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Workshops and tutorials

A full and varied series of our popular Workshops and Tutorials, free to all registered delegates, will be delivered by IASA experts. Abstracts and schedules of these sessions can also be seen on our programme page.

There will be limited capacity for these sessions. If you wish to attend one or more, please make a booking when you register for the conference.

Monday September 18 15:00 - 16:30
Tutorial - IASA-TC 05: Handling and Storage of Audio and Video Carriers
Speakers: Dietrich Schuller
“Eternal” content migration from one digital preservation platform to the next is a meanwhile undisputed principle of audio and video preservation, finding its confirmation in the forth edition of IASA-TC 03 released in 2017. However, the safeguarding of the physical original carriers is not obsolete: Optimisation of handling and storage is an important factor, before transfer of single carrier based contents to digital repositories can be financed and organised. Additionally, for principle reasons IASA-TC 03 strongly recommends that originals should be kept for potential future consultation.

Tuesday September 19 09:00 - 10:30 (Part 1), 11:00 - 12:30 (part 2)
Tutorial - Files, metadata, and workflows: Putting the pieces together
Speakers: Bertram Lyons
For archivists working in contemporary collecting institutions, basic digital skills are essential. As technology makes it easier to create audio and video files, and archivists continue digitizing analog collections, the impact of digital content on our work only increases. For archives, there is a heightened risk of loss or inability to access this content if regular skills for ingest, management, and preservation are not acquired as part of the archivist’s toolkit. This tutorial will offer attendees in-depth demonstrations of essential skills for working with digital collections at the basic level of protecting the bits, automating/extracting metadata, and preparing for the next steps of building and managing digital collections. More specifically, the tutorial will provide demonstrations on the use of free tools for working with files and metadata (both GUI and CLI), including Exiftool, ffprobe, MediaConch/MediaInfo, MDQC, BagIt, and Fixity that support identification, transfer, storage, metadata generation, and monitoring of digital collections. To put these tools into context, the tutorial is structured as a basic workflow and attendees will see how tools are combined in simple scripts to minimize effort and maximize automation. Participants will come away with a clear knowledge of how to use these tools and skills, what role they play in collection management workflows, and a sense of how to implement their use.

Tuesday September 19 09:00 - 10:30
Workshop - Expert Transfer Techniques: A Special Focus on Mechanical Discs
Speakers: Stefano S. Cavaglieri
The workshop leads through the problem of transfer, digitization, and restoration of historical obsolete disc formats. Starting with the possibilities, advantages, and limitations of a conventional mechanical transfer, the discussion will outline some of the most proven and tested optical transfer methods and technologies and their special usability with broken/ delaminated/ damaged discs. The different approaches will be presented, including various audio examples. This is the first report of IASA's Emerging Technologies sub-committee.

Tuesday September 19 15:00 - 16:30
Tutorial - Compressed Video Quality
Speakers: Iain Richardson
Most of today's video footage is born digital, whether it's professionally recorded in a studio environment or captured on a smartphone. Compressed formats such as MPEG-4/AVC and HEVC are popular choices for storing video but these are inherently 'lossy' which means that some of the information in the original video is lost during compression. What effect does this have on the video image? How much information loss is acceptable? These are important questions when designing and specifying systems for archiving and retrieving visual images. In this tutorial I will examine the factors that influence our perception of visual quality. I will explain how popular compressed formats can affect video fidelity and will introduce the concept of video quality measurement. Attendees will gain an understanding of how to assess and maximise visual quality when archiving and disseminating digital video.

Wednesday September 20 09:45 - 11:15
Tutorial - Connect, Collect, Collaborate: Join Us As We Create the International Bibliography of Discographies
Speakers: Peter Laurence, Filip Šír
The IASA Discography Committee is continuing its work on the online International Bibliography of Discographies - connecting members of institutions with private collectors, and collecting information about worldwide discographic work in all languages. Collaboration is key in building the Bibliography, and we already benefit from a network of partners who share our goals for such a resource - peer associations, memory institutions, individual collectors, and discographers. The first version of the Bibliography will be available on the IASA website by mid-2017. With entries submitted by our team and by members of our international network, it covers current and out-of-print discographies published in book, article, CD-ROM, database and website formats. We have focused on bibliography due to the need for a full multi-lingual, international survey of discographies. But we are also creating a stored archive of digital (pdf) versions of complete works which will be linked to their corresponding entries in the Bibliography. Workshop: We’ll provide an overview of the project (definitions and parameters), and offer some historical context for discography. We’ll review our online tools for gathering bibliographic data on discographies, and demonstrate the live version of the Bibliography. We’ll show how full digital versions of discographies will be linked to the Bibliography - participants can submit digital versions electronically or send print versions to our team for scanning. We’ll suggest other ways you can connect to our project, and discuss the advantages our network offers to both private collectors and public institutions. We would value your help and expertise!

Wednesday September 20 09:45 - 11:15
Workshop - Checking Audiovisual Conformance
Speakers: Jérôme Martinez, David Rice
The commencement of the PREFORMA project brings about several tools to validate file formats, define and apply policies, and generate technical reports. Jerome Martinez, President of MediaArea, will provide a workshop on that covers the basics of audiovisual formats specifications, discusses the challenges in the design of an audiovisual conformance checker, and demonstrates several of MediaConch’s key features. Will cover policies for uncompressed video such as TN2162 and best practices for use of FFV1 in Matroska. Will review conformance checker such as MediaConch and mkvalidate, and discuss strategy for policy interpretation and remedial actions.

