The 43rd annual conference of IASA – the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives – was held over the second week of October in New Delhi, India, hosted by The Archives and Research Center for Ethnomusicology at the American Institute of Indian Studies.
The NFSA has a long history of collaboration within IASA, and the annual conference is an important opportunity for us to directly participate in the association’s activities.
As the NFSA’s official delegate it was also a chance for me to hear about the latest thinking in audiovisual archiving around the world and to reconnect with an international network of peers, colleagues, and stakeholders.
The conference began with a full-day working meeting of IASA’s technical committee. This committee, fondly known as the TC, is delivering an ongoing slate of guidelines and recommended practices covering all technical aspects of audiovisual archiving – from underlying ethics through to information on historic, current and proposed future technical standards. These documents are developed by a team of experts from across the globe, with significant contributions from IASA’s Australian members, including NFSA staff as well as colleagues from the National Library of Australia and other local organisations.
Several of IASA’s key guidelines are available on their Special Publications page, including the ethical principles, cataloguing rules, and audio preservation guidelines. IASA has an ongoing translation program and some titles are available in up to seven different languages. Publications in the pipeline include comprehensive guidelines on storage and handling of audiovisual media, and recommendations for digital archiving of videotape material.
IASA has a very strong structure of committees representing particular interest groups, and sections representing specific national or geographical interests. I represent NFSA as secretary of the National Archives Section, a group comprising government-funded archives with national responsibilities. This committee is currently gathering data on the development of legal deposit legislation for born-digital materials amongst member states, as well as considering how best to support archives at risk from funding cuts in light of government austerity programs. One tactic discussed was to highlight studies on the economic return to government on investment in cultural institutions; see for example some of the articles referenced on the American Library Association website.