Archivists have to know a lot. Probably a lot more small details than any one person can keep in mind. (Do you have all of the Kodak edge codes memorized?) Standards, guidelines, and best practices provide necessary reference and give a structure to our work that we need. Staying updated on new or changing standards is a requirement of performing our work to the best quality possible — and one needs something to do while waiting for the next season of Mad Men to come out on DVD.
- “Minimum information for exchange of materials specifies the information to be included on the label and/or accompanying documents, for identifying the contents of containers for processed motion-picture film and magnetic sound records. It specifies the minimum information necessary for the exchange of materials.
NOTE It does not apply to the labelling of containers of unexposed motion-picture films and magnetic materials specified in ISO 3042.”
Life would be a lot easier if this standard had been around since the beginning of the production of magnetic materials.
- “An efficient means of identifying musical works in computer databases and in the exchange of information on an international level between rights societies, publishers, record companies and other interested parties.”
The ease of tracking works, rights, and licensing as well as improving wider access is dependent on consistent metadata applied by or available to all stakeholders. Perhaps this (and prior, pre-computing efforts) is why music has always seemed easier to find and license than moving images.
- “Basic removable-memory model specifies a basic removable-memory reference model for digital electronic still-picture cameras. The reference model includes image file formats for storing image data and metadata, filing system requirements for storing and retrieving the image files on the removable memory, and media profiles which are specific to a given storage technology. The reference model allows the image data and metadata to be interchanged among the various components of an electronic imaging system by using the removable storage media.”
Where would our culture be without the easy dissemination of embarrassing photos on Facebook?
Few people seem to have that visceral love for magnetic tape the way they do for film, but the advances in preservation standards for tape have been equally impressive if not equally trumpeted as for film.
- “Provides suggested guidelines for four storage macroenvironments for archives that contain a variety of recording media, based on the corresponding ISO storage standards for those media. Whenever possible, it is advisable to follow the storage environments in the ISO storage standards. ISO 18934:2006 does not replace these ISO storage standards. In addition to environment recommendations, those standards also include other vital information pertinent for the long-term keeping of recording materials such as inspection, housing, and handling guidelines. Although microenvironments within a storage enclosure can be dependent upon the macroenvironment, they are not the focus of ISO 18934:2006.
The storage of traditional paper collections is not within the scope of ISO 18934:2006. However, many archives containing mixed recording media also include such collections. Archivists are encouraged to review the appropriate standards for those materials. Nitrate base photographic films are also included in ISO 18934:2006 since they are often stored together with other materials in spite of the fact that nitrate films represent a fire hazard and they need to be stored in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association standard in the United States, or other applicable national standards. Moreover, fumes from decomposing nitrate film and acetate-base film can have very detrimental effects on other materials stored in the same area. It is necessary to isolate such films in a separate storage area.”
Though there have been many advancements in identifying the correct storage environments for all types of materials, no archival collection is a format island. The reality of the mixed-format collection where there are conflicting standards for ideal storage environments needs a sensible, viable solution for an overall standard that applies to all but the outliers.
- “Provides an overview of some of the major components and activities involved in the creation of good digital collections and provides a framework for identifying, organizing, and applying existing knowledge and resources to support the development of sound local practices for creating and managing good digital collections. It is intended for two audiences: cultural heritage organizations planning projects to create digital collections, and funding organizations that want to encourage the development of good digital collections.”
Often times standards or best practices are playing catch up to establish solutions to long standing problems. The rate of fluctuation around issues regarding digital assets doesn’t allow a wait and see attitude. Preserving digital materials requires proactive efforts to ensure their persistence beyond the immediate future.
4. Sound Directions: Best Practices for Audio Preservation, Mike Casey & Bruce Gordon
Just one of the many great resources to come out of the Sound Directions project. They should probably write a best practices document for how to develop and run funded research projects that is based on their experiences.
3. IASA-TC 03, The Safeguarding of the Audio Heritage: Ethics, Principles and Preservation Strategy & IASA-TC 04, Guidelines on the Production and Preservation of Digital Objects
See description for #1.
The basis of the Metadata for Images in XML (MIX) Schema which is a model for good digital collection management. Storage, migration, and access of materials rely in part on standardized, interchangeable metadata.
1. Audiovisual Archiving: Philosophy and Principles, Ray Edmondson & Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS), Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems
Archiving and preservation dictate technical standards and ethical standards. We cannot provide one without taking factors of the other into consideration. Like a 70s supergroup, these documents combine both as individuals and compliment each other as a duo.