Information Bulletin no. 53, July 2005

The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives

Karma Khedup joined the LTWA in 1992 as an Assistant Librarian. He was promoted in 1994 to the post of the Deputy Editor of the Oral History Department's audiovisual section. His job is to record, catalogue and archive all the audio and video material, including the teachings of H H the Dalai Lama and other High Lamas, traditional music, folklore, oral histories, interviews with eminent scholars, senior citizens and other significant resources that are Tibetan, or relevant to Tibet. Since 2000, he has also been working on digitization of the audio recordings on magnetic tape.

Conceived of, and founded, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on 11 June 1970, the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (LTWA) is one of the most important institutions in the world dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of Tibetan culture. Located in the compound of the Tibetan Government-in-exile, the library serves as a repository for Tibetan artefacts and manuscripts, and a centre for language and cultural education. Its holdings include more than 80 000 manuscripts, books and audiovisual documents, hundreds of Thankas (traditional scroll paintings), statues and other artefacts, over 6 000 photographs and other significant materials.

As a centre for the study of Tibetan culture, the LTWA is firmly dedicated to a threefold vision of preservation, protection and promotion. The library looks forward into the next century, confident of its role to preserve, and educate others about, a culture threatened with destruction. More than three decades after its founding, the need for such an institution as the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives has continued to grow.

The primary objective of the LTWA is to provide a comprehensive cultural resource centre and to promote an environment fostering research and exchange of knowledge between scholars and students. This is of the utmost importance in a contemporary world shaped by political and spiritual confusion. In trying to fulfil its objectives, the library's priorities include:

  • acquiring and conserving Tibetan books and manuscripts, artefacts and works of art;
  • providing access to books, manuscripts and reference works (in Tibetan and foreign languages) in study areas in the library;
  • compiling bibliographies and documentation of library holdings and related literature available world wide;
  • providing copies and prints of library holdings, and acting as a reference centre for such source materials;
  • publishing books and manuscripts under the LTWA's imprint;
  • supporting research and study of the Tibetan language, classical as well as modern, and the traditional arts and crafts.

The LTWA has been in operation since 1 November 1971. It has opened its doors to numerous scholars from many countries. It has launched educational programmes in language, philosophy, culture and the traditional arts. It has encouraged computer projects and other initiatives aimed at preserving Tibetan thought and culture. The LTWA sponsors international seminars. It engages in book exchange programmes with other libraries, and distributes its own publications in Tibetan and English throughout the world. The library holdings increase every year and class enrolments in the Centre of Tibetan Studies continue to climb. The LTWA works in close collaboration with other similar institutions, centres and the offices of the CTA (Central Tibetan Administration). With each year of operation, increasing numbers of visitors, researchers and students are drawn to this institution, which is able to provide them with an educational and cultural experience available nowhere else in the world.

The LTWA is supervised directly by H H the Dalai Lama. Being a non-profit academic institution, the library is funded by donations and grants. A portion of its funds is raised through the sale of books and publications, temporary accommodation rentals, class fees and academic services at normal rates. Public and private foundations and other philanthropic organizations have also provided funding for specific projects in the past. The LTWA is subdivided into eight distinct departments:

  • Administration department (includes the computer section)

  • Tibetan books & manuscripts library

  • Foreign language reference library (includes Tibetan architecture & documentation section)

  • Museum

  • Tibetan publications

  • Non-Tibetan publications

  • Research & translation (includes the Centre for Tibetan Studies)

  • Oral history (includes the audiovisual section)

The oral history department's audiovisual section is the only active Tibetan Oral History programme in the world. In operation since 1976, the collection consists of more than 25 000 hours of audiovisual heritage of Tibetan culture and Buddhist religious activities. It is by nature a long-term project, and one of the most important projects of the LTWA.

The work of each department is distinctly different from the others. All the departments are involved in their own sphere of work that contributes to realization of the common goal of the LTWA in general. Some of the major works that are currently being undertaken are:

  • Digitization of Kangyur and Tengyur: Centuries old handwritten manuscripts are at risk of being damaged completely because of the constant handling for research purpose. Steps have been taken to digitize these fragile documents, including the original translations of the teachings of Buddha (Kangyur) and their commentaries (Tengyur) which could be made available later - to scholars, researchers, students and the general public; anyone interested in learning the deeper aspects of Buddhism and Tibetan culture through secure channels.

  • Publications: Prior to 1959, Tibet had neither proper print systems for publications, nor many printing presses. Hence, publications were rather scarce. There were many unpublished yet significant works on different facets of Tibetan culture, history, religion, etc.. Now as many of these as possible are being made available to the audience, both in Tibet and in foreign languages. The publication department has hitherto published more than 300 titles, and many more are in the pipeline.

