Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Generational awareness for interactive information societies - Sophie van der Walt

Inherited work environment of each generation - Sophie van der Walt
 The Department of Information and Knowledge Management at the University of Johannesburg presented a seminar by Sophie van der Walt, an Information Search Librarian at the University of South Africa.

She presented the seminar based on her MPhil (Information Management) studies at UJ, which she completed in April of 2010. The pretext of the study is based on four different generations active in South African interactive societies, namely Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. People who can’t be classified within a specific generation, and who falls between two of the generations, are called Cuspers.

The characteristics of the different generations are reviewed with regards work performance, work-life balance, retirement, rewards, co-worker relationships and recruitment. The study focuses specifically on academic and research libraries in the South African context. Generation Y was not included, because they are not part of the workforce at the moment. It is a direct consequence of posts being frozen for nearly ten years in these academic institutions.

It is very interesting to see how the different generations react to work, the workplace, as well as to each other. The research aims to enhance co-worker relationships by identifying differences based on generations. It has the potential to facilitate management in how they approach the different generations in their staff complement. When you know how to reward your staff, you will be able to retain them for longer as well as ensure the future with middle and top managers.

The aging workforce has been identified as one of the challenges in these academic institutions. Succession planning needs to take it into account. Nearly 51% of the workforce is near retirement.
The basis of the seminar can be found in the following article, which has been published in the South African Journal of Information Management.

I think we can extrapolate the findings of this research to our own information societies in the corporate workplace. We face the same challenges with regards an aging workforce. We can also spend more time looking at generational differences, rather than only looking at cultural differences.

Who finds the same type of situation in your information libraries or archives?

Karen du Toit
Afrikaans Archivist
SABC Radio Archives

Thursday, November 18, 2010

SABC Radio Archives on Twitter – follow up on #followanarchive day

Follow an Archive
The SABC Radio Archives (@SABCRadioArc) took part in the initiative of #followanarchive day on Twitter last Friday, the 12th October 2010. This initiative with the hashtag #followanarchive was first spotted on Twitter as well.

I wrote a blog post about Follow an Archive Day before the day to encourage participation, and tweeted about it, as well as communicated it on our Facebook SABC Radio Archives pages.

It was a great day seeing the tweets coming in from all over the world, and all the Archives taking part.
We had an exceptional response. I have been checking back every day, and keep on following the archives through the #followanarchive initiative.

Since last Friday we got 30 followers, and we are now following 54 more Archives or related Tweeters.

It was not only very informative about the types of Archives that exists all over the world, but also to be able to link up with each other in this medium.

I have come to realize the rich source of information that is available on Twitter for us as Archivists. It is information that is immediate and interactive.

The best part of the day: It was great fun!

Thank you Follow an Archive project leaders: Charlotte, Bente, Poulus and Anneke! You have done a great job. I hope it will become a yearly initiative as well!

Please follow us if you have not done it yet: http://twitter.com/#!/sabcradioarc

Karen du Toit
Afrikaans Archivist
SABC Radio Archives

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Follow an Archive on #followanarchive day on Twitter

Tomorrow, the 12th of November, is the yearly International Follow an Archive Day on Twitter.
The SABC Radio Archives are also on Twitter: http://twitter.com/sabcradioarc.
Please follow us and our fellow archives/archivists.

The SABC Radio Archives have a passion for preserving SA's Radio Broadcast History. We are making a difference by preserving our rich cultural audio heritage.

Archives and archivists are on Twitter. They have discovered the rich source of information that is Twitter. They are meeting their fellow archivists from all over the world on Twitter. Social media has introduced us to a whole new meaning of sharing and exchanging ideas!

The Follow an Archive project was the Twitter initiative by Charlotte Jensen of the National Museum in Copenhagen, Bente Jensen of the City Archive of Aalborg (both in Denmark) and Poulus Bliek & Anneke van Waarden-Koets of the Zealand Archive in Middelburg (the Netherlands).

