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Scanning of audiovisual material

Research project DI/09 (Research action DI)

Persons :

Description :

The Royal Museum for Central Africa is well-known for its rich and diverse collections, relating to both the natural sciences and social sciences. The Ethnomusicology section (Department of Cultural Anthropology) has a large audio library composed of traditional music from sub-Saharan Africa, recorded on various media (mechanical sound media, magnetic media, digital media) with the oldest ones dating from the beginning of the 20th century. As for the History of Colonial Times section, it houses several hundred sound archives produced by the radio services of the colonial government in the Congo (news reports, interviews, columns, musical recordings, speeches) made during the period of Belgian colonisation in the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. More than three thousand hours of sound recordings from these collections have been digitised and documented in two databases, one specifically adapted to the field of ethnomusicology, the other to the field of history.

Therefore, there were two goals to the project: on the one hand, to develop an efficient way of preserving these collections by transferring the sound archives to a durable medium to prevent the type of damage suffered by the oldest sound recordings in particular; and, on the other hand, to provide internal and external users easier access to these collections at the institution, in an effort to promote this audiovisual heritage.

Thanks to funding from BELSPO, the DI/00/09 project was successfully concluded within the given deadline. Nevertheless, it wasn’t possible to complete the digitisation of some of the audiovisual (films) archives, or certain functionalities linked to the project, owing to a lack of adequate financial means and to a change in staff (the retirement of the initiator and the first promoter, and a lack of scientists to continue encoding the metadata).

Documentation :

Scannage du matériel audiovisuel : rapport final  Gansemans, Jos - Van Schuylenbergh, Patricia  Bruxelles : Politique Scientifique fédérale, 2012 (SP2525)
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