Why the title?

Fast Forward: access and preservation in a digital world…

At the beginning of 2008 the Film, Sound & Photography Group was invited to collaborate in creating this year’s conference programme and to devise a suitable theme that would not only encompass some of the issues that concern us  as audio-visual specialists but would also appeal to the wider archive, records management and conservation communities.

We settled on Fast Forward as a nod towards our audio-visual roots but also to convey the sense of change that the digital revolution has brought to our professions.

Digital technology is not unknown to our domain; we’re accomplished users of technology for description and outreach purposes and the capturing and preservation of digital records has been a significant issue in the world of archives and records management for some considerable time.

Digital technology has also transformed the world of audio-visual archives. The increasing demand for online content, the migration of material from analogue to digital, the digital transfer and restoration of older film and sound media and the constant development of new digital mediums and its subsequent preservation; audio-visual archives can be a difficult and confusing area in which to work.

The Digital Futures programme strand will look at some of the emerging areas in which audio-visual specialists, including archivists and conservators, are involved as well as exploring key areas of copyright, preservation and access. Many of the sessions in the programme transcend audio-visual archives and should be of interest to the wider archives and records management community. Thursday’s sessions focus on using digital technologies and the Internet to reach new audiences, create new archive material, and to serve community interests. The programme will also include presentations about continuing professional development and debate the endeavours necessary to ensure archivists and conservators are equipped with the right balance of skills to deal with the ever-growing body of audio-visual material.

As part of Wednesday’s Information Exchange delegates will have an opportunity to meet members of the Film, Sound & Photography Group to discuss audio-visual archives and receive advice.

The Film, Sound & Photography group hope that the Digital Futures programme strand that it has devised will provide an exciting, informative and ultimately, useful insight into the realm of audio-visual archives and beyond.

Martin Devereux

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