Minutes of meeting held on 11 May 2007, at the British Library Conservation Centre, 96 Euston Road, London, hosted by the British Library Sound Archive
Martin Astell, Essex Sound and Video Archive; Kenny Beaton, Tobar An Dualchais, Edinburgh University; Nigel Bewley, British Library Sound Archive; Almut Boehme, National Library of Scotland; Kate Bradford, University of London Computer Centre; Margaret Brooks, Imperial War Museum Sound Archive; Chris Bryan, University of York Sound Archives; Joanna Clark, Library of the Religious Society of Friends; Cinzia Curtis, Manx Heritage Foundation; Jenny Doctor, University of York Sound Archives; Jonathan Draper, Norfolk Record Office; Dafydd Evans, National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales; Niamh Heery, Contempoary Music Centre; Mike Hirst, Mike Hirst – Digital Audio; Colin Hyde, East Midlands Oral History Archive; Crispin Jewitt, British Library Sound Archive; Amanda Kelly, RTÉ; Claire Kidwell, Trinity College of Music; Carolyn Landau, City University, London; Daniel Leech-Wilkinson, King’s College London; Jenny Leigh, Univerity of London Computer Centre; Michéle Losse, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; Cathlin Macaulay, School of Scottish Studies Archives and Library; Anita McDonald, Open University Library; Emma MacKay, Tobar An Dualchais, Edinburgh University; Claire Marsh, Leeds College of Music; Shona Milton, Brighton Museum; Malachy Moran, RTÉ; James Moynes, Rob Perks, British Library Sound Archive; RTÉ; Will Prentice, British Library Sound Archive (Convener); Dafydd Pritchard, National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales; Ruth-Blandina Quinn, Broadcasting Commission of Ireland; Brian Rice, RTÉ; Kate Richardson, Brighton Museum; Miguel Rodrigues, University of London Computer Centre; Simon Rooks, BBC Information and Archives; Philip Saunders, Cambridgeshire Archives and Local Studies; Fiona Tait, Birmingham City Archives; Susan Thomas, University of Wales, Swansea; Stephen Weil, Memnon Audio; Hayley Whiting, Bank of England; Amanda Worthy, Open University Library
Anna Bale, Margaret MacKay, Tom Lorenz
Minutes of the last meeting
Jonathan Draper (JDr) summarised the minutes of the second BISA meeting on 1 December 2006 at the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin, which were duly accepted and signed by the Convenor.
WP introduced the draft BISA constitution (appendix 1) inviting comment.
Crispin Jewitt (CJ) pointed out clarification was required in paragraph 1.2 regarding the proposed geographical remit of BISA, suggesting that Ireland should be amended to the Republic of Ireland.
Action: amend paragraph 1.2 to in line with CJ’s comments
Ruth-Blandina Quinn (R-BQ) questioned whether the constitution allowed for associate members to vote people on to Executive Committee. WP clarified this was not the case.
Margaret Brooks (MB) asked if any fees were associated with membership suggesting this should be clarified. CJ stated that flexibility would be provided if a paragraph were added which stated that a subscription fee might be determined as and when BISA sees fit and collected on a basis agreed by BISA.
Actions: add paragraphs to Section 2 defining which membership categories could vote people on to Executive Committee and to address issue of membership fees as suggested by CJ
WP acknowledged that at the previous meeting in Dublin on 1 December 2006 a Convener, Secretary and three Members-at-Large were elected and the definition of the roles was based on the constitution of Music and Audio Resources Scotland (MARS). WP acknowledged the draft constitution required additional posts of Treasurer, Webmaster and Listowner. No other comments were made regarding the Governance of BISA as outlined in Section 3.
CJ asked if the two-thirds majority vote mentioned in 4.2 and 5.1 relate to membership present at meeting or to all of BISA’s membership. Jenny Doctor (JDo) suggested the latter was possible as e-mail would make postal or remote voting on amendments determined at the meetings fairly easy to administer. WP stated that because the constitution did not mention or dismiss postal voting, there was always the option to adopt it and agreed that for major decisions the acceptance of postal votes would be appropriate.
WP suggested 4.2 should be deleted due to its repetition in 5.1.
WP stated the second sentence in 4.7 should end ‘… including at least three executive board members’.
Claire Kitwell (CK) suggested that it would be more appropriate if the quorum, as defined in 4.7, was reflected as a percentage. WP pointed out that if membership was free with an undefined duration, the existence of members who no longer took an active part in BISA business but who had not formally ended their membership of BISA, may make it difficult to reach a quorum based on a percentage of total membership. WP suggested that membership should be for a fixed period.
Philip Saunders (PS) stated that the constitution should require due notice be given of general meetings and of resolutions to amend the constitution via the circulation of an agenda at an agreed point before the meeting or resolution to amend the constitution is due to take place. WP stated that this should be done by the Secretary independently of the BISA listserv via a separate circulation list of BISA members. It was agreed by a majority vote that due notice should be four weeks.
CK expressed concern over the quorum level, indicating that because those people representing an institutional member would have two votes, the quorum could be reached with as few as six people. CK also pointed out that some people could have three votes if they were an individual member but also represented an institution. JDr felt the quorum level of twelve referred to twelve people and not to twelve votes. A short discussion took place involving WP, Almut Boehme (AB) and CK about the total number of votes one person could have and how it could be administered. WP clarified that institutional members were given two votes to counteract block votes from individual members employed at a large institution. Malachy Moran (MM) said that giving due notice would attract enough members to prevent a block of individual members from one institution distorting a vote. WP felt that a quorum, which was a proportion of membership, would represent better a growing organization, explaining that there were currently eighty-five members of the BISA listserv and about forty-five people present at the meeting.
