What's Next? An Open Discussion

Facilitators: Dara Meyers-Kingsley (IMAP) and Luke Hones (Artists Television Access)

                                    Dara Meyers-Kingsley

LUKE HONES:  It might be best for me is to talk personally and summarize my experiences here. First, it has been very exciting seeing many people again. I have been out of video preservation, actually doing the work, for about three years, and pursuing other interests. It was great being on the panel with the folks from BAVC and seeing all the great work they are still doing, and seeing that there is still that inspiration to continue working on this project.

It was also interesting discussing the economic issues, and hearing a lot of the same things coming up. In as much as we tried to make our process efficient and create a system that would work relatively consistently, there is still a price barrier for a lot of people. I heard Kate mention that the Media Arts Center wanted to be empowered; but having been from there, I would maintain that working with BAVC is part of that empowerment, because we are cut from the same cloth. But I’d say I’m fully behind empowerment, and including the entire community in the discussion to come up with the solutions.

It’s always interesting hearing about media formats; it’s definitely something we have to worry about. In talking with Mona about the media formats over the last few days, it is interesting to realize what a real muddy quagmire this can become — especially in the preservation world. What people often do is go out and shoot whatever they can afford. That may mean Digital 8, not even the DV or D formats that were mentioned, but something that is inexpensive and provides quality. Formats can be a real Achilles heel. When Sarah gave her presentation I leaned over to Mona and said, “This is very exciting.” Often, when we who actually transfer the material go to conservation meetings, we hear about the need to be more specific and document things. It’s great to have someone as knowledgeable as Sarah come up with a sheet and say “Here’s how we do it.” I sat on a jury about six months. The sheet reminded me a lot of what forensics scientists do, as far as defining certain things. It was very exciting.

It’s also exciting to know that in the work we are doing, there seems to be people moving forward, and on a lot of different paths. When we were talking about coming up to do this final discussion, one thing Sherry kept emphasizing was that we needed to not only talk about the preservation of tape, but also the documentation - what kind of world this really was, who the people were, and the different types of documentation that surrounded the makings these tapes. As I say, spinning tapes, we may not always think about this but it is clear that this as a very important part, as is possible.

Now, thinking about the last two days, we have to decide what we want to do next. I’ll now ask Dara to discuss the different issues we saw, and broadly outline what we can do next.


DARA MYERS KINGSLEY:  I want to thank everyone here for what they have shared: Sarah having her priorities sheet; BAVC giving their financial accounting, and also giving the ins and outs of what a piece of what equipment costs and how to use them. I think it’s really critical that we continue to share, because we are all working toward the same goal. It is nice to be amongst people working together, and I want to thank you.

There is a lot more work to be done. I made a list of the types of constituents that attended today and yesterday — the universities, conservators, technicians, artists, funders, distributors, exhibitors, museums, archivists, media arts centers, preservation consultants, and postproduction facilities. That is who is here. If we expanded our reach to seventy, ninety, a hundred! I think that’s one of the things we want to do, plan to expand beyond just the small central community of media arts; but learn from our professional colleagues in the library, archivist, museum and conservator worlds. I think that’s part of the road ahead.

I considered this a broad outline of the areas we’ve tackled over the last two days. In terms of the physical process of preservation, I know there were questions that came up about the research needed in collections management, cataloguing, prioritizing. Finding out where the resources and tools are for preservation work, and the expertise so that the tools can be used either for preservation and/or for production. That includes the tape and the different media: the machines, equipment, the documentation. The expertise should exist in those two areas.

How can we increase our information sharing for the purpose of connecting to the next generation, who may not know this work or these artists and issues. Also sharing information about who has what. How do we amongst each other, and in these giant collections around the country and around the world, share where the materials are, where the expertise is? As I said, expanding constituencies to share expertise across disciplines.


HONES:  That’s how we broadly broke down the topics that seem to demand a next step. It would be an effective use of our time for tomorrow, next month and the coming year, to come up with some actions out of this discussion and brainstorm about these different areas.


