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DEKKMMA - Digitalisation of the ethnomusicological sound archive of KMMA

Research project I2/AE/211 (Research action I2)


Contract I2/AE/211 :

Duration of the contract :

1/10/2003-30/9/2005

Partners :

  • Royal Museum for Central Africa (Coordinator of the project)
  • Universiteit Gent 
  • Universiteit Gent 
  • Royal Museum for Central Africa 
  • Université Libre de Bruxelles 

Description :

The sound archives of the Ethnomusicology Service of the RMCA include a collection of sound recordings from Central Africa, and more particularly from the Congo and Rwanda. It contains a total of 2521 hours of music, and its oldest recordings date back to 1910. It represents the musical memory of Central Africa and, in terms of scope, documentation and musical quality, on the global scale it is undoubtedly one of the most important sound archives for this region. It is incumbent upon each institution disposing of sound archives to preserve such historical sound recordings. During recent initiatives and in their publications, international working groups, such as the « International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA) (http///www.iasa-web.org/) emphasised the necessity of digitisation and aspects related to the digitisation process. The implementation of the project is therefore based on their instructions and findings.

Because of the fleeting life expectancy of various types of sound media (cylinders, sound-recording filaments, magnetic tapes, LPs and CDs), one must act quickly to digitise the entire audio collection before some parts of the sound archives are damaged or lost forever.
In addition, the accessibility of the archives currently poses a problem, inasmuch as very few researchers are even aware of the existence of this rich collection of archives.

In an initial phase, one seeks to realise the following objectives :

- Sound digitisation : digitisation of a part of the sound archives of the Ethnomusicology Service of the RMCA.
- Digitisation of the meta-data : digitisation of the available meta-data linked to the digitised part of the audio archives, which should make it possible to easily find the audio files.
- Creation of a database and integration : a database integrated into the current information and communication technologies (ICT) infrastructure at the RMCA and the « Museum System » used at the international level.
- Contextual digitisation : production of meta-data and digitisation of the contextual information related to sound archives.

During the course of the project´s second phase, one will finalise the following objectives :

- Digitisation of all of the sound archives of the Ethnomusicology Service of the RMCA, paying particular attention to restoration of the sound media.
- Digitisation of the available meta-data linked to all of the audio archives, which should make it possible to easily find the audio files.
- Creation of audio/data-mining possibilities (exploration of audio data) within the system of databases.
- Production of meta-data and digitisation of contextual information linked to the sound archives with annotations for the purpose of audio/data-mining.

[http://music.africamuseum.be]

- Contact person (project's coordinator):

Royal Museum for Central Africa (KMMA-MRAC) – Service of Ethnomusicology
Jos Gansemans
Chaussée de Louvain 13 / Leuvensesteenweg
3080 Tervuren
Phonel: 02 769 56 10
Fax: 02 769 56 42
jgansemans@africamuseum.be

PARTNERSHIP

Coördinator Royal Museum for Central Africa (KMMA-MRAC) – Service of Ethnomusicology

Partner 1 Universiteit Gent - Instituut voor Psychoacustica en Electronische Muziek (UG – IPEM)

Partner 2 Universiteit Gent – Computer Science Laboratorium (UG – CSL)

Partner 3 Royal Museum for Central Africa (KMMA-MRAC) – ICT - Information and Communication Technologies

Partner 4 Université Libre de Bruxelles – Etnomusicologie (ULB – EM)


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