October 27th is the UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage. DW Akademie's "Living Archives" projects show just how important audiovisual material can be for a country's cultural heritage.
In 2003 DW Akademie began advising the Vietnamese state broadcaster, Voice of Vietnam (VoV), on ways to digitalize its sound archives. Five years later, the Digital Sound Archive project was put into practice and the staff had been trained. The project was complete - and the result: 30,000 hours of analogue, historical recordings had been digitally preserved and could be used in regular programming.
This was a future-oriented, long-term project for DW Akademie. Now, VoV and DW Akademie are together planning the digitalization of the Vietnamese broadcaster's video archives. And together they are advising other Asian broadcasters including Radio Nepal (RNE) and the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC).
The Middle East is also included in the "Living Archives" projects. An archive project for radio and television began in 2009 at the Yemen Radio and TV Corporation (YGCRTV). The goal here is similar: to preserve old tapes digitally so that historical sound and visual material, covering events such as the period Yemen’s reunification, does not get lost.
These are all lengthy projects. Together with the partners on location, DW Akademie experts analyze archive contents and archiving possibilities, design concepts, plan technical solutions and train personnel.
As can be seen with the Vietnamese project, "Living Archives" performs two tasks: it preserves old tape material and also makes it accessible for digital programming. With these new archives editors then have fast and easy access to historical sound and visual material- and this is an important contribution to preserving cultural heritage.