Additional Reports from IFLA 2005

Audiovisual and Multimedia Section

George Abbot, Syracuse University

More than 3,000 participants from 117 countries attended the World Library and Information Congress 2005 and the 71st IFLA General Conference and Council held in Oslo, Norway from August 14–18, 2005. The largest number of attendees came from Norway, United States, Sweden, China, and the United Kingdom. Most meetings were conveniently located in the Oslo Spectrum Conference Center and two nearby hotels, all located in the heart of the city and just steps from the central train station and the chiefly pedestrian street Karl Johans Gate.

King Harald V attended the IFLA Opening Ceremony and on Monday evening officially reopened the National Library in conjunction with a conference wide reception for IFLA attendees. The National Library had recently undergone a comprehensive program of restoration and renovation of the building previously housing the University of Oslo Library. This year's conference coincided with the yearlong centennial celebration of Norway as an independent state having dissolved its union with Sweden in 1905. During the week, 35 different libraries in the region opened their doors to the delegates for visits and tours. In addition to more than 80 program sessions, a new feature at this year's conference was the well attended IFLA Nightspot at Stratos featuring author readings and musical performances. Nightspot was held in the late evening on each of the four main days of the conference.

At the closing session, Ross Shimmon, Former Secretary General of IFLA, was named Honorary Fellow for long and distinguished service to IFLA. Ross is the 21st individual awarded this honor since the award was established in 1936. Immediately following the closing session, Council II convened and passed a resolution supporting accessibility for all. The text of the resolution reads "Council urges IFLA's Governing Board from now on to make all IFLA information and publications as well as the Web site accessible for print impaired people."

Poster Sessions

More than 70 poster sessions were displayed in the exhibition hall highlighting activities from all types of libraries, including several on emerging digital library initiatives. Ann Kunish (Oslo Public Library) presented information on the "Låtlån" ("Borrow a Tune") pilot project-a system for Virtual Circulation of Digital Music Files in the Norwegian Public Library. Initiated in early 2004, Låtlån is similar to ebook systems like NetLibrary, and provides virtual circulation of digital music enabling users to borrow online recordings. By signing on with a valid patron id number, music files can be selected and streamed to the patron, one listener at a time. The digital file is loaned out while the patron is listening so no one else can access it much like borrowing a physical books or CDs. When the stream is completed, the loan is over, and the music file is available to another user. It should be noted that cooperation of the appropriate digital rights organizations in Norway was essential in development of this service. Over 4,000 unique visitors accessed over 15,000 unique streams with a total circulation of 37,700 streams in the first four months of the project. Other poster sessions on digital programs included "IMARK e-learning Module: Digitization and Digital Libraries" (Italy); "Building Digital Collections: Principles and Practice of Retrodigitisation at Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich" (Germany); and "Norwegian Digital Library Programme (NDLP)" (Norway). The Best Poster Session Award 2005 winner was "Growing and Reading—the Brand New Reading Ladder for Growing Children" presented by Ute Hachmann, director of the city library in Brilon, Germany.

Memory of the World

At an open forum sponsored by UNESCO, a panel of representative from several regions of the world, reported on recent regional project activities and additions to the UNESCO "Memory of the World" register. The session chaired by Bendik Rugaas, former Chair of the Memory of the World Programme International Advisory Committee, focused on the Timbuktu Manuscripts, the Slave Trade Archives project, and several other initiatives involving collections on the register.

Aziz Abid, Programme Specialist, Information Society Division, UNESCO, presented an overview of the "Memory of the World" register—a list of library collections and archive holdings of world significance. It was established in 1992 to preserve and promote documentary heritage of universal value. The "Memory of the World" register currently includes over 100 entries from 57 countries. The 1507 world map by Martin Waldseemüller, the first map on which the name America appears, was added to the register in 2005. It is the only entry on the register from the United States, and was a joint submission with Germany. Two other nominations from the United States have been received but have not placed on the register. The complete register and all nominations are available at

A number of entries in the register are audiovisual in nature, including:

  • Austria - The Historical Collections (1899–1950) of the Vienna Phonogrammarchiv founded in 1899 by members of the Imperial Academy of Sciences. It has grown to over 50,000 recorded items.
  • China - The Traditional Music Sound Archives Collection of Chinese traditional music representing memories of traditional music and folk music of more than 50 nationalities.
  • France - The Lumière Films collection comprising 1,405 of the original films (negatives and positives) known as the Lumière films (i.e. having round perforations).
  • Uruguay - The Horacio Loriente Collection (1913-1935) of 770 original records of Carlos Gardel, some acoustic and some electronic, representing the complete artistic career of the "zorzal criollo" (creole nightingale).

March 31, 2006 is the next deadline for the submission of new nomination proposals for inscription. Submissions are reviewed biennially for addition to the register. New proposals will be examined during the 2006/2007 session. Proposals should be based on the selection criteria listed in "Memory of the World: General Guidelines (Rev. ed. 2002) prepared by Ray Edmondson. Paris, UNESCO, 2002. 72 p. (CII-95/WS-11 rev), which stipulates that the most important criterion for inscription on the register is the universal significance of the documentary heritage.

