the preservation of magnetic tape media, while Elizabeth Surles of the Starr-Gennett Foundation described the practical problems and growing pains of a recently created archive.

Different aspects of discography were discussed. Noel Cohen and Steve Albin described and demonstrated a new discographic software programme which is freely available from Sam Brylawski discussed the AVRL (American Vintage Record Labelography; ), which is an official ARSC project involving a great number of institutions and individuals. One aim of the project is that the "final" discography might also serve as a catalogue.

Highly enjoyable excursions to University Circle, which lies at the heart of the cultural and academic life of Cleveland, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, also helped to make this an enjoyable and memorable conference.

Will Prentice
British Library Sound Archive

Report from the German / Swissgerman Branch

After returning from an excellent IASA Conference in Pretoria with overwhelming impressions of South Africa's people and landscapes everyday business comes back to all of us and here is what concerns the recent activities of IASA's German/Swissgerman Branch.

At the end of October 2003 our annual meeting was hosted by Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv (DRA) in Potsdam-Babelsberg close to Berlin. Almost 80 attendants visited that famous location of German film and TV production listening to a bunch of papers and presentations with a first focus on digitisation projects and other activities of DRA.

Pio Pellizzari and Kurt Deggeller gave a summary of the ongoing work to establish the branch's discography project "FDHT" (intending to develop an electronic discography of historic sound recordings of the German speaking area from the beginnings till 1950). The project was linked with European Union project "SOKRATES" which is coordinated by Austrian IASA member "Gesellschaft für historische Tonträger".

Several branch members presented their work and institutions, covering ethnological studies on African Music and the cooperation between the German and African archives as well as the restoration of an extremely rare gramophone doll or a new offer for a Swiss-German course of studies in music information management.

The general assembly saw the election of the branch's new board till 2006. Michael Crone, head of the archives at Hessischer Rundfunk Frankfurt, was elected President. Vice Chairs are Ingo Kolasa, Rudolf Mueller and Reinhard Otto, Treasurer is Klemens Helmholz and Secretary is Detlef Humbert. After six years in office Kurt Deggeller is now Immediate Past President.

At present the board's work is focusing on planning and preparing this year's conference in the beginning of November hosted by Germany's external broadcasting company Deutsche Welle who meanwhile have moved from Cologne to the former German Capital Bonn. Main topics are planned to be the activities of Deutsche Welle, collecting of cultural heritage in the digital era from documentary and technical views and of course the annual general assembly.

Detlef Humbert
SWR, Stuttgart

Oral Testimony - Life History Radio Programme Concluded

UNESCO and the Panos Institute West Africa (PIWA) have just concluded the "Oral Testimony" training and production project, resulting in 12 radio documentaries produced and broadcast through some 300 community radio stations in eight Western African countries.

Oral testimonies are radio documentaries that treat several topics depicting different ethnic and religious groups: how they interface, integrate and reconcile in a changing environment. The methodology of oral testimony is based on a specific interview method using testimonies of the local populations.

The training and production project focused on the life of young people in a complex and multicultural surrounding. Through the radio programmes, the views of the young people themselves, often ignored by traditional urban media, are expressed. The main objective of the initiative was to increase intercultural awareness and sensitising young generations on humanity's need for tolerance, dialogue and peace.

The project was supported within the framework of UNESCO's international venture "Intensifying the Dialogue among Communities, Cultures and Civilizations".

* Panos Institute West Africa (PIWA): <>
* UNESCO and Intercultural Dialogue <>

Rosa Gonzalez, UNESCO, Communication Development Division,

Pacific Cultural Heritage Materials: Survey of Documentary Collections Now Online

The needs of libraries and archives to preserve their collections related to the Pacific and to make them accessible through digitisation are discussed in a study entitled "Pacific Cultural Heritage Materials: A Desk Survey of Print & Documentary Collections" by Sin Joan Yee of the Library of the University of the South Pacific in in Suva, Fiji, that is now online available.

The desk study was initiated by UNESCO as a follow-up to the Expert Meeting "Pacific Pathways: Digital Libraries and Archives in the Pacific" that was held at the National Library of New Zealand, 12-15 November 2002.

