October 29, 2018.
This post discusses a topic that is under discussion by a number of groups.
Our libraries are repositories of large amounts of audiovisual materials, which often represent unique, local collections. These issues need to be addressed. Chela Scott Weber: “For decades, A/V materials in our collections were largely either separated from related manuscript material (often shunted away to be dealt with at a later date) or treated at the item level. Both have served to create sizeable backlogs of un-quantified and un-described A/V materials.”
The result is that today, much of this audiovisual material is in dire need of preservation, digitization, clarification of conditions of use, and description.
AV materials, skill-sets and stakeholders are part of a complex environment. Managing AV resources requires knowledge of the use context and the technical metadata issues, in order to think through programs of description and access. It may help for libraries to identify the issues by the category of the AV materials:
- Commercial AV: Licensing issues, old formats, and the quality of vendor records
- Unique archival collections: Often deteriorating formats, large backlogs, lack of resources, and rare and expensive equipment that may be required to access (and assess) the files
- Locally generated content: Desire for content-creators to describe own resources
Institutions commonly prioritize which of their AV materials are to be described and preserved, assessing their importance through surveys and assigning priorities from inventories. These are often multi-divisional efforts. Rights management issues can be very complex, but they are easier for new AV files acquired since rights management has become part of normal workflows. However, older materials may lack rights information.
Metadata for AV materials often include important technical information. Some have systems that have implemented PREMIS to support the preservation of digital objects, which helps with their AV materials.
This is an opportunity for institutions who have developed their own assessments and templates to share them with others and identify common practices and criteria.