Wednesday September 20 11:45 - 13:15
Workshop - How can we spare storage space?
Speakers: Hermann Lewetz
Especially in times of reduced budgets, the growing need for storage becomes a problem for archival institutions. Even those who seem to have found effective storage solutions (like the Austrian Mediathek) have to face situations where there is not enough. When that happens, discussions about making compromises begin again, and always one of the first suggestions that arises is archiving in lossy formats. Following the philosophy put forth in the IASA technical publication, TC 03 Safeguarding the Audio Heritage, we strive to digitize to the highest standard we can afford and avoid the risks associated with lossy or data-reduced formats. However, if the only choice is between digitization in lossy formats or nothing, then perhaps there are a few compromises which could be considered first. In this workshop I would like to invite collegues from the archival community to brainstorm about those compromises and discuss this issue. Agenda: Are we talking about the same things?; Differences between „Storing“, „Archiving“ and „Longterm Preservation“; Concept of „Longterm Preservation“; How long is „Longterm“? What are the expensive issues in dealing with storage? What will probably become cheaper during time? What could be postponed to later, better times? What could be reduced? Is storing in lossy formats the solution for our problems? Calculation of storage with lossy format and lossless format; Calculation of collateral effects; Summary to include a group-produced, takeaway decision tree to help you face the problem.

Wednesday September 20, 2017 11:45 - 13:15
Tutorial - Special collections: treatment and workflows
Speakers: Nadia Lai
The concept of "Special collection" covers a wide range of notions that commonly refer to rare and unique material archives or cultural institutions possess. Its meaning ranges from precious manuscripts, to a particular material type collection, or an individual’s personal archives. Because these collections are special, they add to the uniqueness of the cultural institution general collection. However, precisely because they are special, they present specific challenges and require specific treatment. Given the vastness of the notion for the purpose of this tutorial we will narrow it down to one particular kind of special collection: sound fonds, intended as audio material created or collected by an individual or a public association and donated to, or sometimes just deposited in, a sound archive. By first attempting to define the main characteristics of sound fonds, this tutorial will then try to outline a framework and a methodical approach that should allow an archive to receive and treat correctly these fonds, to describe and contextualize them properly, and give them an appropriate place in the general collection. Great attention will be paid to the definition of workflows necessary to the management of these special collections.

Thursday September 21 09:00 - 10:30
Workshop - Digitization: Preparing, arranging and describing disparate collections, and Production Asset Management tools
Speakers: Michel Merten
There are an estimated 250 million audio recordings in the US alone that are worthy of long-term preservation but have yet to be digitized. While it is widely accepted that digitization is necessary to defeat the forces of degradation and obsolescence, employing large-scale digitization is essential if we hope to preserve anywhere close to this number. The preparation stage, workflows for arranging and describing disparate collections and appropriate Production Asset Management tools are all critical to efficient digitization. In this presentation, Michel Merten CEO of Memnon Archiving Services will discuss the process of preparing large volumes of recordings for digitization. He will explore creating batches of like objects, gathering technical metadata, barcoding, and use of a database to manage recordings through the digitization process.  He will also outline the resources needed to feed a large-scale digitization operation, reflecting on training and managing a sizeable team, combined with appropriate Production Asset Management tools for efficient and accurate digitization processes. The content covered in this session may also be useful for smaller digitization projects whether tackled in-house or outsourced.

Thursday September 21 11:00 - 12:30
Tutorial - Improve access to audio collections by preparing metadata for Europeana
Speakers: Juozas Markauskas
Europeana provides online discovery to an astonishing 50 million digital cultural heritage items, including photos, texts, artworks, videos and sounds. Thanks to a Europeana Sounds project ( the number of audio items will soon exceed one million and will be enhanced by interlinking across different media such as music scores and recorded music performances. Anyone who curates an online collection of digital audio assets will benefit from this workshop (and your collection does not have to hold European content), where you will: (a) learn how Europeana developed a uniform data model for audio metadata to ensure interoperability between catalogues imported from many different organisations; (b) see how to add licence and genre labels to ensure your audio archival assets are found and used correctly; (c) using specially designed software, discover how datasets can be efficiently translated from your repository to Europeana’s. Europeana raises the potential for new discoveries among digitised items currently hidden in dispersed collections; and allows user interaction via tagging and commenting. Fundamental to all this is providing good quality metadata in the correct format, using common vocabularies. This workshop covers the why and how of aggregating metadata, data cleaning and data transformation and the process of submitting your metadata to Europeana.

Thursday September 21 13:30 - 15:00
Tutorial - Retrieving authority and bibliographic records of the German Music Archive free of charge
Speakers: Jochen Rupp
This tutorial will offer attendees an in-depth demonstration of the Metadata Services of the German Music Archive of the German National Library. We will get an overview of the authority records of the Integrated Authority File (GND), the bibliographic metadata and the different ways to receive records free of charge to use them as external source data in other systems! The licensing, the formats and the importance of Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) will be explained. Please bring you own laptop with internet access if you like to do the examples on you own.