Contents - Previous - Next


13.3 Organisation and harmonisation of education programmes.

Curriculum Development Working Party

1. Introduction.

Systematic training in audiovisual archive techniques is virtually non-existent and there is considerable scope for development. This section deals with the education programmes themselves, how they should be organised, if they can be integrated into existing programmes of training and if so which existing programmes are the most appropriate and the resources which will be required, both human and material/financial.

The Working Party were required to look at the 'harmonization of proposals for the education of av archivists'. This was interpreted as the integration of educational programmes for all av archivists: whether they work in film, television, sound or audiovisual archives, and further the integration of training programmes for archive personnel with that for other related professionals.

2. One of the first considerations of international schemes for the training of audiovisual archive personnel is the problem of whether such schemes should be centred in countries with developed archives - to illustrate elements of good practice - or whether to present training schemes in the areas/regions or countries in which the greatest need occurs. In the case of audiovisual archive personnel it has to be recognised that the greatest need is for the development of a universal scheme of training: the developed archives are as much in need of properly organised and assimilated training programmes as the developing countries and their archives. Developed countries needed to put their own house in order before preaching to anyone else. Having said this many developed countries have achieved some measure of principle and practice for collections management within their audiovisual archives and are gradually reaching a position where expertise and experience can be disseminated to a wider audience than before. But equally it has to be recognised that many developing countries have their own special problems and pragmatic solutions to add to this experience. The `developed' world is not always any wiser than the developing world in these new areas of audiovisual archiving and indeed the developing world has much practical experience to offer with its changing conditions, financial and other resources, capacities and climates which have to be taken into account in any training programme if it is to be appropriate to regional and national interests. The question now is how to achieve a transfer of all this accepted knowledge and expertise to all those who are in need. If the developed world has a part to play in this process it is by facilitating with financial and human resources the transfer of knowledge, practice and principle.

2.1 International vs National training programmes. The Working Party looked at possibilities for presentation and formation of training programmes: how best to implement these programmes and which is the better concept, to set up training programmes in developed archives with all their supposed advantages of equipment, sufficient staff, some of whom can be spared to tutor trainees, exemplary practices and wide connections and cooperation with surrounding archives and their practices. This implies that trainees have to come from far and wide, usually at considerable expense to their institution or government, take instruction in an alien situation which does not always relate or even appear relevant to their own particular situation and acquire knowledge which may or may not be possible to turn into practice in their own position. It is a lot to ask of a relatively inexperienced trainee! Such a scheme allows for only a limited number of graduates to travel at considerable expense, and courses held in these situations are usually irregular and designed for a wide variety of trainee, rather than courses specifically designed to a particular type of participant.

The other pattern is to send lecturers/tutors from a developed archive to the country or region which requires a training programme. This is sometimes more realistic as it means the funding of only one or two people into a country or region, who providing they are well briefed and at least familiar with the situation and climate prevailing in the region, can relate practical experiences of audiovisual collections management to the particular circumstances. There is also a most important aspect to this argument which is that in many instances it is not possible to transfer currency from one country to another. The problems of currency exchange range widely, but it is difficult to convert currency from one country to another and the more which can be spent within a country or region the more value that currency will achieve.

Although educational programmes may be centred on a particular country the concepts of regional education and cooperation are essential. The centre within a region which has the better facilities, and a wide range of different archives and audiovisual facilities within easy distance is the more obvious choice to conduct a training programme. Presenting courses in regional centres could ensure a sufficiently large target audience to make a course a viable proposition and also allow the participants to acquire much needed hands-on experience of a greater variety of relevant audiovisual equipment and materials. An audiovisual archive training course profits greatly from practical experience and fieldwork and this aspect is likely to be more easily and better arranged on a regional basis with the use of local resources and facilities in institutions which have audiovisual collections and are prepared to host 'working' visits - or who may have their own in-training courses.

Training may also be offered under bilateral or international aid projects by attaching trainees to established archival institutions. The Working Party felt that this had more value for advanced training of senior staff, than for basic initial training.