Daniel Leech-Wilkinson (DL-W) pointed out that all the potential problems brought up regarding quorum levels would be lost if postal voting was allowed for changes to the constitution. [track 6 3:26 m:s]
MM stated the problem would be resolved by ensuring applicants were not already a BISA member in a different category. CK suggested a small membership fee would encourage members to be more active. The general consensus of the meeting was no membership fee should be charged at the present time in order to keep bureaucracy low. WP suggested the quorum should be altered to twenty per cent of total membership, which again received general consent from those present at the meeting.
Actions: amend section 2 to prevent one person holding both individual and institutional membership simultaneously; add paragraph to section 2 to require annual renewal of membership; delete 4.2 as it repeats part of 5.1; add paragraph to require due notice of general meeting at least four weeks prior to the meeting via circulation of an agenda; amend second sentence of 4.7 to ‘A quorum will require the presence of at least twenty per cent of Full Members, as defined in see paragraph 2.1, including at least three executive board members’.
JDo and others felt the sharing of funds amongst full members at the time of dissolution was not appropriate. WP suggested taking out the second sentence in 5.2. CJ stressed there are important reasons why the constitution should state what should happen to BISA if it is dissolved. These reasons include, BISA could be leaving a problem for someone else; BISA had an obligation to anyone making a financial contribution to it; and the banks would not be able to release any funds
without direction from a constitution. CJ also proposed that the constitution should direct any funds left after dissolution of BISA would be used to pay any creditors. Simon Rooks (SR) suggested that any money left over could be apportioned to an organization with similar aims as BISA or to fund a bursary or studentship.
Actions: add paragraph to require due notice of amendment to constitution at least four weeks prior to the meeting via circulation of an agenda; amend second sentence of 5.2 to ‘Any funds held by BISA at the time of dissolution once all debts have been settled, shall be distributed to any organization with aims similar to those of BISA outlined in 1.2, or to help fund a bursary or studentship in the study of sound archives for someone based in the countries mentioned in 1.2’.
CJ proposed that a vote be taken to accept the constitution as verbally amended. The amended text will be circulated prior to the next meeting and ratified then. WP seconded this and a majority of those present agreed with this proposal.
WP invited candidates for a Webmaster and proposed MM, seconded by AB. MM was duly elected and selected as Webmaster. WP also invited candidates for the position of Treasurer. No candidates came forward so the position remains vacant.
World Day for Audiovisual Heritage
WP invited suggestions on how BISA could collectively mark United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO’s) designated World Day for Audiovisual Heritage on 27 October 2007.
MM stated that RTÉ were planning to advertise guided tours of their archive to raise awareness of what they do and issues they face, suggested it could be advertised through a BISA website. JDr suggested that the BISA website could be used to highlight other regional activity.
WP suggested a WebRing either using designated free software or less robustly via http links. This would allow participating organizations to post an audio clip of interest on the website. Interest could then be brought to the WebRing via a joint press release. The recording could be activated by clicking on a BISA logo and the WebRing would then take you on to the next participating website. About eight people stated they could put audio on their website and about the same said they could not. The majority of those at the meeting thought this was a good idea and worth pursuing though WP pointed out that some organizations’ ITC support may be reluctant to allow extra software on their website. MM said it would be advantageous if as many people as possible put some audio on their websites to mark the day.
CJ stressed the important role BISA could play be coordinating a BISA response, explaining that the World Day’s aim was to increase the profile and public awareness of what sound archivists do by publicizing the recordings they hold. CJ also suggested that details of any coordinated response should be passed to the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA) as soon as possible as they are members of the Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations (CCAAA), the organization who are coordinating the World Day on behalf of UNESCO.
Any Other Business
MM stated original idea for BISA website was to have a wiki based web presence so that anyone could update content as they felt appropriate. After further thinking it was felt it might attract comments that other wiki websites have found problematical. For this reason MM is now considering a content management system that would give three tiers of administrative rights; technical for those responsible for hosting and registration of web domain; content editor, with responsibility for quality of comments on the site; and BISA membership tier for anyone in the profession to make informed comment. MM offered to put up templates and logos for comment via the BISA listserv and invited people to look at what was already online at [old link removed].
WP thought this was a good idea and told the meeting that since the last meeting RTÉ had offered to host a website for five years and pay for a web developer to develop the site. WP thanked RTÉ on behalf of BISA for their generous support.
Date and Time of Next Meeting
Next meeting is due to take place in November and talks are in progress regarding a venue.
WP invited suggestions for topics, which could be addressed in future meetings. Nigel Bewley (NB) suggested that the British Library would be in a position in six months time to report on their adoption of preservation factory techniques. WP brought to the attention of the meeting the Unlocking Audio conference on DMSS, simultaneous ingest and preservation factories, which is taking place at the British Library on 26 and 27 October 2007.
CK suggested focusing on funding; what are funding bodies looking for in sound archive projects and what funding bodies are supporting such work; JDo mentioned that many BISA members come from different backgrounds with different funding sources so it would be good to share knowledge. Dafydd Pritchard (DP) pointed out this would have to address the different funding climates in the countries where BISA members were based. Other suggestions were marketing, catalogue techniques and access file formats. DL-W suggested smaller workshops or clinics on specialised topics.
WP thanked Karen Ghai, Adam Lee and British Library Sound Archive technical staff especially Richard Ranft and Nigel Bewley before declaring the meeting closed at 15:20.