I copy and and past from Follow an Archive:
Many people follow an archive on twitter.
Archives are important.
They preserve the history of mankind.
Your history!
If more people follow an archive
more people will get involved
in their own history,
in the history of their ancestors,
in the history of their town, their country,
in the history of the world and mankind!
Take part in your own history
and follow an archive!
Tell a friend about your favourite archive.
Tell a friend about the discovery you made in an archive.
Tell a friend how archives inspire you.
Spread the word about archives on 2010 November 12 and use the hashtag #followanarchive !
Click to Follow:
Follow an Archive on Twitter
SABC Radio Archives on Twitter
Please follow both!

Karen du Toit
Afrikaans Archivist: SABC Radio Archives

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

SABC in Bloemfontein also celebrated UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

Miete Motlhabane, a SABC Archivist in the regional Bloemfontein office, gives an update of how they celebrated UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage on the 27th October 2010.

She started with an interview on Lesedi FM, a local SABC radio station at 9:15am. She invited the public for the exhibition during the interview. Hans Masoeu and she explained the transition of broadcasting equipment and the different mediums or formats of preservation in sound archives. They explained the importance of preserving our heritage. They got feedback from the public who were amazed at the changes in technology and how easy things have become. They demonstrated how reel-to-reel tapes were edited and how they are editing now. Members of the public wanted to know about a career in archives.

They played reel-to-reel tapes and mini disc players of old programmes from 1960s. They had an old tape specifically of Nelson Mandela giving a speech. The public showed a keen interest about the programmes they are keeping.

The SABC Media Libraries value our cultural heritage! Well done, Bloemfontein!

Monday, November 1, 2010

SABC Media Libraries celebrated UNESCO Audiovisual Heritage Day in the Eastern Cape Region as well

27-10-2010 SABC Media Libraries celebrated UNESCO World Audiovisual Heritage Day in Port Elizabeth as well.

Fikile Potelwa was  afforded  the  opportunity  by  Umhlobo Wenene FM  to  talk on  the  radio  and  explain  the  importance of  the  occasion. He declared it as a great experience.

Old  radio  broadcast   equipment,  records  and  tapes  were  on  display  at  a  designated  venue. Posters depicting the day were visible placed within the building.

They  invited  Librarians  from  the  Bayworld  museum  in  Port  Elizabeth  to  witness  the  day  at  their premises. Fikile Potelwa sketched a brief  summary about the  importance  of  the  Audiovisual  Heritance  Day  to  the  SABC  staff  and  the  invited  guests.

Historical film was shown to the audience.  Popcorn and coke were served during the occasion. It was a huge success! He thanks the interim organising committee for the day.

Photo: Fikile Potelwa / Thoko Thaiteng

How did you celebrate UNESCO World Audiovisual Heritage Day?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

SABC celebrating UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage in the regions as well

Meshack Chili
PRETORIA REGION, 27 October 2010
Meshack Chili, the RBF Music Librarian in SABC Tshwane Region, Hatfield, prepared a small exhibition of UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage.
Posters of AVH are being put in the Reception area. The exhibition consists of television coverage pictures of September 11, 2001 attack of US World Trade Centre, the Tsunami Indian Ocean earthquake of 26 December 2004 in Indonesia, the first moonwalk that took place on the 20th of July 1969 by a commander Neil Alden Armstrong and the two pilots Michael Collins and Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr. using a rocket call Apollo 11.
The exhibition also consists of old SABC audio recording tapes, beta cam tapes, VHS, Cassettes, lps and seven singles.

He explained the meaning of World Day for audiovisual Heritage and why it is important to us.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bob Courtney passes away

Bob Courtney, best known as the quiz-master of Springbok Radio for programs like “Pick-a-box”, regrettably passed away on 23 October 2010. He also composed the signature tune for “Hospitaaltyd”. He has been interviewed by the SABC Radio Archives in 2001, as well as by Frans Erasmus, chairman of the Springbok Radio Preservation Society. His memories will be kept intact by us. Rest in peace, Uncle Bob, and thank you for helping to keep the airwaves alive and well.