3 Related disciplines.

The Working Party recognised that there is a need to attach training programmes to existing training centres which are capable of expanding to include additional disciplines, or can be given the necessary resources to do so rather than set up new completely independent training centres for av archivists only. Such a new centre would find it difficult to be a viable proposition at least in the short-term. This introduces the concept of harmonisation. Training courses for audiovisual archivists could be associated with existing schools or training centres, for a variety of related disciplines including those of archive management courses, librarianship, film schools, etc.

3.1 Harmonisation

The concept of harmonisation is useful for any subject where the target audience is relatively small and the subject matter is capable of being used by more than profession. Harmonisation of training programmes between related professions should enhance and improve the training possibilities for archivists and librarians. There are two applications of the word which apply to training. Firstly there is a harmonisation of practices between different training centres and schools in the same country - which is important for equivalence of qualification. The second aspect is harmonisation of education and training programmes for the three information professions: archivist, librarian, and information scientist. Subjects such as preservation and conservation would seem to be a good case for harmonisation. It makes sense to look for cooperation and coordination between related professions in training for special aspects of work such as the archival aspects of audiovisual materials. The skills and resources of the three professions can be utilised for the benefit of all. Of the several areas recommended for inclusion in a plan of action for harmonisation; preservation and conservation, audiovisual materials, information technology and records management are of particular relevance to the audiovisual librarian. There are other benefits to be gained from collaborative training projects including economic benefits, when both human and financial resources can be used for mutual benefit; benefits for the students in that their range of skills is increased and barriers between professional groups are lessened giving the trainees greater mobility and job opportunities.

3.2 Training for av archivism is of course additional to basic education in an academic discipline. One of the first necessities is to raise the level of awareness of archival problems in all related disciplines. It would be preferable to integrate training with existing programmes rather than add another strand, but which disciplines should be selected as suitable for integrating av archivism? The major discipline is archival science. Documentation although important is less closely connected. Library schools could provide useful training for the disciplines of documentation, but archive science should form its own discipline and not be seen as an add-on aspect of a librarianship course.

The Working Party would recommended that consideration is given to the value of harmonisation of training for audiovisual archive and library personnel. However although the similarities between libraries and audiovisual archives are close in terms of formal description, cataloguing, access; preservation and technical aspects require other skills and training possibilities. There will not be complete harmonisation and the training programmes of the different skills cannot be used as substitutes for one another.

The Working Party decided that related disciplines which should be explored included:

- Archive Science
- Librarianship
- Information/Documentation science
- Film/Sound/video engineering
- Photographics

4 Survey of potential teaching centres and existing courses

In pursuing the idea of harmonising training for av archivists with that of other related professions the Working Party conducted a survey. Brief details of the findings are given here.

During July 1989, a questionnaire was sent to all establishments listed in the IFLA International Guide to Library and Information Science Education (1985), and the computer updates to this list. A total of 564 institutions were surveyed. The enquiry occurred during the vacation of many institutions and the number of returns was restricted as a consequence. It is possible to obtain an idea of the range of courses (and their level) which are available in many countries from an analysis of the returns. A further, more detailed enquiry has been recommended to identify suitable training centres. The preliminary enquiry elicited the following statistical information:

Number of organisations circulated 564
Number of returns 211 (37.2%)
Number of countries returning forms 65

In response to a question asking whether organisations would be interested in developing their courses to accommodate the needs of av archivists, the following interest (or non-interest) was expressed:

a) Develop av archive studies only 23
b) Develop av librarianship and av archive studies 73
c) Develop av librarianship only 51
d) Not interested in further development 43
e) Incomplete forms, or question left unanswered 21
Total 211

The survey was conducted by a questionnaire which was circulated to Library and Information education institutions mainly and the questions were worded in such a way as to find which organisations are currently devoting time specifically to av materials. It was designed to find out whether librarianship was the only aspect taught, or whether some had courses especially suited to archive needs. Such training establishments might be able to develop courses which would take into account the needs of av archivists, or be in a position to offer accommodation for short vacation courses. Additional questions relating to equipment and contacts with av archives, broadcasting organisations and other institutions were also considered relevant, indicating potential areas for development.

Information from the returns indicated the differing education and training patterns in various countries. In the USA, many organisations present their courses in 'blocks', and students opt for particular sessions. The probably reflects the 'credit' system of qualification in that country - a system which is becoming increasingly common in other countries.