  • Preservation of books and manuscripts: This is one of the main services offered to the general public, and in particular to the Tibetan audience. There is an increasing number of scholars, researchers, students and others from different parts of the world visiting the Library to access the materials here. Although there is a good collection of reference material on the Tibetan language and its allied subjects, the library is too small to accommodate the increasing demands of the visitors. Acquisitions need to be augmented to meet the demands of the users.

  • Digitization of sound archives: There are more than 25 000 hours of recorded teachings of the past great masters, interviews, talks, speeches, oral transmissions and the like, covering various dimensions of Tibetan culture, tradition and religion. Almost all of them are recorded on conventional magnetic tapes (cassettes as well as reel tapes) that have poor durability. Preservation of these significant recordings is of the utmost importance, before the conditions deteriorate further and the damage becomes irreparable. Digitization of the audiovisual materials is in progress, but far from completed, owing to a dearth of resources.

To continue discussing the work of the audiovisual section and its current situation, here are some more details. From 1981 until 1991 the Ford Foundation funded the Oral History project. Fortunately, the work could continue through monetary contributions from private donors and other benefactors.

The recordings of the audiovisual collection are composed of films, gramophone records, audio cassettes, video cassettes, reel tapes, DATs, CD-Rs, and DVDs. All the recordings are properly catalogued, both on computer spreadsheets and in hand-written registers.

Since 2000, audio recordings have been made in digital format (DAT), allowing greater reliability in storage and taking up less storage space, and offering to save time. During a couple of years, funds have been made available to buy a file server system to store those recordings that have already been digitized. However, the audiovisual collection lacks sufficient funds to digitize all the material. For the same reason, no back-up copies are made. Nevertheless, the goal of the project is to have the entire holdings of the audiovisual collection transferred onto digital format by 2010.

The LTWA's audiovisual collection is critical to preservation of the Tibetan culture, because it is part of the collective memory of Tibet. Transfer of these vast but fragile holdings to a durable medium will enable the library to expand its services to a wider range of library users without jeopardizing the integrity of the master copies. Other people will benefit, most of all the young Tibetans who are curious about their homeland that they have never seen.

There are various developmental works on the anvil that facilitate realization of the aims and objectives of the LTWA. As long as there are adequate resources, the work of preservation and promotion of one of the most ancient civilizations of the world will be carried on for the coming generations.

Karma Khedup (Ven.)
Audiovisual Section

IASA Conference 2005, Barcelona

A reminder that the IASA Annual Conference 2005 will take place in Barcelona, Spain, from 11 to 15 September. It is being organised by the Biblioteca de Catalunya in collaboration with the Spanish and Andorran members of IASA (Biblioteca Nacional Española, ERESBIL, Lluís Úbeda and Arxiu Històric Nacional d'Andorra). The conference will focus on the theme "Archives speak: Who listens?". The aim is to reinforce communication between the offers and demands of sound and audiovisual archives. The conference venue will be the Institute of Catalan Studies, a magnificent 17th century building attached to the civil gothic structure of the former Hospital de la Santa Creu (Holy Cross Hospital).

The conference website is updated regularly, and a preliminary programme has been added to give you a taste of what to expect:

Bigger, better, best….

IASA welcomes the following members:

AIMP (Archives Internationales de Musique Populaire), Geneve, is a sound archive based in Geneva, founded in 1944 by Constantin Brailoiu. The archives contain about 11 000 items in all formats, of which about 80% are edited material, and 20% original deposits from researchers. AIMP can be consulted at The contact person is Patrik Vincent Dasen (

Eduardo Ortiz from Mexico ( is an individual collector of voice recordings from mainly Hispanic literature authors and currently has about 100 individual recordings on vinyl LP, cassete and CD. His collection can be viewed on

Absolutely Wild Visuals (AWV) from Australia ( specialises in Wildlife, Landscapes, Marine, Time-lapse, Aerials, Science and Medicine footage. Their footage collection is primarily originated on 35mm, Super 16mm and High definition. The have a strong interest in best practices for Digital Asset Management for film.

John Vallier from Los Angeles is an archivist in an ethnomusicology archive and is responsible for audiovisual preservation and digitization, description, and outreach of the collection. He can be contacted at

Yasuyuki Shimizu ( is a professor of linguistics at a university in Tokyo, Japan, and is engaged in research into early voice recordings, especially recorded in the Japanese language. He would like to get information on the issue.

