Catherine Lacken

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Information about Catherine Lacken

Published on January 21, 2008

Author: Vincenza


Preservation of the Audiovisual Heritage :  Preservation of the Audiovisual Heritage IFAP Thematic Debate Paris, 3 April 2007 Audiovisual Heritage :  Audiovisual Heritage Recorded sounds and images captured and stored on a carrier (e.g. disc, tape, film) Encompasses: Sounds: music, spoken word, radio broadcasts, languages, recitals and drama Images: Commercial films, documentaries, amateur and professional film or video recordings, television programmes Documents society’s recent past: People, events, artefacts, culture and traditions, art Offers possibility to see and hear things of the past: formerly reliance on eye-witness reports and interpretations of these recorded in writing, illustrated or passed on verbally Keepers of the AV heritage:  Keepers of the AV heritage National and local archives, libraries Broadcasters Specialist collectors (e.g. films, music, spoken word, recorded sound etc.) Commercial organsations (music and film industries) Cultural instutitions Educational institutions Institutional archives Private persons Legal Deposit: in many countries does not cover audiovisual content Keepers of AV heritage:  Keepers of AV heritage Professionals in audiovisual world Broadcasters, music and film industry, specialised audiovisual archives Technical know-how Investment in professional formats and replay equipment Often both producers and keepers of audiovisual “assets” Amateurs regarding audiovisual technology Archives, libraries whose collections have been extended to include av carriers Mixture of professional, semi-professional, consumer formats Lack of technical know-how: Staff with little or no specific training on the principles of audiovisual archiving Special Features of AV content :  Special Features of AV content Access to content is via replay equipment; when replay equipment is not available no access Projector, tape recorder, CD player, PC Access causes wear and tear: providing access copies can be costly All av carriers subject to change and deterioration over time: limited life expectancy Aims of Preservation :  Aims of Preservation Preserve CONTENT and not physical carrier on which it is stored Preservation of content integrity To provide access to yesterday’s content today AND tomorrow Preservation measures:  Preservation measures Passive preservation To stabilise carrier condition and prevent or slow down degradation processes: extending expected life span: storage environment Active preservation Restoration measures (cleaning, repairing physical carriers) Transfer / copying content to new storage media Current situation: AV Heritage:  Current situation: AV Heritage Much of the audiovisual heritage has already been lost True for earlier recordings; importance as heritage resource often recognised in retrospect Also true for some recordings on digital carriers Much is endangered in poor condition, in need of restoration Much is not accessible at all: stored on obsolescent carriers Play-back equipment not available or not operable due to lack of parts or technical know-how Much is not as accessible as it could be Access restricted by location, limited to one person at a time Challenges: Environment:  Challenges: Environment AV carriers are subject to physical and chemical deterioration over time: deterioration of carriers endangers content stored Binder breakdown, sticky shed, vinegar syndrome, colour fading, cracks, shrinkage, signal deterioration or loss Harmful Environmental Factors Heat, moisture, light, dust, insects, bacteria Specific requirements for storage of audiovisual carriers to minimise risks of degradation Cool and dry storage area, climatically controlled and stable conditions, uninterrupted power supply, building able to withstand local climatic threats, disaster management plan with back-up services in place Challenges: Technical Innovation:  Challenges: Technical Innovation Audiovisual technology undergoing a revolution How sounds and images are recorded and how they are accessed has changed dramatically even over the last 5 years Technical innovation usually accompanied by format obsolescence Access to content becomes a problem when replay equipment is no longer available and/or technical know-how disappears Migration of content to newer formats expensive; new replay equipment must also be purchased The faster the pace of innovation and replacement of old technology the greater the expense involved in providing continued access to content stored on older formats Operational life terms for many digital formats shorter than for those of analogue formats: obsolescence at faster rate Keeping pace with technical skills required in ever-changing digital environment can pose problems for archives with audiovisual collections Changing job profiles: time lags in adopting training courses to new skills requirements; on-going staff training more important than ever Challenges: Costs of Preservation:  Challenges: Costs of Preservation Storage environment: building: rent, running costs, climate control, disaster management schemes Restoration: labour intensive, time-consuming, highly skilled experts, expensive digital technology Transfer to newer formats: in-house solutions require technical infra-structure and trained staff, outsourcing requires cash payments Investment in training and new skills at both managerial and operational staff level: on-going Threats to audiovisual heritage:  Threats to audiovisual heritage Unfavourable climate often in underdeveloped geographic regions: survival of av heritage in certain regions is therefore subject to greater risks Pace of technological change and effort to keep up with it has strained financial resources of even the