Annual Conference and Training Event 2013

Event: British and Irish Sound Archives' 2013 Annual Conference

Venue: Manx Museum, Kingswood Grove, Douglas, IM1 3LY

Dates: 17-18 May 2013

Friday, 17 May

09.30 - Registration and refreshments

10:30 - Welcome by Simon Rooks, BISA Convenor

10:40 - Digitising Sound Archives - A Manx Case Study

This paper explores the process of digitising sound archives at Manx Heritage. It describes selecting archive material for digitisation, specifying requirements, agreeing a contractor, managing the contract and management of the digital files.

Paul Weatherall, Manx Heritage

Roland Ardern-Corris, Manx Heritage

Followed by Q&A session


11:20 - Case study: Music Austria’s European funded project to improve management of and access to their sound archive

IN2, Spring Techno and mica - music austria are currently in the process of placing the digital media asset management framework ON:meedi:a to the market, targeting music archives. This paper describes ON:meedi:a  in terms of access, publication, distribution and user services, providing insights into the workflows the framework offers, and shows live how advanced search and retrieval possibilities can provide benefits to music archives.

ON:meedi:a’s web-based environment ( allows the re-use of media assets for different purposes, such as an event website, a blog presenting the artists cover art work, and similar. Time-based annotations can further assist the selection of different artists in a live recording from a concert for example, then allowing direct access to the part of the video, which shows the relevant artist.

ON:meedi:a presents opportunities for music content owners to exploit their digital assets and create opportunities to create new ideas, new markets and new products.

Rainer Praschak, mica-music Austria

Rainer works as a project manager and curator of digital music business for mica - music austria in Vienna. Has more than ten years of experience in the music business, and is currently managing several cultural and research projects funded by the EU. He manages the Culture 2009 Project MINSTREL, or Music Network Supporting Trans-national exchange and dissemination of music Resources at European Level, and the research Project IM3I+, Immersive Multimedia Interfaces.

Jana Wedekind, IN2 Search Interfaces Development Ltd

Jana Wedekind is a business developer at IN2 and she holds a BSc in Media and Communication Informatics from the University of Applied Sciences, Reutlingen, and an MSc in Digital Media from the University of Applied Sciences, Bremerhaven. Her academic training focused on software engineering, multimedia production, web design & development, and media art. As a web developer, she was involved in designing user interfaces, content publishing, as well as online marketing. These projects dealt with diverse topics such as e-learning, digital art, and marketing. She has been involved in the business development of European projects IM3I and ImaGeo. Jana is currently supporting the commercialization of the web-based framework ON:meedi:a., as part of the European project IM3I+.

Followed by Q&A session


12:00 - Widening access to sound archives through the participation process

The Science Museum’s new gallery, Information Age, opens in 2014 and will place user stories at the heart of the visitor experience, telling stories from the perspective of those who invented, developed, created and used communication technologies. The team is ensuring that a diverse range of contributors feature across the gallery in terms of content and interpretation. As a result, a significant aspect of the gallery development involves working in partnership with a range of participants, including those who have been directly involved with key events and moments in communications history.

One group of participants are women who worked on the Enfield Telephone Exchange in the 1940s and 1950s. Oral history accounts have been recorded and audio from these interviews will be presented to gallery visitors through a sound installation or interactive. The museum is taking forward further participation work with young women from Enfield, to select interesting and relevant clips and co-create the audio experience for the gallery. The project aims to highlight the relevance of sound as a medium and to ensure that the audio experience is engaging for our visitors.

This presentation explores the aims, motivations and processes of developing and delivering such participation projects.

Tilly Blyth, Keeper of Technology and Engineering, Science Museum

Tilly Blyth is Keeper of Technologies and Engineering and Head Curator on the Information Age project at the Science Museum.

Recent research projects have looked at the economic and cultural Legacy of the BBC Microcomputer in a report for NESTA and the creation of a mobile application through the location of the Science Museum’s collections. She is on the Advisory Committee of the Oral History of British Science project at the British Library.

Tilly has a degree in Physics, an MSc in Technical Change and Industrial Transformation, and a PhD in the Social Construction of Information and Communications Technologies.

Jen Kavanagh, Audience Engagement Manager for Making Modern Communications, Science Museum

Jen Kavanagh is Audience Engagement Manager on the Information Age project at the Science Museum.

Previous roles include community curator at the London Transport Museum and education freelancer at the Imperial War Museum. Jen is currently writing a paper on the challenges of collecting contemporary material related to difficult histories, with a focus on the terrorist attacks of July 7th 2005 in London.