Unesco World Day for Audiovisual Heritage 27-28 OCTOBER 2010

THEME: Save Our Audiovisual Heritage – NOW!
EXHIBITION: Southern African Traditional Music
DATE: 27-28 OCTOBER 2010
UNESCO declared October 27 as the World Day for AV Heritage to raise awareness of the significance of AV documents and to draw attention to the need to safeguard them.
The SABC Media Libraries and the SABC TV News Archives have joined forces to exhibit their audio and visual collections of traditional music and culture.  In addition, the Drum Café, the African Heritage Trust, as well as SABA (Southern African Broadcasting Association) will join the SABC in its awareness campaign this year to showcase a fascinating collection of musical instruments and old recording formats will be on display to view.

Special highlights:
·         A short video about the 1976 riots from the TV News Archives
·         27 October:- the exhibition will feature legendary South African musician Lemme “Special” Mabusa. Lemmy started playing pennywhistle on the streets at age 10. He was discovered by talent scouts and in 1961 he performed in South Africa’s first international hit musical “King Kong” at London’s West End Princes Theatre for an entire year.
·         28 October:- The Drum Cafe will give a lunch hour performance in the SABC Ground Floor Auditorium.  “Voices Only” will feature Basabi Le Meropa, a group of young South African women, who tell the stories of their lives through marimba, song, drums, dance and the spoken word. Basadi Le Meropa have toured Netherlands for the Festival Mundial as well as Belgium.  Basadi Le Meropa ladies recently performed on stage with Shakira and K’naan at the FIFA World Cup Kick Off Concert

Friday, October 1, 2010

The collaboration side of Knowledge Management - seminar by Sharon van Biljon

We had the privilege to attend a seminar hosted by the Department of Information and Knowledge Management at the University of Johannesburg. Sharon van Biljon, Knowledge Manager of Global Business Services at IBM South Africa presented “The collaboration side of Knowledge Management”
 We found the seminar very thought-provoking, especially the fact that collaboration is seen as part of the employees’ role within the organisation. IBM has an Intranet that encourages collaboration with vast sets of tools, such as blogging, and IM (Instant Messaging). The use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook were not really discussed, and there seems to be an area where they can still improve their collaboration.
No business can survive without collaboration. No matter how you look at it, socializing has become a means by which corporations conduct their business. The more employees collaborate, the more connections are made which leads to an increased number of insights or knowledge - exactly what companies are looking for. The sheer value of connecting to knowledge sources is coming into its own after a shaky start in the early nineties. The overly formal business style of the time stifled a natural inclination among employees to find like-minded people, whether peers or mentors.   The days of doing only what you are given to do, is long past. Today, you need to fulfil given tasks, but in such a way that it will render you unique when it comes to quality and adding value to your company or organisation. Who other than your friends to help you socially and in business terms, who other than your peers, mentors and colleagues to render the same type of assistance when you need it?  Businesses are enabling business socialization as never before and reap the benefits in a number of ways, among them, financial, of course. Employees stand to gain from this, but moreover, they derive a deep satisfaction in branding themselves as experts within a collaborative network of like-minded experts. It remains a win-win all round. And who would have thought that collaboration could be fun, as well?
The following pointers were also very valid. Change is essential for progress. Only businesses that respond and change themselves through reinvention have survived. The need is there to effectively respond to social changes.

Collaboration is crafted with a governance framework, where there is
  • No need to ask approval
  • Self-regulatory
  • Openness is crucial.
It extrapolates back to the SABC Media Libraries which has embarked on a Web 2.0 campaign to effectively collaborate with our colleagues as well as our audience and users of our services. We started on the project last year when no clear mandate was available of how to proceed. A year later and the directive were only now released to become more socially visible on Facebook and Twitter. We have been moving in the right direction, it seems.

The challenge now is to get everybody involved and excited as well. How do you get you personnel involved?

