Audiovisual Archiving: Philosophy and Principles by Ray Edmondson

By Ray Edmondson

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Others may be tuned to the needs of the audiovisual production industry, cultural appreciation, research or tourism, for example. The larger the archive and the wider its scope, the more it may need to cater for a variety of audiences. 1 While most collecting institutions today hold a wide range of media, most audiovisual archives (and their professional associations) have a history of specialization in film, television, radio or audio that is as much conceptual and cultural as it is practical.

There is an eternal debate about whether “management” and a professional discipline like audiovisual archiving are separate skills, even mutually exclusive ones. Is it easier to make a manager out of an archivist, or 37 Source: AMIA 2002 Membership Directory 38 Source: IASA constitution as adopted 8 December 1995 39 Source: SEAPAVAA constitution and rules as adopted 20 February 1996 - 25 - an archivist out of a manager? Many in the field (including this author) believe that the executive skills of management, promotion, fundraising and administration are indivisible parts of the worldview and professional toolkit of audiovisual archivists, and not separate from it.

These differing perspectives and values bear on everything from selection policy and access services to preservation standards and methods. 4 The difference is fundamental to the structure of the field and its professional associations. FIAF, for example, does not accept for-profit institutions as members, while IASA and AMIA are open to both non-profit and for-profit bodies. Since both types of archive are engaged in a shared task – ensuring the survival of the audiovisual heritage – there are commonalities and cooperation.

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