The Colorado Collections Connnection is a statewide organization of libraries, archives and museums that pursues training and policy development in areas of common concern. From a layperson’s viewpoint, these three types of entities might all seem the same, but they have different priorities and missions; professionals who work in these organizations tend to congregate with others in their type of institution. Through the CCC, professionals train together, share specialized resources and learn to work together in their communities for common goals, whether funding or public policy, and on common problems like disaster response.
In September, Anna Frick and I spoke at the organization’s Forum, a small-group gathering on a topic generated by the members. Thirty professionals gathered with us at History Colorado to discuss audio preservation and the looming changes in media cataloguing and metadata.
Our talk, titled “The Process of Audio Digitization,” started out with the preparatory tasks at the special collection, where professionals analyze, catalog, and prioritize their media holdings for digital preservation. We focused on practical steps including how to properly pack a box for shipping. Anna Frick described in detail how their media is handled at Airshow, the metadata interface we use to augment their catalog data and track media progress through digitization, and the creation and quality control of digital preservation master files and derivative files. She explained the quality control steps they should take upon receiving their source media and their new digital files, and how to properly store their new and old media.
When we polled the attendees, we learned that virtually all at-risk media types we discussed are held in their institutions. We presented a table that illustrates the audio profession’s consensus on priorities for digital preservation, assuming all content-related criteria are equal.
You may download a PDF of the table, too.
Anna extended her standing offer to view any photo or examine any piece of mystery media. Feel welcome to take her up on the offer!
Thanks to Dana Echohawk, who organized the Forum and was lavish in her praise of all the presenters, to Elisa Phelps, Director of Collections and Library Division at History Colorado for seamless hosting and support of the forum, and to her colleague Sean Faucett, Exhibits and AV Technician.
A well-organized, comprehensive source of information on digital audio best practices is The ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation, published in May 2015, and available as a free PDF or for sale in soft cover.