KINGSLEY:  Some questions may be: What research needs to be done? What questions do we need to ask? What are the strategies and who should do it? Who can tackle some part of this giant puzzle? Also, we should prioritize what needs to be done. What’s the most critical thing? Mona mentioned maybe we should all go to Beta SP. Should we choose something like a format? Do we want to come up with an idea of making sure we have a union catalogue of everybody’s collections? Should we make sure we have a database of all experts in how to run every piece of equipment? Should we get oral histories from every living artist in everybody’s collection? I mean, yikes--but tell me!


HONES:  As the first brainstorming point, one of the exciting things that has come out of this weekend is a lot of the discussion that I’ve had, not only with Jon and the folks at BAVC, but especially with Bill Etra; talking about how to make the act of transferring a tape and getting the tape to someplace else less invasive, less destructive. One of the things I threw out yesterday was the idea of this duplicating machine, where you can make a duplicate of a tape without having to run it through a tape machine. So Bill went on the web and grabbed information on it; there are already discussions going on among people who are very interested in the technical side of things, and where we can take that process.


MEYERS-KINGSLEY:  Another conversation I had was with Tony Bannon, from Eastman House, who talked about the fact that he has a collection of equipment, spanning the beginning of photographic and film history, whether or not he could continue to add to that collection, to bring in other types of media equipment. That wouldn’t take care of the access to the equipment and using it for parts, but we would have at least have a study collection of every piece of equipment, with manuals. Maybe, we could create video training tapes on how to use the equipment, so there would at least be some source for that. 


SARAH STAUDERMAN:  I have two additions or addenda to the list. We need to raise the consciousness of the funding community, wherever they may be, about this need. It’s been easily seven years since the publication of Magnetic Media: Storage and Handling. The group that authored this, CLIR, has moved on to web-based research issues; they have not left it behind, but have said “We raised the issue; now where are other people coming to the table on it?”  It will be critical for people who need to get funding to not have to explain themselves over and over again.

Another thing that might be a useful product of the conference would be to actually do an assessment or status report of where we are on several of these initiatives. I’m not the only person who knows about various initiatives, such as the Variable Media Initiative; where are they in their process, and what are they doing? What is the status of the DVD that BAVC is working on, or the status of IPI research? What groups are out there actually looking at this? We don’t want to reinvent the wheel. Who are the people that know what’s happening and where--the connectors? We all know a little piece of it, but we definitely need to throw this into the ring: this is a bright person working on these issues, for instance they’re focusing on prioritization. This is a bright person and they are focusing on the lost videotapes of the early seventies. I’m expanding on what Dara was saying: Who knows what? We need to have lists of that.


KINGSLEY:  How do we do this? IMAP, for example, would be happy to take on an initiative — and it’s something I’ve been thinking about.  Since we are the sort of bridge to the various communities— Do we need a roundtable? Do we need an interview? Do we need someone to actually go out and prepare a report on the field for all of us? We can either all get together, or someone can go do the interviews and report. Sounds like we may need a report; we don’t necessarily all have to meet. So that’s something that could definitely happen.


KATE HORSFIELD:  I would add, because this is certainly a priority, a lot of us are really interested in how we’re going to pass this information on to the next generation. Heather was talking about something I found enormously interesting, which was to create a kind of catalogue of sort of like tape defects. And what’s the difference between a tape defect and the normal look of a 1970s tape? Even in my office, the younger generation look at these tapes and they don’t know. If they see yellow streaks across it, they think that’s what all seventies tapes look like. I think we need to really concentrate on how we’re going to educate and pull new people into this dialogue. You know, we are doing our share, but we need more people to help us at this point.


KINGSLEY:  I would say that would be a place where conservators working with us could write this up. First of all, people don’t even know what a certain kind of tape looks like, as Sarah was saying. “Well, it’s kind of this big and that small,” or whatever. But also, how do you know by looking if there’s anything wrong with the tape, the physical object? How do you know what the tape should look like—correctly—in playing back? Those two areas need some study.


HORSFIELD:  NYU just started a whole preservation program in their Cinema Studies department. It would be great to lobby some of the universities and say, “Let’s get some interns out there in the field,” so they can come to all of our spaces and spend two months — and incidentally, be slaves for us for three months! But then they come out of it with a greater understanding of what the problems of the seventies, the tapes, and of cleaning, and transferring to a more stable format.


