Intergovernmental conference on language policies in Africa : Harare, Zimbabwe, 17-21 March 1998 ; final report
Audiovisual research collections and their preservation
- The basic problem of primary audio and video research materials is clearly shown by the survey: A great and important part of the entire heritage is still outside archival custody in the narrower sense, scattered over many institutions in fairy small collections, and even in private hands. reservation following generally accepted standards can only be carried out effectively if collections represent critical mass. Specialised audiovisual archives will solve their problems, as they will sooner or later succeed in getting appropriate funding to achieve their aims. A very encouraging example is the case of the Netherlands. The larger audiovisual research archives will also manage, more or less autonomously, the transfer of contents in time. For a considerable part of the research collections, however, the concept of cooperative models and competence centres is the only viable model to successfullly safeguard their holdings. Their organisation and funding is a considerable challenge for the scientific community. TAPE has significantly raised awareness of the fact that, unless action is swiftly taken, the loss of audiovisual materials is inevitable. TAPE’s international and regional workshops were generally overbooked. While TAPE was already underway, several other projects for the promotion of archives have received grants from organisations other than the European Commission, inter alia support for the St. Petersburg Phonogram Archive, and the Folklore Archive in Tirana, obviously as a result of a better understanding of the need for audiovisual preservation. When the TAPE project started its partners assumed that cooperative projects would fail because of the notorious distrust of researchers, specifically in the post-communist countries. One of the most encouraging surprises was to learn that, at least in the most recent survey, it became apparent that this social obstacle is fading out. TAPE may have contributed to this important development.