Minutes of meeting held on 1 December 2006, at the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin, hosted by Radio Telefis Éireann/RTÉ
Present: Ide Aherne (Radio Archives, RTÉ ), Anna Bale (UCD Irish Folkore Archive), Almut Boehme (National Library of Scotland) (Minutes), Robert Canning (Radio Archives, RTÉ ), Cinzia Curtis (Manx Heritage Foundation), Jenny Doctor (Borthwick Institute, University of York), Jonathan Draper (Norfolk County Record Office), Simon Factor (Moving Media Ltd.), Ieuan Franklin (Bournemouth University), Tom Lorenz (Cube-Tec), Marian Geoghegan (Radio Archive Project, RTÉ ), Joerg Houpert (Cube-Tech International), Crispin Jewitt (British Library Sound Archive), Cathlin Macaulay (School of Scottish Studies Archives), Mairead MacDonald (Tobar an Dutchais), Lisa McCarthy (Eneclann), Niamh McDonnell (Eneclann), Ant Miller (BBC Information & Archives FM&T), Malachy Moran (Radio Archives, RTÉ ), James Moynes (Radio Archives, RTÉ ), Diarmuid O’Sullivan (RTÉ), Will Prentice (British Library Sound Archive) (chair), Dafydd Pritchard (National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales), Ruth-Blandina Quinn (Broadcasting Commission of Ireland), Will Prentice (British Library Sound Archive) (Chair), Peter Reilly (Radio Archive Project, RTÉ ), Kate Richardson (Brighton Museum and Art Gallery), Brian Rice (Radio Archives, RTÉ ), Ramona M. Riedzweski (JD Consulting), Simon Rooks (BBC Information & Archives), Jack Smith (Radio Archive Project, RTÉ ), Chloë Wooley (Manx Heritage Foundation)
Apologies: Martin Astell, Jackie Bishop, Margaret Brooks, Ruth Savage and Beth Thomas.
MM welcomed the delegates to the meeting which was opened by WP summarising earlier activities of the day and thanking speakers and organisers. He then laid out the agenda for the meeting:
1. Correction and matters arising of the minutes of the May meeting
2. To discuss constitutional matters regarding the future of BISA as outlined in/on the basis of the paper produced by Jonathan Draper
3. To discuss matters relating to the email list and membership in particular
4. Next meeting and AOB.
Minutes of the last meeting
The minutes of the first BISA meeting on 12 May 2006 in Edinburgh were accepted.
Constitutional matters and email list
WP briefly summarised the aims and activities proposed for BISA at the May meeting in Edinburgh:
• To provide a forum for individuals and institutions for training and advice over subjects of common interest that relate to the archiving of sound; e.g. funding, technology, storage, access, legal matters
• To function as regional advocate for sound archives
• To form external relationships with other related bodies
• To manage appropriate channels for the above aims through e-mail listserv, website, annual/biannual meetings, conferences, study weekends, courses and visits
JDr then introduced his issues paper that had been distributed to the BISA email list prior to the meeting.
Option 1 was to set up a formal constituted body along the lines of a national branch of IASA or ARSC. This option would require a larger number of formal roles. National branches of IASA also had to comply with certain stipulations which we may or may not meet like the 50% IASA membership rule.
Option 2 illustrated a less formal constituted body similar to Music and Audio Resources Scotland. Such a body may work with minimal governance structure e.g. chairman/convener, secretary, treasurer, listowner, webmaster supported by a simple constitution. This set-up could later grow into a more formal group when required.
Option 3 represented the current set up of an informal network with a small committee consisting of a listowner and deputy to administer the listserv and organise meetings.
WP opened the discussion asking the floor for any opinions on the three options. MM thought that the IASA 50% rule in connection with option 1 may cause problems. CJ responded that a formal body doesn’t have to be IASA branch and option 1 should not fail on that ground. WP voiced concerns over resources and commitment to fill posts required for a formal body. He asked how many people would be willing to help now or in future. SR suggested one should perhaps discuss the current setup, option 3, first. WP replied that the current arrangement was that BISA constituted itself out of the 74 members of the email list. The listserv fulfilled the role of disseminating information and providing a forum for networking. Traffic was fairly light attracting about 1-2 messages a week. However, the messages mainly consisted of announcements rather than discussion. A working group had been charged with preparing the next meeting and producing a proposal document for constitutional issues. The remit for this working group had been fulfilled and meeting preparation gone very well. The question now was whether these activities were enough to fulfil the needs of BISA. WP stressed that the success of this meeting had been made possible with the help of generous sponsors.
