Preservation of, and access to audio-visual records at the National Film, Video and Sound Archives of South Africa.
Ncala, Bongekile Nthabiseng M.
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The study investigated the preservation of, and access to audio-visual records at the National Film, Video and Sound Archives of South Africa in Pretoria. The ability to hear or see the recorded sound/images depends on the physical integrity of the carrier and functionality of projection/playback equipment. If collection is not properly safeguarded, deterioration emerges that complicates access. This results in the loss of valuable information. A deteriorating audio-visual records carrier and failure to properly prioritise and plan for the “collection at risk” has resulted in many records being compromised of their integrity and stability, hence they are unplayable. Most audio-visual records at the National Film, Video and Sound Archives were not in a useable condition, and therefore inhibited appropriate access to the content. The aim of the study was to assess the preservation of, and access to audio-visual records at the National Film, Video and Sound Archives of South Africa. The focus on the risk factors to preservation. As a result, plan and prioritise the “collection at risk” and give recommended practices and strategies on solving these problems. Conaequently slow down and minimise the deterioration processes, which in turn might enhance access to the carrier and content. The records life-cycle model was used to underpin the study in the theoretical framework. The quantitative approach, descriptive, cross-sectional survey was used. A response rate of 76% was achieved. The results of the structured, self-administered questionnaire, structured interview and observation schedule were analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. The results of the study show that the archives had on-going preservation strategies and activities practiced over the years. However, the lack of articulation of a preservation policy and an inappropriate environment, were the persistent challenges faced by the National Film, Video and Sound Archives of South Africa. Other risk factors to preservation that the National Film, Video and Sound Archives faced included the following aspects: failure to conduct preservation assessment and planning; lack of tools to detect deterioration; inadequate training for staff working with Audio-visual records; massive uncatalogued Audio-visual records; lack of finding aids and playback equipment; and a degraded collection, which was mostly originals. The study recommends that the archives should involve staff when they plan and prioritise for the “collection at risk”. The collection must be digitised. At least two copies of all archival items in their custody should be kept.