HONES:  And they’ve gotten to rub shoulders with legends. They should be paying us. I wanted to add one of the things I was talking to Kate about this weekend is, after going to a BAVC presentation of video art and collections from the seventies, and after seeing Kate’s presentation, one of my staff people in an exhibition space was very interested in doing a program that combines, or somehow mixes the material from the seventies, the activism from the seventies, with current activist video — which is what we’re showing at our screening space. We have a very diverse, very young audience. And they are very, very excited about hooking in with what the Video Databank has.


KIM TOMCZAK:  Just as information, the NAMAC just completed the video preservations log, one of their ongoing projects. A summary, which will come out in a NAMAC newsletter, really echoes most of what we’ve discussed these last couple of days. That summary is by Chris Kennedy from the V-Tape office. Perhaps we could use NAMAC as dissemination of the information, and certainly as part of the tool. Also, maybe NAMAC can be assigned, or suggested to, that they do a survey of all the centers that have working equipment. Give them that task. “Do you have an open reel machine that works at your center?” Then start a catalogue--that would be beautiful.


HONES:  One thing I’d be glad to do is offer the experience that we have at ATA, working with online surveys and developing online database systems to gather some of this information.


HORSFIELD:  For any of you who are NAMAC members, this is a really good week to call up the national office and say that we’ve had this meeting and that we are very concerned about issues of preservation. They are planning the national conference in October; the text is not locked on that conference and all of us who are interested in preservation that are also on the board, could use some assistance by saying, “This is the number one priority.”


COMMENT:  For the past few years, there has been a lot of interest at NAMAC in educational issues. I think this is a moment for us to think about where the intersections are. What really impressed me at this meeting is the notion of the ephemera, and providing context. It would be good if we did some modeling, or reaching out around the media education side (which seems to be a very active part of what’s been happening at NAMAC), to see if we could forge connections between preservation issues and things we know are the first and second topics that come up at that national conference. It might give a spin so it is not a segregated discussion about preservation, but an attempt to at least figure out a piece of this discussion, so there is a broader affinity.


CAROLE LAZIO:  Is there a published list anywhere, of the research, and that scientific research we would like to have done on preservation issues? I know there is intensive work being done in the EU for their archival research. Sarah has a list of things she would like to see investigated. I really don’t think we should drop that ball, as far as publishing what we think needs to be researched, and getting that to the organizations that could do it.  Another question I have is, is any organization meeting with the people who, for example, are still manufacturing BETA SP decks, and trying to sort of encourage them to maintain these as long as possible? Is there a movement to try and do something about maintaining the equipment we seem to be fastening on?


BILL ETRA:  I’ve done a lot of work with developing products. The first thing we need, if we want to develop a product that’s going to preserve tapes…what we need first is a wish list, so a simple thing for people to do is go back and make their list of what they’d really want it to do. Then, people who are looking into hardware and other matters and procedure, have some idea of what the consumers--the people who have things that have to be translated and preserved--in the group really want. That wish list is something that’s needed, or otherwise the hubris of the engineer will come in and will build something that looks like a wonderful toy but doesn’t do what you want. I’d strongly suggest that somebody organize a wish list that specifies what they want preservation to do. Don’t worry whether or not it’s possible, just worry about what you’d ultimately like to have happen with preserving archives. Don’t worry about how it gets done; the first step is to define what you want done.


HONES:  That would be an interesting thing to see expanding on the ETC site.


ETRA:  In addition to the wish list, we could start writing a manual to say how we might go about doing it. Then we can look at getting the hardware and other things together to actually do it. That way we would come up with something that is useful to everybody. If you don’t put in your wish list now, what you will get is some horrible system that does not do what you want.


HONES:  And the thing is right now, the half inch open reel tape deck plays back the tape but it’s not at all friendly to the tape.


ETRA:  I’m sure everybody here has something they really wish they could do, but that they can’t; we need that input.


SARAH STAUDERMAN:  You are right; you should imagine a world of what preservation can do. Don’t limit yourself to what you think it can do. One thing left out of all of our discussion, because it’s gnarly and strange, is the concept of ethics in the preservation or restoration. We do need to look at the standards that are out there for ethical practices with these materials. That would be another working group.  