During the Open Forum, Alida Jay Boye, Coordinator of the Timbuktu Libraries Project from the University of Oslo, described the various components of the Timbuktu Manuscripts Project. She discussed the activities underway at the University of Oslo that support this project, which is taking steps to preserve and provide access to rare handwritten documents documenting the culture heritage of the region. More information is available on the university's Web site. An exhibit of photos of the Timbuktu Manuscripts was on display at the University of Oslo Library during the conference.

Celia Zaher, Director of the National Library of Brazil, addressing the Memory of the World in Latin America and the Caribbean, reviewed a project involving the Slave Trade Archives. The aim of the Slave Trade Archives Project was to improve the conservation and accessibility of slave trade records through digitization. The project operated in eleven countries: Benin, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana and Senegal in Africa, plus Argentina, Brazil, Barbados, Colombia, Cuba and Haiti. A final report was issued in early 2005 but recommends continuing the Project in the future. The recommendation was to incorporate more countries to draw together holdings from a greater geographical and linguistic area. The Slave Trade Archives is represented in the UNESCO Archives Portal, an international gateway to information for archivists and archives users.

Audiovisual and Multimedia Section Program

The Section program "Access to Audiovisual and Multimedia Materials" included five presentations describing accomplishments in improving access to audiovisual and multimedia resources.

Jacqueline von Arb (Norwegian Institute of Recorded Sound, IASA, Stavanger, Norway) gave a presentation on Guidelines on the Production and Preservation of Digital Audio Objects (August, 2004) published by the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA). The publication, endorsed by UNESCO, discusses various formats used for digital reformatting, ranging from WAV to AIFF. The final two chapters address technical details in the process. Chapter 5 is devoted to signal extraction issues, and Chapter 6 addresses preservation target formats. In any digitization project, significant effort is required for each item digitized. Usually a minimum of three hours of work is expended for each one hour of content.

James Turner (Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada) reported on an InterPARES 2 case study. The International Research on Permanent Authentic Records in Electronic Systems (InterPARES) project is located at the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. InterPARES 2 deals with issues surrounding "the entire life-cycle of records, from creation to permanent preservation. It focuses on records produced in complex digital environments in the course of artistic, scientific and e-government activities."

InterPARES 2 encompasses several case studies in three focus areas. Turner described a case study relating to digital moving images as part of Focus 1 - Artistic activities. This case study examines four agencies to explore inputs, process and outputs. The first agency is a commercial film studio where the process of developing animation projects was studied. Digital files were reviewed but the researchers also included some analog paper documents (story boards, drawings, sketching on paper). During the chain of production, as a paper sketch gets scanned and used in the production of a film, more detail is added. File naming included version numbers and how the version number changes when passed from one phase to the next. The digital materials are archived only to prove legal ownership. No metadata is retained. The paper files are archived for possible sale to collectors.

The second agency was a small moving images private company in Italy. The team analyzed the creation of a multimedia product. The specific item was a multimedia virtual reconstruction of an archaeological site. Many aspects of this production were similar to those used in the movie studio. The digital files are stored but no metadata is kept other than file naming and version control.

The third agency was a public television station. In contrast to the two previous commercial companies, the public TV station invested more effort in long-term management data, recognizing the desire to find material later. There were more rigid preservation standards in place and more metadata was retained. The metadata is a combination of Dublin core, MPEG7 and homegrown systems. Some of methods of storing the metadata are analog (i.e. paper), including program logs and shooting documents, rather than digital.

Data from the fourth agency, a public filmmaker, are not yet completed but are expected to be similar to the public television station. In general, commercial producers pay attention only to the metadata necessary to produce the product. Public agencies pay more attention to preserving culture heritage but may not always have funds to complete this task. The set of 23 questions developed by InterPARES to compare all case studies were used in the project. (

Also included in the session were papers by Beate Engelbrecht (Institut für Wissen un Medien, Leipzig, Germany); Elizabeth F. Watson (The University of the West Indies, Cage Hill, Barbados); and Kirsten Rydland (National Library of Norway, Rana, Norway)

Mr. Engelbrecht described IWF Knowledge and Media, the German institute for academic audiovisual media. IWF primarily supports the science disciplines. It collects materials and produces transfers for education. Contributors provide content, enter contracts and negotiate copyright issues. IWF uses a rights management system so that users may use materials as freely as possible knowing the rights issues. Metadata is included with each media object. The Institut may divide longer films into shorter segments (working with the scientist/producer to identify cuts), and uses digital beta for the preservation format with time code preserved. The metadata is preserved in future transfers. IWF started in Germany and is expanding to other institutions in Europe.

Elizabeth Watson outlined the challenges for developing countries to acquire and provide access to audiovisual and multimedia materials. In many developing countries, audiocassettes are still the prominent format. There are few CDs and the MP3 format is largely unknown. Ms. Watson points to some steps that can be taken to enhance access including attitudinal changes increasing the awareness of the benefits of AV formats, the inclusion of courses on the management of AV in library school curricula, fundraising, and establishing collection development polices for AV materials.