The MARTLab research and production centre for musical technologies in Firenze, Italy, was founded as a joint project of the Conservatory of Music of Florence \"Luigi Cherubini\" and the Institute ISTI of the National Research Council of Italy, with the external contribution of the Tuscany branch of the National Broadcasting Company RAI. The laboratory has gained valuable experience in dealing with the analysis of tape media, assessment of physical condition and original recording parameters, digitisation process, restoration and all the related handling problems. The laboratory is equipped with the most advanced tools for performing its tasks according to internationally recognised standards. From a higher perspective the Laboratory operates in the broader domain of the new musical technologies: it is active in the theoretical and applied research in analogue/digital technologies, in the audio production and post-production. It draws its experience from more than 20 years of activities in the area of research applied to music that were centred on the first classes in Italy of Musical Informatics and Electronic Music organised by Pietro Grossi. These activities were performed in the Research Group of Computational Musicology, a joint team of the Institute ISTI-CNR of Pisa (formerly CNUCE) and the Conservatory of Florence. Their email address is

Harriet Pierce from the West Indies ( is the librarian at the television station in Barbados and takes direct responsibility for management of the audio-tape/music archive. The Corporation was established in 1963 and most of the collection is on 1/4 in. magnetic tape and vinyl.

Marcos Sueiro Bal is from New York and is involved in transfer and preservation of audio with institutions such as Emory University and the Alan Lomax Archives. He can be contacted at

IASA has always preferred bank transfers or deposits to Internet or credit card payments, simply because of the lack of permanent bank facilities and banking costs.

The Internet has opened another way for members to pay. Through PayPal, members can now pay for their publications online. PayPal can be used to send and receive payments through the Internet. The only prerequisite for members who would like to make use of the PayPal option is to send their eMail addresses to the IASA Treasurer, Anke Leenings.

The customer will receive an invoice, which IASA will issue with the help of PayPal-software (and which looks quite different from the normal IASA invoices). This invoice contains all the necessary information that will assist the customer in how to proceed with the payment. Members are notified via an email from PayPal that they have received a payment. PayPal also accepts credit cards.

For more information about this form of payment:

IASA Archive under New Management

In 1986 a group of IASA members, Claas Cnattingius, Dietrich Lotichius, Ulf Scharlau and Rolf Schuursma, made a proposal to the IASA Board to establish "something like a History of the IASA Committee in order to try to collect as many documents as possible which might be seen as relevant sources for IASA's history" (Ulf Scharlau).

The IASA Board appointed Ulf Scharlau to establish the IASA Archives. Ulf began to collect the records and documentation from the "founding fathers" of IASA and added his own material to this collection. Ulf served on the IASA Board from 1978 to 1990. The collection grew extensively as members such as Helen Harrison, George Boston, and Mary Miliano started to send their material to Ulf. Ulf housed the collection in "his" broadcast archives in Stuttgart at SDR (today SWR).

Ulf retired last year and proposed to the IASA Board to keep the collection in Stuttgart and to pass this job to me. By the end of February this year I was appointed as IASA's new archivist.

One of the first things I needed to know was how much of the historical records of IASA were preserved and how much are missing.

My first request for material came from George Boston, who, on behalf of the Technical Committee, was searching for articles with technical content in the "Phonographic Bulletin". All the "Phonographic Bulletin" issues (Summer 1971 till November 1992), as well as the "IASA Journal" (since May 1993) have been preserved as complete collections here in the "vaults". I was able to help George. But, I also learned how relative "complete" can be. I learned from George's mail that "Pre-Phonographic Bulletins" from the very beginning of IASA must exist somewhere.

My "new job" in the service of IASA looks exciting to me, linking Sherlock Holmes' investigations with the digging in the Valley of Kings. But before treasure hunting for legendary pieces like a Chair's bell or a pair of IASA-green knickers, the 'tools of the trade' have to be determined - in agreement with the Board - as to what to keep as part of the "memory of IASA". Being an IASA member only since 1994 I need your support to keep the IASA Archive going. Detlef Humbert can be contacted at

Detlef Humbert, IASA Archivist

Management of Audiovisual Collections

TAPE (Training for Audiovisual Preservation in Europe) will hold a workshop on Management of Audiovisual Collections, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, from 28 September - 4 October 2005.

Librarians, archivists and curators in charge of audiovisual collections need to know about the role of new technology in collection management. Digitisation offers unprecedented opportunities for access to historical materials. But how can it be combined with established preservation methods in an integrated strategy, to ensure optimal access today as well as in the future?