HONES:  I’m curious if there are ethical standards for new material, now published?


STAUDERMAN:  Well, there are ethical standards published by the American Institute for Conservation on standards of practice. There’s probably an ethical code at AMIA, but I don’t recall seeing it. Whenever you’re dealing with an alteration of original cultural property, you run a risk of going beyond the line of what is considered ethical. What is it within moving images? In general, the moving image world does not have ethical guidelines for practice. Some things that happen within moving images may be ethical, but I’m a little weirded out by it sometimes. Is it ok to lose a frame? Is it all right to touch up little parts of a frame, because you have the ability, so the output will then be altered from the original? Maybe it is ok. Maybe you just need to know where that line is, and we don’t. It may be too soon, I don’t know.


HONES:  I know that, having working at the BAVC preservation site, we certainly try to be as sensitive as possible. But our ethical standards are our own ethical standards. I think that is something that needs to come from conservators and disciplines that actually have more matured ethical standards.


BILL SEERY:  When Joel Chadabe was speaking before, I was thinking about installations, especially when they’re remounting them these days. You often see a façade of what was twenty, thirty years ago, but the mechanics--the guts behind it--are modern technology. Where Vito Acconci, let’s say, had two Revox tape recorders, those Revox tape recorders are there; they’re spooling tape, but there’s nothing on the tape, and you’re not the hearing sound from that tape. There is a CD player, an MP3 player hidden somewhere else. Those are the interesting issues that are coming up. As an aside to what Sarah was saying, these kinds of ethical issues are coming up and. It is even more compounded since you are not dealing with somebody who lived five hundred years ago, and you’re not restoring a painting or a sculpture; it is a living artist with an opinion about how something should be remounted.


ETRA:  One of the things we’ve discussed is also preparing a way, a discussion—what Steina’s been doing, some of the playing I’ve been doing with my own tapes, to be published, so that independent artists who have a Mac or a PC will get some information about what is the easiest way of getting their own stuff in, so they can make the changes. I don’t know if that is an ethical thing. You may not want the artist to be redoing their work either. Somebody has to sit and write a proposed ethic, and then everybody has to input their thoughts. Until we get some of that information as to what people want, we’re shooting at impossible targets--or no targets at all.


PIP LAURENSON:  I feel I ought to say something at this point about what I’m doing, though that is a horrible thing because then people expect something to happen shortly. I’ve embarked on a four-year research project; it’s got two strands. One is on management issues for time-base media and it is covering installation works, predominantly in film, video, slide, audio, and then web. The other side of it deals specifically with conservation.  There are six conservation case studies, from which a strategy I am developing will follow. I’ve been working in time-based media preservation since ’92 and I’ve been slowly working on a strategy that basically belongs to the context of conservation. The first part is what we call data registration, working out what you have the issues about how we document the installations. Then, looking at the role of those elements in relation to the artwork as a whole, the various types of risks involved reinstalling those installations in the future, and developing appropriate conservation strategies. I’m hoping to produce a handbook, and in terms of how I want it to develop, I’m hoping various sites will host certain elements, so that people will provide input and we can actually come up with something with a fair amount of consensus. Some of it is going to be nitty-gritty, to do with how you sort and label things; a lot of it will just deal with how we can approach it in a fairly systematic way. The time frame is four years.


LISA STEELE:  This may be completely off topic. But if we are talking about artworks, in addition to preservation in a more abstract way, there are a issues we are not really dealing with. One is aesthetics. It is not just about having a handbook of what a glitch looks like, not just talking about the politics, but the aesthetics of early video. I don’t think it’s very popular, but it needs to be done.

The other thing is when we talk about the art world we are also talking about the emergence of the private dealers. There’s a whole system. That is happening to a lesser degree to us in Canada, but in the UK and the U.S. it is spreading like wildfire. These are artists whose works— for all intents and purposes — are out of public access, except through private dealers. The accessibility of a Pipilotti Rist or these people (within the educational system) is inaccessible now. They are removed from all these discussions around preservation. It remains to be seen how committed private dealers are to these works as artworks, not simply as works of commercial exchange.