In the final paper, Kirsten Rydland highlighted some of the audiovisual and multimedia collections and services of the National Library of Norway. This is part of a new vision for "the National Library is to be a multimedia centre of knowledge - in [the] front edge of future demand." Some of the questions addressed in developing this World Wide Web of AV were "Who do we want to reach?" and "What to present and why?" Examples of collections on the Web through the National Library Web site and catalog are Roald Amundsen's photographic collection; the Digital radio archive of Norway; and a Norwegian jazz base (1905-current) with 30 online sound samples. The library uses digital storytelling to enhance the value of some collections by presenting them as oral histories without full cataloging to make resources to the public. This has been done with the Tirens suitcase, a collection of early Edison wax cylinders of Sami music.

At the section's business meeting on Saturday, standing committee members reviewed activities of the past year and discussed the program session to be held on Thursday. Various ideas were presented for activities at next year's meeting. A suggestion was made to explore arranging a visit to the Broadcast Library in Seoul.

Election of officers for the section was held with Bruce Royan continuing as Chair. Gregory Miura will continue as Secretary/Treasures and Malwa El Sahn will assume the office of Information Coordinator.

New standing committee members are: Marwa El Sahn (Egypt), Ralf Stockmann (Germany), Ms Maria Ines Durao Carvalho Cordeiro (Portugal), and Ms Isabelle Giannattasio (France). Continuing members are George Abbott (USA), Hong Taek Chung (Korea), Gregory Miura (France), Carmen Velazquez (Spain), Sanja Vukasovic-Rogac (Croatia), Bruce Royen (UK), James Turner (Canada), and Marita Turpeinen (Finland).

The next IFLA conference will take place in Seoul, Korea from August 20-24, 2006.

Preservation and Conservation Section

Sonja K. Jordan-Mowery, Johns Hopkins University

Norway in August proved to be both much warmer and more expensive than this U.S. delegate had anticipated. Yet, as usual, it was well worth it as we convened in Mo I Rana for the Artic Circle Conservation Colloquium.

The Colloquium: Preservation Storage Solutions for all Library Materials was a fabulous two-day event in the former industrial town of Mo I Rana. In this quiet little town where the sun did not set until 10:30 p.m., the National Library is a success story of providing both digital access and long-term preservation for its depository materials. A diverse collection of books, newspapers, film, and sound, the National Library provides specialized cold and dark storage through three distinct storage facilities.

A nitrate storage building and vault provide a constant 9° C and 45 percent RH. The building houses different nitrate collections in series of firewall separate rooms with filtered air, good ventilation, and a nonelectrical system for heating and cooling. The collections have been copied for the most part onto safety film.

The Mountain Storage Vault system

The Mountain Storage Vault system which is a short walk from the National Library building is carved out of the side of the Salt Mountain range and stores the paper collections at a constant 8° C and 35 percent RH. A new cave has already been carved out in anticipation of continued growth in the next 20 years. A sophisticated automatic retrieval system removes and returns trays to the sixty-foot-high steel shelving, to delivery to a central processing center where an employee retrieves the book, scans the bar codes and places another book to go back.

Processing Return and Retrieval

High Density Storage, trays with folders and collection; robotic retrieval in center image This sound preservation and physical delivery system is further enhanced with an active and robust digital preservation and access program for the National Libraries photographic, sound and newspaper collections.

The National Libraries' commitment to preservation of sound recordings is particularly notable. The sound studio ensures the technological chain by having every piece of playback equipment needed to access their sound recording collection, as well as a stock of parts, secondary equipment that can be gutted at any time, and several trained technicians who can recreate what is needed from a scrap part.

hypoxic air system

"Housing for Eternity: Sustainable Solutions and Mistakes to Avoid: The Role of Library Buildings in Preservation" was a natural transition. Both Part I and Part II of the sessions were extremely well attended, with over 185 at any one session. Each of the papers in the sessions were fascinating, but of particular interest to this reviewer were the presentation "Hypoxic Air Venting-Fire Protection for Library Collections and the Almedalen Library- An Energy Low Cost Solution."

Christian Nøgarrd Madsen's presentation on the advantages of hypoxic air systems as a fire prevention system for remote storage facilities was so obvious, that one must wonder why it has not previously been considered as a preservation strategy. Unlike a water suppression system that reduces damage (but not without causing its own), a hypoxic system prevents ignition and thus fire. Without expensive piping, the current HVAC equipment is used to displace 5 percent of normal oxygen levels (21 percent) with 5percent nitrogen. The increased nitrogen does not have any negative side effects and is no different than the hypoxic tents used by athletes to train or high altitude air. The system has been tested and is in use in a number of libraries in Europe.

low cost energy solutions

Per Cullhed presented a very detailed account of how low cost energy solutions could be achieved through creatively using mother nature. In this case, the library used seawater as the source of heat for heat pumps and solar energy to support lighting levels. Both of these presentations offer a reminder that advances in technology can both preserve collections as well as energy consumption and costs.