The management of audiovisual materials in the member states of the East and Southern Africa Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives (ESARBICA)
Abankwah, Ruth M.
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This research investigated the management of audiovisual materials (AV) in the East and Southern Africa Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives (ESARBICA). The study employed questionnaires, interviews and observation to gather data from a population of fourteen national archives. The response rate from the questionnaires was 64.28%. The observations and interviews were carried out from a sample of three national archives and four national media organisations, as explained in Chapter Three. The study confirmed previous studies that attributed continued dissipation of AV materials to various factors such as climatic and environmental conditions, shortage or lack of skilled AV archivists and lack of a standard legal framework in the ESARBICA region. Most national archives did not cover audiovisual archives in their legislation. The study discovered that most of the national archives did not apply the following policies to AV materials: appraisal, acquisition, access, preservation, retention, digitisation and disposal. The study revealed that most of the national archives had a collaborative relationship with national media organisations, where the latter were required to deposit copies of AV materials in the national archives. However, some national archives relegated the responsibility of managing AV materials to media organisations. Poor infrastructure hindered effective management of AV materials. Most of the national archives did not have equipment to monitor environmental conditions. This could have contributed to the vinegar syndrome in some of the national archives. Poor structural placement of some of the national archives resulted in inadequate allocation of funds to the national archives. This invariably impacted on the way national archives preserved AV materials. The researcher discovered that there were very few training opportunities in AV archiving in the region. The few trained staff had intermediate skills obtained from conferences, seminars and workshops. Most importantly, the study revealed that most of the national archival institutions in the region were not applying the records life-cycle model (or any other model) to the management of AV materials. The major recommendations were a change in the structural placement of the national archives, where the directors of the archives would report to an influential ministry in the government service. Such a position would accord the national archives more recognition and thus more financial resources may be availed to the national archives to enable them manage the nation's heritage more effectively. An Integrated Records Management (IRM) model was recommended. The application of the IRM model requires a paradigm shift from the traditional image of archivists as mere custodians of archives to active participants in the decisions that affect the management of all formats of records, from the creators' organisations or departments before such records (including AV materials) are transferred to the national archives for long-term preservation.