BARBARA LONDON: This is to follow up on a conversation I had with a couple of people including Lisa and Kim. A week ago, I got a call from somebody. There’s an artist who has been very active in the early days, and was racing ahead, thinking: Could I edition on the work? This is work that was out in the market, distributed by my colleagues here in the room. Of course, I have had long conversations with Martha Rossler about her work being represented by a dealer. So Martha, like Nam June and all kinds of people at the very beginning, it was two hundred and fifty dollars, and you just make a copy as the university or whoever wanted to buy it. Unlimited.


MONA:  Sherry and I have talked about doing interviews with the inventors and developers of early tools, and making them available: artist instruments, devices, one-of-a-kind devices, and so on.


HORSFIELD:  I support that idea. I think that many of us here have been very involved with documentation, but there are big holes in our collections. One of the things is that it’s easy to get information on very well known artists. Bill Etra and I were just talking about how it’s almost impossible to get this infrastructure. We need to create, in some way, a snapshot of the development of our field that doesn’t just include famous artists, but also includes the people who were innovators or who created a kind of infrastructure that artists used in their work. That could be tool builders; it could be people who invented the internet, or early computers. I think my fear right now is that the gallery system has appropriated so much of video, that all of us -- to one extent or another-- are threatened to be wiped out by their reinvention and recontextualization of video history. We need to be active in terms of keeping some of the less popular, but equally important ideas, alive that have come out of the thirty-five year history of our field.


SHERRY MILLER-HOCKING:  One thing I was really excited about, was when Woody agreed to come, and that the Langlois Foundation presented the  work they are doing. Some of the stuff that we’ve been doing speaks to what Kate has talked about--that the context can emerge from the data. Maybe I’m misusing the term, but one of the things I find when I look at Woody’s site, or when I work on our site, is that when you start a search on a particular name (with our site, you can also search by a particular year), you begin to sense a context. The context appears from the data. That is one of the reasons that this is my love - this is my area. I’m interested in tape preservation, and I certainly see the importance in that. But I think that context will emerge, as we collectively work on these types of data structures and sort these kinds of issues out.  I fully support Woody, and many other people’s issue here with public access to that information, and I totally agree with Woody that the internet is the place. He and I may get into trouble on our sites with copyright issues sometimes; we are both struggling with that issue and getting permissions for reprinting, and those are a whole other set of problems and issues that we as a field need to sort out. But I’m a real believer that the context will appear as this data is presented and is made accessible to people — taking it out of our attics and basements and offices, and putting it up there.


ETRA:  We are generating more data. Every time somebody logs on to one of these websites and starts going through the information, if we have the foresight, we begin to store the what they are looked at and in what context. Maybe we could even give them something to (voluntarily) fill out that says what they were looking at. Then we can begin to produce a much bigger index, a much more useful index that says, “This was valuable to somebody doing research, and should therefore be added to the header of things that brings or looks it up.” The information in a database should grow and become more useful as more people access it— which is talking about a very difficult concept, a heuristic databases, but it is possible.


WOODY VASULKA:  An even bigger issue comes up with the streaming. (We have a maestro streamer here with us; unfortunately he just came, but he’s the gentleman I was saying can stream endlessly because he has the capacity.)  Would you tell us something about how you came up with this concept of streaming all the art ever made all the time?


DANIEL SUMMER: Daniel Summer, with Digital Video Laboratories. Well, I think that might be overstating our vision of this a bit, but I certainly think the internet has the potential to realize what many folks thought cable television could have been back in the seventies, had Public Television emerged, for instance. Although we have to remember the internet started as a military technology, it is unstoppable and very pervasive. The utilization by artists is a terrific thing. At least to whatever degree my organization can, making that accessible and usable to artists so they get content out, will be an effort that we will certainly do everything we can do to contribute to. There are a number of projects. There’s an Internet Archive project that I believe is funded by the government that has amassed a large collection of films. They now have volumes and volumes of data and very important films that came from the turn of the last century up to now. The possibility exists to have very sizable libraries of television quality video available. The questions of copyright that we’re looking at will hopefully play themselves out. I think the more art that goes on the net, the better we will all be for it. As Woody mentioned, we are undertaking a pretty significant effort to pretty much take all the art that we can, and get it on the net. And where it goes from there and how that evolves, will hopefully be an interesting, useful thing.

