Sound experts in Paris: all for one, one for all

 Ross Garrett

I’m in Paris for my first International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA) Conference. I’m impressed with what I am seeing and hearing!

There’s an excellent vibe, and a lot of different audio professionals sharing their ideas. This year’s theme is ‘All for one, one for all: common concerns, shared solutions’.

As Team Leader of Audio Services I was invited to deliver my paper on infrastructure upgrades and new workflows we are adopting at the NFSA. I had encouraging responses and there were some engaging and unexpected questions afterwards.


IASA Conference 2015
IASA Conference 2015Photo by Ross Garrett

I have a high regard for my international colleagues and further discussions I’ve had with them have confirmed we’ve made solid decisions for our new set-up. It’s great to be able to do more research and compare your work to similar projects around the world, which I’ve had the privilege of hearing about at the conference.

IASA was set up in 1969 in Amsterdam to encourage cooperation between international audiovisual archives. Throughout the conference I have the impression the organisation is looking to spread their membership and potentially adopt a more commercial model. Previously training and support has been offered as goodwill, so I will be curious to see if there are changes to this approach in the future of the association.


IASA Conference 2015
Photo by Ross Garrett

In the last few days I have attended many presentations and papers. These have included technical committee meetings and talks on Mediaconch and the Matroska wrapper. I learned of many open source metadata tools being developed for preservation, which I’ll keep an eye on for the future.

I also attended a workshop on the IASA TC-05 publication and was particularly interested to see it delivered with a hands-on approach to handling and management of fragile AV items.

One presentation of note was a paper on analogue-to-digital converter testing, by Chris Lacinak from AVpreserve. This project was in conjunction with FADGI US (Federal Agencies Digitisation Guidelines Initiative). Analogue-to-digital converters are a critical part of the process when transferring audio for preservation.


IASA conference 2015
Photo by Ross Garrett

Closer to home, Kevin Bradley from the National Library of Australia presented his paper on oral histories and the issues they face in the delivery of a broad project. He also received an award for outstanding service to IASA. It was also nice to hear Kevin make mention of his visit to the NFSA for the FIAF conference earlier this year.

Other presentations included an in-depth tutorial on interpreting metadata using freeware and command line programing; as well as a paper on styli testing and the unexpected results of blind testing.

I’m really enjoying the conference and the opportunity to meet and network with people in our profession. Now, it’s off to the next presentation to learn some more…