Friday, September 17, 2010

The 78 record

In 1900, 78 records arrived on the scene.  These 10 inch records were easier to store and had very large grooves (much larger than both 45s and LPs). This 10 inch record only holds about 4 minutes of music per side.
Though these records were a vast improvement to the cylinders, they were still heavy, fragile, and just couldn't hold enough material, they disappeared in 1960.  Most 78s play back at about 78.26 RPM.
Emil Berliner (inventor of the gramophone) did a thorough study of these records and determined that the most pleasing speed for playback was roughly 78 Revolutions Per Minute.   Because his British Gramophone company had established the record format, others followed suit and 78 RPM was established.
Playing 78rpm Records
Simply playing a 78rpm record is not so simple these days.  Your modern turntable likely doesn't even have a 78rpm setting on it.  You likely don't have the correct stylus for these records AND if you play them thru your modern stereo system, they will not sound right.
 this is the needle used to play the records.  Your preset cartridge and stylus is almost certainly about .7 Mills in size - which is perfect for 33 1/3 LPs.  78s were recorded with groove widths about 2.5 Mills in size - they are over 3 times wider!  You can play an occasional 78 with your regular LP stylus, but it won't sound as good.
Acetate recordings are often covered with a white coating that appears as a powdery substance on their surface.  This material (hexadecane acid) is not soluble in H2O.  It is suggested that records with this problem be cleaned using distilled H2O for the best transfer.  Do not attempt to use solvents to remove the acid.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Opening up Web 2.0 for the SABC Media Libraries

The SABC Media Libraries have started a series of workshops to open up the Web 2.0. Social media is having an impact on every aspect of life, as well as in business, and we need to be aware and start incorporating it in our daily business at the public broadcaster. Richard Waghorn (SABC Chief Technology Officer) made the following statement in a newsletter the previous week:
…the growth in social media is impacting on the way we work and what we do as broadcasters and is challenging us to remain competitive. We need to think differently about how we engage with our different audience groups given the changing ways in which they engage with all different types of media.

Social media is such a vast and very quick expanding field, but for most of us it is overwhelming and we don’t know where to start. We also worry about privacy issues. To get a buy-in from all the different stake-holders and employees we need to take it into account when starting out with such a project.

In the first workshop we try to explain the difference in some of the social media tools, such as a blog, Twitter and Facebook. At the moment we focus on Facebook as a social media tool, and ask people to start using their respective business pages as a way of engaging with our outside audience. The respective business pages are SABC Radio Archives, SABC Music Library, SABC Information Library, SABC Audio Restoration and SABC Record Library. The workshop participants learn to set up their privacy settings in order to make them feel more comfortable in taking up a social media tool.

The workshops will continue in future to ensure the SABC Media Libraries build on their online presence and engage with our audience in a new way.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The SABC Media Libraries and Web 2.1

The SABC Media Libraries and it's presence on Web 2.1:

As an information hub for broadcasting, our collections are broadcast specific. Accessibility to them is determined more by complex copyright matters coupled with the limitations of the various formats on which our audio and print material is preserved, rather than by our preference. To migrate our collections to platforms that will be accessible via the Internet will be expensive, but we hope to achieve this with at least some of our collections in due course.

In the meantime, we will continue with the information sharing platform in which you are able to participate, and so generate stimulating debate on the various issues impacting on the work we do. We encourage you to take part and enrich the work we do.

Ilse Assmann
Manager: SABC Media Libraries

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Anglo-Boer War is archived

Although the recording equipment of the SABC was not there when it actually happened, the Anglo Boer War can still be experienced through the numerous recordings available in the SABC Radio Archives, both in English and Afrikaans.  Eyewitness accounts, discussions and more will give those interested an interesting behind the scenes picture of the Anglo Boer War.  A concise catalogue of material available about the war has just been compiled and can be seen at https://sites.google.com/site/sabcmedialib/radio-archives/collections/english/english-catalogs.