DV Labs, the company I’ve started, is a commercial organization. We are essentially a broadcaster of video on the internet. For the most part, our core business is taking commercial material and distributing it for independent organizations. At our peak, we have delivered thirty-two and a half million video clips over the course of a month. That is a lot of video. That basically shows the internet is a viable means of distributing video, and there is a large audience that can access video through the internet. The project that Woody, Steina and myself are discussing now is something that I guess would fit into the category of a not for profit venture for DV Labs; hopefully, it will be something that more organizations can be involved with and have some participation in, get some use from…Who pays? That’s a very good question. Digital Video Labs will work on maintaining the archive and the distribution, so long as it doesn’t bankrupt us. So we’ll be working not to go bankrupt. A good question is, does anybody get paid in the distribution of media? Because right now, the only person that’s paying is the person pushing it out.


KINGSLEY:  Luke was just asking, if there is any point at which we should go into action plans? If anybody has any other ideas, then it might be good if we got into how you actually move these issues forward.


ETRA:  All of the early work of mine that isn’t owned by anyone else, and that I have the rights to, I am putting up without expecting money to come to me from his site. Eventually it will be available at full resolution for free to anyone who wants it. The reason is I’d rather see that happen than for it to disappear forever. Now, can there be things worked into this context, where the artists get paid? I certainly hope so. But right now, I think it’s better to be out on the internet for free than sitting in a very small apartment in Jersey in stacks.


LORI ZIPPAY:  I wanted to say a quick word pertaining to the idea of educational access, and the link between preservation, getting the material out there and having it accessible, and linking the past to the present and the future. One project we’re working on at EAI (the catalyst was our thirtieth anniversary) is called A Kinetic History: EAI Archives Online. What we’ve been doing over the past year — and it’s going to be a long, long process—is taking our massive archive of ephemeral material from thirty years of EAI history and beyond. This is going back to the Howard Wise Gallery or Kinetic Art, where many artists who we all know as pioneers initially showed work. It is where the TV as a Creative Medium exhibition was set up. In the early years, EAI was a sponsor of projects like the first computer arts festivals, the first women’s video festivals, the Open Circuits conference, the Perception Collective. A lot of it was funneled through EAI as a sponsor. We also have those archives in-house, so what we’ve been doing is scanning and inventorying the materials. We have been doing the essays around the materials, for contextual information. We have devised an online web project with Kinetic History, eight chapters. I hope by the end of this month we will soft launch the first chapter, which is about TV as a Creative Medium and the Howard Wise Gallery. It will be continuing, probably in perpetuity. It was kind of what was said about taking this material out of our dusty archives making it accessible online. Because we are a small organization, it is not our primary function; it will happen very slowly, because we’re doing most of it in-house. But it’s something that we just feel is important, for all the reasons that have come up: education, access, the idea that this history will be lost, that it’s also being co-opted by other areas right now. It is nice to be able to say, “Listen, in as much as we can, we will take responsibility for it.” That’s not our primary function as an organization, but we need to get this history out there and we’re tying to do it in-house, through this on-line project. 


MEYERS-KINGSLEY:  Sounds like, though, really, that’s the kind of project that could use archival interns or archivists, who hopefully, will be coming into our field at some point.



COMMENT:  The new initiative by the Standby program and Mercer Media called Artstream is similar. We are working with arts organizations to get their older information and catalogs online, such as Art and Science, their documentation from panels and lectures, and Franklin Furnace.


ETRA:  One way artists could be paid would be to request that if anybody really wanted contact the artist and get a CD or a DV or a video. I think you’ll find that people are going to steal it, if they want to steal it. Once it’s on the net, it’s vulnerable to being stolen in any reasonable form, and hopefully certain people will order videotapes, CDs, from the artist.


HONES:  The time for talking is over--the time for action is here! I mean, that’s what I’d like to see come out of here; those of us from San Francisco came to New York and we want to see some action, we want to see some things happen! I know you all do, too, so what is the best way to organize this? I guess we set priorities from this list and give out some assignments or have some people volunteer.