wealthiest audiovisual archives Management mistakes can endanger survival of av content: migration to formats with data reduction a big problem if successive digital formats are not compatible and original carrier has been discarded Audiovisual technology is seldom developed with the interests of preservation in mind: manufactures geared to newer and better production or access possibilities rather than long-lasting content-storage formats Vision for Preservation of Audiovisual Heritage in Digital Age:  Vision for Preservation of Audiovisual Heritage in Digital Age Technical innovation brings net benefits for preservation and not only a host of new problems (format obsolescence, lack of access, cost explosion): preservation more affordable Solution should encompass following features Automatic and lossless conversion to newer formats (continued innovation but end to spiralling costs) Automatic monitoring of quality control (reduction in labour costs) Elimination of access risks: wear and tear, potential carrier loss Moderate maintenance costs after substantial investment in digital infra-structure Return on investment through better access possibilities to heritage and new ways to exploit audiovisual assets Digitisation today: Audio:  Digitisation today: Audio Widespread consensus on technical standards Solutions available for both preservation and access purposes: a question of price Storage of audio in mass storage archive systems already in operation in bigger archives (e.g. broadcasters) Migration of content on analogue carriers to digital carriers: linear solutions, lossless compression Digitisation Today: Video:  Digitisation Today: Video Competing formats and commercial interests have slowed down process of standardisation Born digital content: solutions for access and preservation Archival strategy: Transparent, native solutions for future migration Digital formats: many access and production file formats use data reduction Ideal preservation format uses lossless compression: such formats are not yet the norm due to bandwidth constraints Rapid development, several digital formats already obsolete, caution! Medium-term outlook: Digital mass storage systems for access and preservation of born-digital content; traditional tape archives for preservation of older content until ideal digital solutions have evolved and are affordable Digitisation today: Film:  Digitisation today: Film On-going debate on standards and file formats that will preserve integrity of content Digitisation for access on digital carriers widespread; however diversity of file formats Evolving technology: film as capturing format still unrivalled for high-end productions in commercial movie industry Digitisation in post-production area, effects etc. Digital preservation formats to replace film medium not viable at present Expense of providing adequate storage facilities for foreseeable future For film near freezing point (below freezing even better) Limited resources for preservation?:  Limited resources for preservation? Selection Policy What is placed in best possible storage area? What receives funding for restoration measures? What is transferred to new carrier? Analysis of collection: define items of high value, in immediate danger, in high demand Passive preservation measures to ensure carrier stability until active preservation measures can be afforded Active preservation for highly endangered carriers Slide18:  A B C A:Carrier condition Chemical decay Physical decay Obsolete/ Endangered B: Carrier Status Original/Master C: Content Unique High demand High value/ rights Setting Priorities Funding: Different Approaches:  Funding: Different Approaches Library of Congress, USA Very ambitious all-encompassing project; funding partly through sponsors INA, France Prestospace project: millions of hours of av heritage at risk; develop technology to reduce costs of digitisation for all av archives (large, small) Cooperation: wealthier help underdeveloped e.g. South East Asian Pacific region Sharing facilities Climatically controlled storage facilities, expertise; sharing costs of running digital repositories Guidelines for preservation policy:  Guidelines for preservation policy Digital repositories are not today’s solution for all endangered audiovisual heritage Ideal solution in each situation depends on a number of factors: infra-structure, financial resources, available technical solutions for access and preservation of each medium, av archive’s mandate Selection and priority criteria where financial resources are scarce Provision of suitable storage facilities to slow down carrier deterioration and content loss Restoration measures where these can be afforded: necessary before transfer/conversion to intermediate digital carrier Wait-and-see policy where no clear-cut options for digitisation are available: learn from experience and mistakes of others, e.g. “big players” CCAAA:  CCAAA Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations AMIA, ARSC, FIAT, FIAT/IFTA, IASA, ICA, IFLA, SEAPAVAA Expertise on all aspects of audiovisual heritage: film, moving image, television, radio, sound, archives, libraries, av issues affecting specific regions Publications and guidelines e.g. IASA – Production and preservation of digital audio objects; FIAF: guidelines on ethical issues; AMIA: preservation moving objects FIAT/IFTA: selection issues Guidelines and best practice manuals - ICA, IFLA Commitment to training – combined resources Conferences and workshops Close co-operation with UNESCO in working for the preservation of the audiovisual heritage Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archive Associations:  Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archive Associations Links to member NGO websites from this site

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