Jen has a degree in Geography, an MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies and is an associate member of the Museums Association.

Followed by Q&A session


12:40 - Lunch (not provided)


14:00 - Metadata standards, tools and processes for audio preservation at the British Library: an overview of new systems for audio description, preservation and access.

With the recent and rapid increase in digital resources, the ways in which researchers use and expect to use audiovisual materials has changed.

To meet these needs, alongside the technical demands of supporting access to audiovisual collections, the British Library is undergoing a transformation in the ways that born-digital and digitised recordings are described, preserved and accessed.  This paper will look at keys areas of the Library’s use of metadata, file processing and delivery, and how these and further developments will support the digital humanities in the coming years.

Adam Tovell, British Library

Adam Tovell manages the preservation of sound and moving image collections at the British Library. He has extensive experience in audio transfer, processing and metadata, and a passion for the forgotten and the under-preserved. 

Adam graduated with a BA and MA in Audio Technology from the London College of Music in 2006, and has worked in audio preservation, training and planning at the British Library for 5 years. He is working on a 15-year plan to digitise and make accessible the entirety of the Library’s sound and moving image collections.

Followed by Q&A session


14:40 - Building a digital repository for Ireland; building a digital community.

The Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) is building an interactive, trusted digital repository for social and cultural content held by Irish institutions. By providing a central internet access point and interactive multimedia tools, the DRI will facilitate engagement with contemporary and historical data, allowing the public, students, and scholars to research Ireland’s cultural heritage and social life in ways never before possible. DRI is also acting as a focal point for digital best practices by collaborating on the development of guidelines that will be used to inform national policy on digital preservation and access. The process of building the repository, which is currently at the prototype stage, has been marked by significant interaction with the community of archivists, librarians, and eventual users, making the project responsive to community needs, while also encouraging the adoption of international standards for archiving and preservation.

Dr. Natalie Harrower, Manager of Education and Outreach, Digital Repository of Ireland

Dr. Natalie Harrower is the Digital Repository of Ireland’s Manager of Education and Outreach, based at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin. Prior to her current post, Natalie worked on a Digital Humanities project on Irish Drama at Trinity College Dublin. Before moving to Ireland, Natalie was a theatre, film and Celtic studies lecturer at the University of Toronto, and Queen’s University, Kingston.

Followed by Q&A session


15.20 - Refreshments

15.40 - Development of a Scottish Sound Archive: an overview

Following a consultation on a National Sound Archive for Scotland in 2009, a gap in provision for sound archives in Scotland was highlighted.  It found that there was a lack of a national overview for sound archives including deficiencies in cross-sector policymaking, training and consultation services.  There was also a perceived lack of integrated collecting, cataloguing and preservation facilities for a variety of sound formats including digital.

Following the consultation’s recommendation the National Library of Scotland (NLS) are working with key stakeholders in sound archives in the development of a Scottish sound archive based on a distributed national collection.

This paper presents an overview of developments, focusing on the current planned solutions to address the deficiencies highlighted in the consultation. These solutions include the creation of a portal with a single search interface for sound collections relating to Scotland and the creation of a public upload facility to acquire new digital content.  It is hoped that by organisations and individuals working co-operatively and sharing responsibility for the care and preservation of sound collections that a supportive professional network will also develop.

Alistair Bell, National Library of Scotland

Alistair is project manager of the Scottish Sound Archive Development at the National Library of Scotland. He has been at the National Library of Scotland since 2010, where he has worked as part of the team at Scottish Screen Archive.  His role as curator has included working in film and video acquisitions, as catalogue manager and recently as project manager of the development of a Scottish sound archive.

He previously completed an MSc Information Management and Preservation (Archives & Records Management) from University of Glasgow, and MA(Hons) Scottish Ethnology from Celtic & Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh, which laid a foundation of oral history and sound archives for his future studies and career as an archivist.

Followed by Q&A session


16:30 - AGM

17:00 - Close


Saturday, 18 May


09:30 - Roundtable discussion on “What’s stopping you digitising your archive?”
This event will be led by members of the BISA Committee. Though a lot of sound archives have digitized their collections to a greater or lesser extent, there are often aspects of the process which remain challenging; for example, resources, expertise, advocacy and metadata issues. There are no single answers to any of these, and the aim of the session is purely practical: for people to bring immediate obstructive issues, and with the help of those gathered, to go away with a better idea of how to overcome them.

11:00 - Tour of Manx Radio

12:30 - Close