Access and Reference Services
Providing access to audiovisual materials can occur on many levels ranging from the one-to-one inquiry to product marketing and public presentation. The skills and knowledge required are also considerable: knowledge of the collection, its users, technical skills, commercial skills, legal knowledge (copyright) and exploitation skills.
Access refers to the terms and conditions of availability of the audiovisual material for viewing and reuse. Access requirements involve supplying the audiovisual documents or sequences with the adequate metadata and rights clearance and rights management.
Reference Services refers to the facilities and services the archive provides once access to the material is approved. Enabling use involves helping researchers find and select material, providing effective delivery systems for commercial and public access and may include quality restoration where needed.
In order to maximize resource usability, the archive should offer a large part of its collections in a variety of formats via commonly used access systems. All important documents should be transferred into formats that can be reproduced and distributed with the appropriate equipment, or else made available through cooperation with other institutions/archives whenever possible. If it is impossible to acquire or maintain such equipment, migration, conversion or emulation should be considered, at least for documents of special value. Attention should be given to installing adequate security systems to protect both the hardware and the software.
Archives should create a general Access/Reference Policy for its users, which defines who has access to the material, how it is to be requested for viewing and/or reuse, what restrictions might exist, how much material can be viewed at one time and of course, what permissions are required for reuse of the material. It can be that some collections within the archive have special considerations; this can also be mentioned in the policy. Permission to view and reuse material will depend on the agreement the archive originally made with the donor or previous owner and involves the copyright owner. If the archive did not ensure that the material could be viewed and reused when it was acquired, access to the material may be severely restricted.
» Examples of general reference policies ..Links will follow soon !
Reusing (and even sometimes just viewing) audiovisual materials can be complicated since there are many actors involved in the creation of the material. Producers, actors, musicians, screenwriters, etc are just a few of the people who may own intellectual rights to the material. The legal position must be clearly established for every item in the collection and ideally documented in the catalogue record. Often reuse requires signing a licence agreement which specifically states when and where the material will be used and any fees involved.
» Examples of copyright notes in catalogue records ..Links will follow soon !
» Examples of licence agreements ..Links will follow soon !
There are various ways for an audiovisual archive to exploit its collection. It may have an in-house exhibition facility, or wish to exploit its holdings through exhibition in other institutions. An audiovisual archive may also wish to work together with educational institutions to incorporate audiovisual documents into the educational curriculum. Or it may aim to exploit its assets commercially through the creation and ‘packaging’ of products for a particular audience or market. All of these options will increase the archive’s visibility in the community and ensure greater use of the collection.
(See also General Resources which may include chapters on these topics)