In this 5-day workshop, the characteristics of film, video and sound recordings, and the different recording systems and devices, will be reviewed. Specific requirements for their handling and preservation will be related to the nature and function of different kinds of audiovisual materials. The workshop will explore the different transfer and conversion methods, technical requirements in relation to quality, and long-term management of digital files. Issues will be approached as management problems, and due attention will be given to matters such as needs assessment, setting priorities, planning, budgeting and outsourcing, and project management.

Participants will acquire knowledge of technical issues that will enable them to make informed decisions about the role of digitisation in care and management of audiovisual collections. The speakers will present outlines of issues and practical cases, and a substantial part of the workshops will be spent on discussions and group assignments to develop participants' skill at finding their own solutions.

Target group
All those responsible for audiovisual collections in archives, museums, libraries. For this introductory course, no specific technical expertise is required.

The workshop will be in English. Participants are expected to have a working knowledge of English in order to participate in discussions.

European Commission on Preservation and Access, Amsterdam, the Netherlands The workshops are supported by the Culture 2000 programme of the EU as part of the TAPE project.

Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam.

Registration fee
600 euros. The fee includes coffees, teas, lunches and a course pack with reading materials. Participants from institutes who are TAPE partners or ECPA contributors will pay 500 euros.

How to apply
For online registration: The registration deadline is 1 August 2005.

In view of the character of the workshops, which require group work and active participation, the number of participants is limited. If the number of applications exceeds the number of available places, a selection will be made. Preference will be given to those applicants who manage an audiovisual collection. A detailed programme will be mailed after confirmation. Applicants will be informed by 15 August whether their application has been accepted.

For more information on the TAPE project:

For more information on the workshop contact the ECPA:
European Commission on Preservation and Access (ECPA) P.O. Box 19121, NL-1000 GC Amsterdam, visiting address: c/o KNAW, Trippenhuis, Kloveniersburgwal 29, NL-1011 JV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
tel. ++31 - 20 - 551 08 39 fax ++31 - 20 - 620 49 41

Survey on Audiovisual Archives in Europe launched

TAPE has also launch a survey to identify problems and priorities in audiovisual archives in Europe, an initiative for training for audiovisual preservation in Europe. The results of the survey, which is supported by the Netherlands National Commission for UNESCO, aims at promoting preservation of audiovisual collections and developing training activities.

The questionnaire is available on TAPE's website as a PDF file as well as web form ( in eight languages (English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Polish, Russian, Spanish). Responses should be submitted by 1 August 2005. Responses will be treated confidentially and in the survey that will be published organizations will not be named. All the organizations that respond will receive a printed copy of the final publication.

UNESCO seeks to preserve the audiovisual heritage comprising film, television and sound recordings. Adoption by the UNESCO General Conference in October 1980 of the Recommendation for the Safeguarding and Preservation of Moving Images marked a historic moment when film, television and sound recordings became recognized officially and defined as part of the national cultural heritage in the same way textual information had been regarded for centuries. UNESCO's objective is the development of audiovisual archival infrastructure, trained professionals and accepted professional reference points to ensure the safeguard and preservation of the audiovisual heritage of humanity.

Ukuqala (The First One)

IASA and FIAT will join forces to host a joint workshop in South Africa from 10 to 14 October 2005. This will be a first in Southern Africa. It will focus on audiovisual archive training in the Southern African region, including countries such as Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Angola and Zimbabwe, to name a few. The workshop is organised by the National Film, Video and Sound Archives, as well as all the major broadcasting archives in South Africa, such as the SABC, M-Net and

The aim of the workshop will be to strengthen the existing expertise in audiovisual archiving in Southern Africa, and to expose participants to the latest developments in audiovisual preservation.

Papers from IASA and FIAT experts will focus on the essential elements of audiovisual archive management: selection, purpose of the archive, acquisition activities, cataloguing, preservation and protection, storage, access issues, legal issues, overall management issues.

Pan-Baltic Images: Reaching Out to the World

The Baltic Audiovisual Archival Council (BAAC), an independent body affiliated to The Nordic Branch of IASA, is setting up a seminar in Latvia, Riga, from 14-17 October 2005.

The Riga Seminar 2005 for Audiovisual Archives will be hosted by Latvian Television (LTV).
For more information visit

Tedd Urnes


Open up our Archives !

The FIAT/IFTA Annual Conference will be held in New York from 16-20 September 2005.

The theme of this conference "Open up our Archives!" will be one of the main issues to be addressed at the FIAT/IFTA annual conference. The conference is hosted by Dan diPierro and CBS News in New York. The venue is the Hotel Parker Meridien, located in midtown Manhattan.