This desk study/survey aims to identify collections that have been digitised and those that are available online within and outside the Pacific region, and recommend how these could be best made available to educational and cultural institutes in the Pacific and to the public at large. I also intends to Identify collections that have not yet been digitised, and provide advice on the viability and cost of digitising these collections .

Collections of print and documentary collections of Pacific cultural heritage materials are scattered throughout the world including the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, USA and within the Pacific Islands themselves. Collections identified include photographs, archival materials such as correspondence, newspapers, out-of-print rare books, postcards, etc.

The study explores the pros and cons of digitisation in the Pacific context. The major arguments against digitisation include: high costs, need for expensive equipment and high level of expertise, other more urgent priorities (e.g. better physical conditions for collections, more trained staff, a better operating budget), copyright issues, and the lack of a reliable ICT infrastructure. The major constraint (i.e. the high costs of digitisation) is examined in detail: capital costs include high equipment costs; recurrent costs include costs for expertise with specialized skills, communications, electricity, space, etc. It is noted that the alternative option of microfilming has been tried and proven over the years, and is very cost-effective.

However, digitisation does present many advantages over microfilming including better access by remote users, searchability of documents, and ease and cost-effectiveness of making higher quality copies. In the Pacific context, where small populations are scattered over huge geographical distances, digitization can be seen as the ideal method for providing better access to Pacific cultural heritage materials if the constraints could be overcome. At the same time, these documents can be preserved as many of them are deteriorating rapidly and in imminent danger of being lost to future generations.

* UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme
* Library of the University of the South Pacific

Tarja Virtanen, UNESCO New Delhi Office

IASA Experts Much In Demand At BroadcastAsia 2004

On request of ABU, the Asia&Pacific Broadcasting Union, IASA members Dietrich Schueller and Albrecht Haefner have agreed to hold a one-day tutorial on 'Techniques and Methods for the Preservation and Restoration of Audio Material in Sound Archives'. The tutorial will take place on Tuesday 15th June at the fringe of the BroadcastAsia 2004 exhibition in Singapore.

For more information visit

"TRACES" - 100 Years of Photographic Heritage of Switzerland

If you plan to visit Switzerland this summer make a stop at Neuchâtel and visit the exhibition of photographs from twelve preservation and digitisation projects of Memoriav, the Association for the Preservation of the Audiovisual Heritage of Switzerland.  

The exhibition will run from May 26 to September 19, and will be open for viewing from Wednesday to Friday from 14:00 to 18:00, as well as Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00, at the "Espace culturel de la Tour OFS", the new tower close to the railway station.

BAPMAF: An Active Resource Centre

The Bokoor African Popular Music Archives Foundation ( BAPMAF) is an officially registered NGO in Ghana. It was established in 1990 by a group of leading Ghanaian popular musicians and musicologists ( John Collins, King Bruce, E.T. Mensah, Beattie Casely-Hayford, Koo Nimo, Kwaa Mensah, etc) who were initially concerned with the lack of research and information on the one hundred year old history of local Ghanaian highlife music and the demise of the 'classical' styles of this genre. Since then the archives has expanded into other areas of African music, both popular and traditional, and the core of the archival holdings now consists of eight hundred hours of Ghanaian/African recorded music (shellac, vinyl and field recordings dating back to 1928), seven hundred rare photographs (dating back to the 1890's) and seven hundred books, journals, manuscripts, album covers, posters, etc.

Since 1990 BAPMAF has became an active resource centre making it archives, expertise, books and recorded materials available to various local and international archival/educational organizations. Foreign organisations include the Smithsonian Institution, the US Library of Congress, the Herskovits Library at Evanston, the British Arts Council, the Music Foundation of Nigeria, Iwalewa Hausa and the University of Mainz in Germany. It is a member of the UNESCO Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity ( ID no. GHA/AG/185). In Ghana BAPMAF has supplied materials to the Padmore Library, the National Folklore Board, the DuBois Memorial Centre, the National Commission on Culture, the International Centre for African Music and Dance, the AGORO informal education project at Cape Coast, Kofi Ghanaba' s African Heritage Library at Samsam and various local schools such as John Tei and Saint John' s Senior Secondary School .