-Retha Buys, SABC Radio Archives

Friday, August 13, 2010

Gordon Beasley and His Orchestra & “Manuel’s Travelogue was re-mastered and prepared by Audio Restoration.

Gordon Beasley was born in Winchester, England,  where he also received his early musical training. After war service with the R.A.F. he became a professional musician, and in 1947 emigrated to South Africa. Here he was soon in demand as an accompanist and solo pianist, and in 1960 took up an appointment as the SABC’S first music producer.

After a highly successful career at the SABC, he retired in 1981 to devote himself to arranging and conducting. In this field his vast experience as a producer gave him a grasp of orchestration and sensitivity to the needs of the soloist, that resulted in the sort of magic you will hear on his record.

Manuel Escorcio was born in Maputo, Mozambique in 1949. Possessor of a wicked sense of humor as well as degrees in both theology and music, he has achieved tremendous success in both light and serious music, including being co-winner of the Samro Music prize. He has also won a Sarie Award. Manuel’s innate musicality and glorious voice are here combined with his ability to get to the heart of any genre of music. From a Lully Aria to Welsh Folk song to Neapolitan song. Listen to this LP and you will hear what makes Manuels one of South Africa’s favourite singers.

Davis of the White Rock:  a beautiful pastoral woodwind introduction ushers in this gentle, poetic Welsh folk song.

An Eriskay Love Lilt: echoes of the Hebrides: The opening gaelic lines with harp alone, then a tender accompaniment to one of the loveliest of Kennedy-Fraser’s collection.

Ciribiribin romantic Italy: Florid Orchestration and just the right amount of passion from Manuel.

The Donkey Serenade: witty orchestration and a lesson in the art of singing with one’s tongue firmly in one’s cheek!

Fenesta Che Lucive: sad Neapolitan dialect song: The lighted window tells the singer of the death of his lover.

Wiegenlied: dreamy, tender treatment of this well-known lullaby.

This recording was done by Clive Gaunt, at P1 Cape Town, December 1985 with Dave Williams as the producer.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Archiving 2010

As the SABC Radio Archives Sport Archivist in Johannesburg I have the responsibility to look after all English and Afrikaans radio sport programming after the fact.

With the 2010 FIFA World Cup happening and Radio 2000SAFM and RSG broadcasting all the matches live, as it happened, it brought a few challenges.

1. Recordings of all the matches had to be made;
2. it had to be available almost immediately after each match and so,
3. real time recordings were not an option.

For the recordings we used a program called Netlog, which log the entire broadcast of a Radio Service for 24 hours. To isolate each soccer match we used a scheduling function. So, immediately after a match the audio, according to a predetermined schedule, was downloaded onto a hard drive. All journalists and producers who needed it, was given 'read only' access to these audio files through mapping to their PC's to a 'shared folder' on the SABC U drive. Strict access control applied.

This meant that any sport journalist, commentator or producer could have access to the entire match within minutes of the final whistle.

All audio files were saved with clear and accessible file names to avoid any confusion.

Most of the matches ended 'after' normal working hours and having an archivist on duty 24-7 was not an option. Using the above approach all commentary was available on-line almost without any human intervention at the time of the match.

Up to this time a match was just available on a file name. Proper metadata still needed to be added to ensure maximum accessibility.

This happened first thing every morning. Each match was catalogued in full onto NDM 'Natural Document Management,' the Radio Archives Database.

A duplicate double CD (1st and 2nd half) copy of each match was also burned, both in English and Afrikaans.

Using this method all matches, in two languages, was available on the Radio Archives database, on CD and on a shared drive shortly after the end of each broadcast.

This assisted largely with the editing of highlights and the production of special programming during and shortly after the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

No backlog from the World Cup exists and the focus immediately could be shifted onto the other national and international sports in and around South Africa and its sports teams and individuals e.g. the Springbok rugby team playing in the 2010 Vodacom Tri-Nations and Louis Oosthuizen winning the 2010 British Open Golf Tournament at St. Andrews.

