Preface to the Second Edition

The process of debating the principles which underpin the work of sound preservation, and then discussing, codifying and documenting the practices that we as professional sound archivists use and recommend, is to necessarily identify the strengths and weaknesses in our everyday work.When the first version/edition of TC-04 Guidelines in the Production and Preservation of Digital Audio Objects was completed and printed in 2004 there was, in spite of our pride in that previous publication, little doubt amongst the IASA Technical Committee that a second edition would be necessary to address those areas that we knew we would need to be working on. In the intervening four years we as a committee have grown, extending our knowledge and expertise in many areas, and helped to develop the standards and systems which implement sustainable work and preservation practices. This second edition is the beneficiary of that work, and it contains much that is vital in the evolving field of sustainable sound preservation by digital means.

Though we have incorporated much new information, and refined some of the fundamental chapters, the advice provided in the second edition does not stand in opposition to that provided in the first. The IASA-TC 04 Guidelines in the Production and Preservation of Digital Audio Objects is informed by IASA-TC 03 The Safeguarding of the Audio Heritage: Ethics, Principles and Preservation Strategy. A revised version of TC 03 was published in 2006 which took account of new developments in digital audio archiving, and of the much more practical role of TC 04. TC 03 2006 concentrates on the principles and supersedes the earlier versions, and these guidelines are the practical embodiment of the principles.

The major amendments in this second edition of TC 04 can be found in the chapters dealing with the digital repositories and architectures. Chapter 3, Metadata, has been extensively enlarged and provides significant and detailed advice on approaches to the management of data and metadata for the purposes of preservation, reformatting, analysis, discovery and use. The chapter ranges widely across the subject area from schemas through to structures to manage and exchange the content and considers the major building blocks of data dictionaries, schemas, ontologies, and encodings. The sibling to this is Chapter 4, Unique and Persistent identifiers, and it provides guidance on naming and numbering of files and digital works.

The new section included as Chapter 6 Preservation Target Formats and Systems, is structured around the functional categories identified in the Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS): Ingest,Archival Storage, Preservation Planning,Administration and Data Management, and Access, and each of the subsequent Sections deals with each subject area. The use of this conceptual model in organising the book has two important consequences: Firstly, it uses the same functional categories as the architectural design of the major repository and data management systems, which means it has real world relevance. Secondly, identifying separate and abstracted components of a digital preservation strategy allows the archivist to make decisions about various parts of the process, rather than trying to solve and implement the monolithic whole. Chapter 9, Partnerships, Project Planning and Resources, is an entirely new chapter, and provides advice on the issues to consider if a collection manager decides to outsource all or part of the processes involved in the preservation of the audio collections.

Chapter 7, Small Scale Approaches to Digital Storage Systems, considers how to build a low cost digital management system which, while limited in scope, still adheres to the principles and quality measures identified in chapter 6.

Chapter 8 revisits the risks associated with optical disc storage and makes recommendations as to their management, while suggesting the advice in chapters 6 and 7 may be more useful in the long term management of digital content.

Chapter 5, Signal Extraction from Original Carriers, was one of the most practical and informed components of the first edition, and it remains a source of practical knowledge, and information on standards and advice. As part of the review process the chapters on signal extraction have been refined, and extra useful advice has been added. An extra section, 5.7 Field Recording Technologies and Archival Approaches, has been added, and it addresses the question of how to create a sound recording in the field for which the content is intended for long term archival storage.

Chapter 2, Key Digital Principles, adheres to the same standards expressed in the earlier edition. There is, however, more explanatory detail, and technical information, particularly regarding the digital conversion processes, has been provided in more precise and standard language.

TC 04 represents a considerable effort and commitment from the IASA Technical Committee, not only those who created the original text, but also those who reviewed and analysed the chapters until we reached a satisfactory explanation. To my friends and colleagues in the TC goes my respect for the detailed knowledge and gratitude for their generosity in sharing it. The quality of this new edition is a testament to their expertise.

Kevin Bradley
November 2008