Registration for the FIAT IFTA annual conference in New York is now open, and interested people are invited to register now, before 31 July, to benefit from the usual early payment discount.

Other useful links to the FIAT/IFTA Conference web pages include :

The New York conference home page

The General Information page providing all practical details

Register now for the New York Conference !
Register on line or download the registration form

Book at the Parker Meridien !
100 rooms have been pre-booked for you there

Charming new Website

The Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music has just completed the first of its five years of work. The main website is, and the recently published newsletter is at

The AHRC Research Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music (CHARM) was established on 1 April 2004, supported by a 5-year grant of just under £1m from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. A partnership of Royal Holloway, University of London (lead institution) with King's College, London and the University of Sheffield, CHARM's aim is to promote the study of music as performance through a specific focus on recordings. Its activities include a major discographic project, seminars, and research projects.

Dan Leech-Wilkinson,
Arts & Humanities Research Council, UK


The Smithsonian Institution's Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage has launched a new music website called Smithsonian GlobalSound that provides access to selected holdings in the Archives and Research Centre for Ethnomusicology (ARCE) in New Delhi and the International Library of African Music (ILAM) in South Africa, as well as to over 30 000 tracks from the Folkways Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.

Anthony Seeger described the plans for this site in a paper at IASA some time ago. What differentiates this website from other music websites is
(1) that it is conceived as an educational site,
(2) that the revenue stream from the site is shared with the archives contributing the material, the artists, and the Smithsonian Institution (for maintaining and expanding the site).

The GlobalSound site includes archival recordings and extensive text and photo information, an innovative search engine, and an Internet radio. Most of the Folkways liner notes have been scanned and are available for free downloading to supplement the sound files, and the contributing archives have provided metadata for the site.

Anthony Seeger


Memnon Audio Archiving Services

Memnon Audio Archiving Services Ltd is the new name of a spin-off company of Musica Numeris/Sound Arts group, active for the past 15 years in sound services activities. Memnon dedicates itself to providing services to the audio archiving community. The company provides one to one and mass digitisation services for most audio carriers, sound restoration (Cedar Cambridge systems), shared digital mass storage services, archives management software, and a web publication platform. Its team consists of sound engineers, IT and metadata specialists. It is equipped with NOA digitisation and quality analysis systems, and it owns a large collection of most transfer equipments.

Memnon's main facilities are based in Brussels. The company is active all over Europe, and is contractor for institutions such as the Queen Elizabeth Competition of Belgium, the British Library (UK), Reader's Digest, Institut National de l'Audiovisuel (France).

Contact : Michel Merten, Managing Director :

Calendar of Events


29 March -2 April

ARSC annual conference

Austin, USA

May SEAPAVAA 9th Annual Conference & General Assembly Brunei
28-31 May 118th AES Convention Barcelona, Spain
3-12 June 61st FIAF Congress Ljubljana, Slovenia
25-29 July Soundscapes: Reflections on Caribbean Oral and Aural Traditions Cave Hill, Barbados
14-18 August 71st IFLA General Conference and Council Oslo, Norway
2-4 September 27th International AES Conference - Efficient Power Amplification Hillerød, Denmark
11-15 September IASA Annual Conference Barcelona, Spain
16 - 20 September FIAT Conference & General Assembly New York, USA
28 September - 4 October TAPE Workshop on Management of Audiovisual Collections Amsterdam, the Netherlands
7-10 October 119th AES Convention New York, USA
10-14 October IASA/FIAT Workshop for Southern Africa Pretoria (Tshwane), South Africa
10-14 October Audiovisual Archives Seminar (FIAT) Beijing, China
10-17 October Riga Seminar 2005 for Audiovisual Archives Latvia, Riga
9-12 November SMPTE Technical Conference and Exhibition New York, USA
16-18 November World Summit on the Information Society, 2nd Phase Tunis, Tunisia
24-26 November First European Communication Conference Amsterdam
30 November - 3 December AMIA annual conference Austin, USA


April 62nd FIAF Congress Sao Paulo, Brazil
14-18 August 72th IFLA General Conference and Council Seoul, Republic of Korea
September IASA Annual Conference Mexico City, Mexico
11- 14 October AMIA annual conference Anchorage, USA


April 63rd FIAF Congress Tokyo, Japan
August 73th IFLA General Conference and Council Durban, South Africa


August XVIth International Congress on Archives Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
August 74th IFLA General Conference and Council Québec, Canada
September IASA annual conference Sydney, Australia


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