Case Study – Audiovisual collection (UCSB)

Music Academy of the West Recordings

I. Overview

Collection Type:

Recordings of Summer Music Festival

Extent and scope:

784 audio recordings and 38 video recordings of Music Academy of the West (MAW) concerts, recitals and masterclasses.


The organization maintains their own paper archives but is not equipped to preserve or provide access to audiovisual material in their archives and asked UCSB to take over their audiovisual archives.

II Approach:

  • Student and faculty recital tapes (maintained by most music schools, festivals and the like) have high institutional value, but often low research value except for recordings of faculty or students with significant musical careers
  • Recordings were in chronological order when transported to UCSB and were maintained in that order
  • MAW provided funding for student to create database inventory of tape contents, transcribing information from programs included with tapes
  • The supervising archivist determined that most requests would be for specific performers who performed during the summer festival and that performer data needed to be captured to make the inventory useful.
  • No effort was made to appraise or weed collection, including recordings of the same concert in different formats (i.e. DAT and CD).
  • Items were not rehoused but were given audio accession numbers using UCSB’s audio accessioning database. Data from collection guide was imported into accessioning database as well as converted to an EAD container list.
  • No reformatting was done at the time of processing. Reformatting will be done as patrons request them. Some tapes will probably never be requested and never be reformatted.


Tapes were transferred from MAW to UCSB maintaining their original order.


Archivist set up a Filemaker Pro database for keying data from programs. Database included dropdowns to speed keying and data was structured in order to facilitate crosswalking with EAD tags.

Student keyed data for data, title contents, and performers and selected year, location and concert types from dropdown menus.


EAD finding guide:


As expected, the collection has been low use, but requests have all been for recordings by specific performers who taught or studied at the MAW.

III. Processing rate:

Not captured but estimated 10 hours for supervising archivist to evaluate collection and set up database and encode EAD guide. Student labor (ca. 100 hours) funded by MAW.

IV. Pros and Cons


  • Processing was funded by the organization, resulting in little cost outlay to UCSB other than supervising archivists time to set up the database for keying and converting final inventory to EAD.
  • Beneficial partnership with local organization in need to help managing their archives.


  • Because of the need for access to recordings based on performer, an item level inventory was required, which is fairly time consuming.

Version 3.0. Last reviewed: August 20, 2012