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Ethnomusicology Research Guide

Ethnomusicology 200: Suggested Readings in Audiovisual Archiving

ETHNOMUC100/ETHNOMUC200 is a seminar taught once a year. Course description:  Examination of history, present state, and future of audiovisual archives, with specific focus on ethics, copyright, contracts, fieldwork, preservation, and access and issues related to technology, space, budgets, and staffing.

When we last taught the class, we created a class wiki, which included both links and resources mentioned in class and those recommended by students.  By popular demand, we are making the wiki public.  It is, of course, always a work in progress.  I have created boxes for each broad topic and included the links, therein.  I have generally not included links already listed elsewhere in this Research Guide.  If you have any questions or suggestions, please send me an email.

Archival Appraisal, Collection and Selection

Archive-Library-Museum Convergence

Copyright, Fair Use, Public Domain, and Licensing

Cultural Heritage and Intangible Cultural Heritage

Digital Collection Management (including software)


All of the following software must be run in a server environment, whether that's a physical server, a web hosting or VPS (virtual private server) account, or a virtual environment on your local computer. Installation instructions can be found on the projects' web sites or wikis.

Disaster Prevention, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery


Fieldwork and Repatriation

Grants and Funding

History of Audiovisual Recording


Metadata Schemas

Dublin Core (DC)

Probably the most straightforward, and also most widely used for online collections. Not very precise but easy to use. Covers basic descriptive, structural, and technical metadata with only 15 elements.

Public Broadcasting Core (PBCore)

Started as an extension of Dublin Core built for broadcast archives to describe their audiovisual collections.  Much more detailed than Dublin Core, especially in structural and technical metadata.

Encoded Archival Description (EAD)

Developed and maintained by the Library of Congress and the Society of American Archivists. Created to describe archival collections in a computer-readable format, expressed as XML. Very good at describing relationships, especially hierarchical relationships within a collection, reflecting the way that archival finding aids are traditionally written. Covers descriptive, structural, and administrative metadata. Very widely used by archives in the US, including some audiovisual archives, despite the fact that it isn't particularly designed for describing audiovisual materials.


Developed by the Library of Congress to describe digital objects and express them in computer-readable, XML format. Sort of a cross between EAD and MARC (see below), but for digital objects rather than archival collections or physical library holdings. Covers descriptive, structural and administrative metadata, with a focus on structural.


Technically an encoding standard for storage and transmission of bibliographic data. Most frequently paired with AACR2 (Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd Edition) as a descriptive standard, but can be used with other descriptive standards, most notably RDA (Resource Description and Access). The combination of MARC + AACR2 or MARC + RDA is more analogous to the other schemas in this list. Not for the faint of heart.