AB mentioned difficulties with commitments due to lack of resources, both in terms of volunteering and funding. JD said that this meeting was exactly what was required but that it depended on sponsors to fund it. She thought that option 3 would be a safer option at this stage.
AM suggested one should think about what each setup would or would not allow us to do, e.g. in terms of advocacy.
WP drew attention to the fact that meetings were a useful method of networking as it allowed more information transfer than simply putting up information or links on an email list or website.
CJ pointed out that it was important to consider commitment required in the different options. With an informal setup less commitment was required, but one would not have a body providing an official line of communication to government bodies and professional bodies, nor would one speak collectively with one voice. His personal opinion was that BISA had gained valuable momentum that might be wasted if one decided for an informal network rather than a formal body.
JD reminded everyone of the importance of an advocacy role for pressing issues that required a formal response like the Gowers consultation earlier in the year dealing with the extension of copyright of sound recordings from 50 to 70 or 95 years.
RR raised the issue of restricting membership of students who were not working in an archive but were interested in sound archiving and were studying related subjects. This was later echoed by IF who said there were no degrees in sound archiving but a variety of related courses. Similar concerns regarding the restriction of membership of BISA were voiced over archivists working in small archives without the resources to become active but requiring access to expertise through networking and dissemination of information.
BR suggested looking at setting up a website to fulfil that requirement without forming a formal group. WP emphasised that BISA was primarily a regional group disseminating best practice, not re-writing it.
AM stressed how important ongoing organisations and meetings like this were for temporary projects requiring organisations to play a role in looking after the end product. He mentioned future funding opportunities in EU that would become available. One funding stream would be for Competency Centres and that BISA might want to follow this up.
MM said that a more formal body would help to obtain sustainable funding and that we should move more towards option 2. SR reminded everyone of the remaining BASC funds of £2,500.
ABo explained how MARS (more like option 2) and IAML (UK & Irl) (option 1) worked in practice. Overall MARS was much easier to administer than IAML (UK& Irl) which required far more commitment from its committee members. She gave an example from her experience as membership secretary looking after 250 members.
WP proposed to try option 2 and establish a small Exec committee consisting of 2-3 officers initially chosen for one year with the remit to establish the organisation, draft a constitution and organise meetings. The Committee would consist of the Convener and the Secretary and be supplemented by a local meeting organiser. This proposal found general agreement on the floor.
WP suggested we use the MARS role of convener with the remit of drafting the constitution. DP proposed WP as Convener, seconded by AB. He was duly elected for one year and accepted.
WP then proposed a secretary role similar to that of MARS and proposed JDr given his work on the issues paper. The proposal was seconded by AB. JDr was elected and accepted.
Membership of BISA
WP then moved on to talk about the definition of membership.
R-BQ asked about associated membership for people working in related areas but not strictly as sound archivists. WP explained the different IASA categories. SR raised the issue allowing membership to collectors, who share some of BISA’s interests. CJ Raised the potential problem of archivists sharing a platform with those who provide services to them. WP explained he and JDr as list managers had refused a few listserv applications on the grounds of the remit of the list. The applicants were referred to the public archive of the listserv.
Another issue was that of defining professional sound archivists as those paid to work in sound archiving or holding professional qualifications. A restrictive view may exclude volunteers who would fit into the associate category of IASA, or students. CJ suggested that one could look at how professional Archivists are defined by other professional organisations such as IASA. This can also shed light on ways of dealing with supporting supplier organisations, with whom it is important that we remain engaged. AM described how, as audiovisual archiving evolves, a “complex ecology” of suppliers and archivists often develops which should betaken into account. WP thought associate membership would give flexibility to allow members with a serious interest in sound archiving to join.
Another suggestion of following a membership nomination scheme like that of the Society of Archivists was thought too restrictive at this time.
WP asked for another volunteer to join the existing Working Group of AB and MM to act as members-at-large and assist with organising the next meeting. BR offered and was gratefully accepted.
AOB and next meeting
WP said he would produce a draft constitution and open the discussion list to a wider audience along the lines of IASA rules. Membership of the JISCmail discussion list would be opened to all, but certain discussion topics would be discouraged, focussing on BISA priorities as discussed here and in Edinburgh (see minutes of previous meeting). He reported that CJ had offered to host the next meeting at the BLSA. It was agreed that this would be held in May 2007 (UPDATE: date now confirmed as 11 May.)
The meeting closed at 6.03pm.