BAPMAF has also been collaborating with organisations in Ghana such as the German Goethe Institute's 1996 'Highlife Month', after which a BAPMAF Highlife Photo Exhibition was set up at Bokoor House for six years that hosted groups of foreign and local students/researchers/musicians. In 2001 BAPMAF and the French Embassy organised two week 'Highlife Story'. In 2002 BAPMAF was involved with the Swiss Embassy launch of a Basel Mission archival CD 'Ghanaian Popular Music 1931-57' and with the Black History Month of the US Embassy's Public Affairs Section. BAPMAF is currently (2004) involved in work with two local NGO's: the Presence music youth talent-scout association and the 'Sign-tific' experimental fusion-music organization.

Closely associated with the BAPMAF is Bokoor Studio that began operating in 1982, and which has recorded hundreds of local bands for the Ghanaian and international market. It is now one of the longest continuously running recording studios in Ghana and has consistently produced low-budget but quality works and enhanced the careers of many local musicians. It has also done a number of analytical field-recordings of traditional music for archival and academic purposes (with Professor J.H.K. Nketia, Michael Ganyoh, Dr. Willie Anku, etc). Bokoor Studio has deposited in the BAPMAF holdings the analogue studio-tapes of over one hundred Ghanaian traditional, highlife, gospel and Afro-fusion groups it has recorded since the early 1980's.

Current Developments

The BAPMAF Board has now decided to expand its facilities to include the following :-

  1. A Digital Documentation and Data Base Centre This involves the digitalising and creating of a data-bass of the existing analogue music recordings, photographs and documents in the BAPMAF holdings. Preserving these already existing holdings is imperative due to the gradual decay of old documents, photographs and analogue recordings.

  2. A Multi-Media Laboratory for current/on-going documentation. This includes a permanent analogue/digital audio recording studio and a video recording and editing studio that will allow for interviews, 'talking heads' and the recording of performance ensembles and distance teaching lectures. A mobile recording/documentation unit will also be included

  3. The Highlife Institute This will focus on BAPMAF's educational services by providing a space for library and exhibition/seminar rooms, a mobile education unit, distance teaching facilities, a website and a database accessible to libraries and universities.

Fourteen Specific Areas that BAPMAF is Developing

  • Digitalization and creating a data base for the music, photographic, literary and video archives of BAPMAF and other holdings donated by specific local and international collectors and organizations

  • Act as facilitator/consultant/resource center for various arts projects in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa and abroad.

  • Provide educational facilities to students, including a mobile teaching unit.

  • Document the history of Ghanaian/African traditional and popular music .

  • Encourage creative musical experimentation by live performance bands, help young Ghanaians re-connect with live performance culture and endorse house-bands .

  • Hold lectures and seminars for local and international scholars.

  • To continue operating the BAPMAF Highlife Photographic Exhibition first opened to the Ghanaian public and tourists in 1996.

  • To train artists, recording engineers, technicians and promoters to world-class standards.

  • Have audio-video archives with listening terminals for Ghanaian and foreign students, scholars and artists.

  • Record, produce and promote African performing artists on cassette, CD's, video, DVD's, photograph and publications for educational and cultural purposes.

  • Encourage collaborative projects between local and international artists.

  • Facilities for recording lectures for distance teaching.

  • Have its own website for distance teaching, intra-African networking, and the international promotion of the Ghanaian and African performing arts.

  • Make links with like-minded organizations, align with World Music producers/promoters and collaborate with university performance schools and African/African-American studies departments.

For further details on BAPMAF see Website

John Collins

Calendar of events

Date Event Location
10-14 March ARSC-SAM Conference Cleveland, Ohio
18-24 April FIAF-SEAPAVAA Joint Congress Hanoi, Vietnam
24-26 June Joint Technical Symposium 2004 Toronto, Canada
8 - 13 August IAML-IASA joint Annual Conference Oslo, Norway
23 - 28 August ICA Annual Conference Vienna
October FIAT/IFTA Annual Conference Paris
9 -13 November 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