COMMENT:  If there are a lot of ideas, different people might want to work on something that’s up there anyway, regardless. One of the things I think Sherry and I hope is that we will be able to produce a report from this; the more concrete we can be, the clearer we can be about what we really want to accomplish, the better off we will be in terms of getting resources for these projects. We can do a laundry lists, and that’s fine, but it’s always good to prioritize a little.


KIM TOMCZAC:  We should de-localize the problem because it’s an international problem. There’s a project that was completed about a year ago in Amsterdam, where they took the entire collection of several organizations, Monte Video and Time Based Arts (which folded together a number of years ago), and they archived the entire collection. The Netherlands had a project called The Year of Archiving, or something like that, and they threw in several million dollars, and they did this whole project at once. We should investigate that since they’ve already done it — not reinvent the wheel— and see how they did it and if other countries are advanced in this area. I can tell you that Canada is far behind in this--


MONA JIMENEZ:  I was just trying to convince someone with some money to give me some travel funds, so I can find out what’s going on around the world. That would be great! It wasn’t on our list, but we can certainly add it: international research; what are the best practices, internationally.


HONES:  Is there any way of breaking this down into bite sized chunks? We have technical issues to deal with, in both cleaning and transferring tapes and what to transfer to.


JIMENEZ: There seems to be a lot about publishing, and that’s a technical issue in terms of information.


PIP LAURENSON: Something we’re trying with BAVC’s fabulous DVD project is looking at the issue of cleaning and what different research is happening, and different practice. What we’re trying is like having a number of conversations with a small group, and collating what we thought people were doing and who we should talk to; then clarify where we were, and open it up to a wider audience for further input--sort of build on tiers so that we reach a sense of consensus about specific issue and where we wanted to go next. I’m trying to coordinate this specifically for cleaning, and I’ll report back on how well this works as a strategy. E-mail seems to be a very nice way of doing this, having small discussion.


HONES:  It’s good that it’s with this group; there is a number of people who’ll be contacting you because they’re interested in discussing it.


JIMENEZ: I’m wondering if this group wants to continue to communicate, if it could possibly be through the IMAP LISTSERV since it is set up and a lot of people are already on it. Other people could just join the LISTSERV, and maybe that would be a place this discussion can continue.


MILLER-HOCKING:  I think that’s a wise way to go about it since it’s unrealistic for us, in five minutes, to even come up with a beginning of an action plan. It really needs consideration and I know from my point of view, my head works a lot better if I give it a bit of space. So I would be definitely in favor of trying to put something like that together.


STEELE:  I think Jim or someone mentioned earlier the union catalogue. Where is that?


JIMENEZ:  IMAP has a standard cataloguing template online; I don’t think there is a union catalogue at this point.


JIM HUBBARD:  It doesn’t exist yet; our tentative timeline is that we will start work on it by the end of the year. 


MEYERS-KINGSLEY:  We are researching the appropriate data structures, databases, and the structure for this pilot union catalogue; fund raising to be able to, once we know what structures we’re going to put in place, choose three to five groups from amongst the organizations and artists using our template. By next year we are actually going to create a pilot and try it out online, so it’s in process.


JIMENEZ:   I have a suggestion that this information be typed and posted on the IMAP LISTSERV; so that folks can e-mail IMAP — [email protected] — and get instructions for how to join the LISTSERV.   Then this information will be on the LISTSERV and folks can react. We could end up grouping it somehow to organize it. Then you can have a bit more discussion about who, what, when, where, and how.


STAUDERMAN:  We should just add the prioritization list, and if people think the prioritization survey form is worthwhile, they want to elaborate on that and publish it for the wider community.


JIMENEZ:   Ok, so that’s about it, right, Sherry? We’re done. Thanks so much to everybody for coming. I had a great time and it was really great to see people. I appreciate everybody who’s been involved


COMMENT:  I’ve been in and out of the conversation for a couple of years now. I have to say, as someone who took a big step back, there is really noticeable progress. That is something that needs to be said once in a while, because the conversation has moved.


Looking Back/Looking Forward: A Symposium on Electronic Media Preservation

May 31 – June 1, 2002

What’s Next?      1