Many returns mentioned the difficulty of developing courses in a time of economic restraint. While the Library Schools might like to expand and offer more in-depth studies relating to audiovisual archives, this is often difficult because of the limited number of students who might be interested - and consequently the course would be uneconomic for the parent organisation. Some organisations, however, indicated that they would consider offering short courses in the vacation as a way forward.

4.1 Financial implications.

Many returns indicated that if some financial support were forthcoming, then organisations would be willing to develop courses. At this stage, it is too early to identify those which might be serious contenders for such support, but if this were to become a possibility, it would be useful (and necessary) to investigate the potential for development more fully.

The question as to how much liaison takes place with av archives, broadcasting libraries, recording studios, indicates that currently there is very little practical involvement. A few institutions place students in such organisations for fieldwork and others organise visits. However, the majority have no such contact. Most organisations rely heavily on the resources and facilities on the campus, or within the immediate locality. Clearly any plans for either short vacation or full length courses must take into consideration the proximity of well-established archives which have laboratory facilities, either for visits to them or for possible lecture purposes. Good coordination with practising audiovisual archivists could - with careful planning - result in a dynamic and valuable partnership.

5 Resources needed.

The Working Party considered that in implementing the training programmes recommended, certain resources would be essential. All training programmes need basic support services, including human, financial and material resources. These include:

a) highly trained staff
b) adequate funding
c) fully equipped to train trainees and existing staff
d) supporting services

5.1 Human Resources

Although the Working Party considered a training centre as an independent institution, the help of practising archivists as part-time teaching staff was regarded as essential: that is people who remain in touch with the archive world. It was considered that for a scheme for 50 students the following staff was desirable:

1 Director/professor - Permanent
2 Assistant teaching staff - permanent
Up to 10 invited teaching staff
1 Administrator
2 Secretaries

Any training programme requires staff who are experienced in av archivism and in educational methods. Teaching staff themselves will require some training. In some of the more specialised areas of audiovisual work it will be something with which many educators and trainers are unfamiliar, and therefore, at least initially, teaching should be done by professional staff rather than the educators. The use of visiting lecturers drawn from the practitioners in particular aspects of conservation management is recommended. The difficulty has always been that practitioners are kept busy enough doing their own work. There needs to be a recognition on the part of the larger institutions that these practising professionals should be allowed time to assist in training programmes, just as the larger institutions may also consider providing facilities for practical work and demonstrations.

The invited teaching staff will be specialists in particular fields. It is more useful for regular and consistent presentation of courses to have a prescribed circle of regular teaching staff, not one-off lecturers.

These are the human resources, but other resources will be needed to cope with audiovisual conservation training.

5.2 Material Resources

No training programmes are possible without financial resources but actual levels of finance will have to be determined locally. The areas which will require consideration in drawing up budgets or financial requirements should include:

1. Overheads/Buildings/lecture space
2. Permanent staff
3. Equipment - purchase and rent
4. Materials - purchase and rent
5. Invited teaching personnel
6. Services of neighbouring institutions
7. Library and teaching materials
8. Running costs
9. Unforeseen/ inflation etc.

In addition to these a library is essential for any training course, a collection of relevant books, periodicals, audiovisual instruction and teaching materials where available.

Equipment is also necessary for both administration and teaching/demonstration purposes. Not all equipment need be acquired by the teaching institution, but contact could be made with neighbouring institutions for the use of the more specialised equipment.

5.2.1 Basic Technical Equipment for Training purposes.

Film 16/35mm viewing table
  (4 plates for optical/magnetic separate sound)
  Projection for 16/35mm
  Rewinder
  Splicer (16/35mm)
Sound Tape recorder of semi-professional standard at least speed and track
  formats according to tapes held in stock
  Cassette recorder
  Record player, including a preamplifier for historic recordings
  CD player
  Transfer/mixing console
  Amplifiers, Loudspeakers, Headphones
Video Recorders VHS./ Umatic with colour capacity for PAL, SECAM and
  NTSC
General Slide projector, Tape slide projector,
  Overhead Transparency projectors and related equipment

6 Certification

Another point which the Working Party referred to was the final certification of any training course. It was thought that certification, or a diploma at the end of a training course was a necessity, but it should be based on national practice.


Contents - Previous - Next