A few interesting figures:

In total 113 broadcasts was catalogued with an average of 1:45:00 per match.

- Johann Greyling, Archivist: Sport, SABC Radio Archives

Audio Restoration prepared a recording of Nikola Petrovic, “My heart is a Violin”

Nikola Petrovic was born in 1918 in Osijek, Yugoslavia. He gave his first public concert at the age of seven. After studying on a state bursary, he pursued a career which has included posts as leader of the Belgrade Opera Orchestra, The Ljubljana Symphony Orchestra, The Suisse Romande and The National Symphony Orchestra of the SABC. A superb soloist, he has pursued a parallel career in light music, performing in the music halls of Copenhagen as a Star soloist, and as a featured artists in the famous “Champs-Elysees” spectacular. Here a selection of his favourite “Lollipops” is accompanied (variously) by Francois du Toit and Melanie Horne (Piano).

"My heart is a violin" was appropriately placed as the first item in this selection of favourite violin music. In such hands the violin is assuredly close to the heart. Delicate and wistful, a slight tendency to treat the theme rhythmically, followed closely by dialogue between violin and piano brings the main tune back to a satisfying close.

"Danube Waves", known to countless budding pianists of yesteryear under its German title “Donauwellen”, by Ivanovici came to light in the early fifties as a vocal number “The Anniversary Song”. It’s a poignant tune contrasting with a more animated section before returning to a close.

In "Sleepy Shores" the melodic lines in the violin part are carried over a firm backing by the accompanying piano part.

In "Dark Eyes", the G string,  from the lower range of the violin, is made to sing out this somber tune full of pathos and yearning. A short pizzicato section presents itself before violin and piano plunge into a lively two four section of the real gipsy stuff.

"Memory" (from CATS) has a lovely, warm melody. Nikola handles it with exquisite good taste. The well-controlled emotional style does ample justice to the excellent tune.

"Nocturne (op. 9 No. 2)" from the standard repertoire of any pianist worthy of the name, this transcription for violin and piano loses nothing and presents the piece in an entirely new guise. The violin cadenza which brings the piece to a close is of special interest.

In "Sole Mio", often heard in its vocal version, the violin opens in true Grapelli style.  Completely divorced from the regular beat,  Nikola drifts casually into tango rhythm.  For the reprise the piano takes the lead, with violin responding in lightly articulated fashion.

"Schön Rosmarin" is possibly the most loved of Fritz Kreisler’s pieces for the medium, his “Liebesfreud” and “Liebesleid” notwithstanding. It sparkles like champagne and Nikola gives it a well controlled, conventional rendering.

The above recording was done by Clive Gaunt and Des Scheepers, and it was Recorded at P1,  Cape Town in 1987. The Producer was Dave Williams.

- Maryna Barnard, SABC Audio Restoration

Friday, July 16, 2010

Workshop: “Music in Digital Libraries and Archives”: Stuttgart Media University, 3-8 May 2010

My visit to Germany to attend the workshop “Music in Digital Libraries and Archives” was made possible by Bibliothek & Information International (BII) which is the standing committee of Bibliothek & Information Deutschland. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to them as well as the following people who organised the workshop and attended to our every need while in Stuttgart: Professor Ingeborg Simon, course manager of the M.A. Course Library and Information Management and Ms Katrin Sauermann, Coordinator of International Affairs, Department of Library and Information Management, both from the Stuttgart Hochschule der Medien. I am also grateful to my employer, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, and my manager, Ms Ilse Assmann for giving me the chance to attend this workshop.

My expectations for this course were mainly to gather information about the latest programs and working methods in safeguarding and digitally preserving sheet music for the future. The SABC Music Library where I work is a fairly small library which was started as supporting library for the National Symphony Orchestra of South Africa. We house approximately 24 000 different music scores which include orchestral scores and vocal scores as well as choral music and chamber music. At present we have no permanent orchestra at the SABC and the scores and orchestral instruments are hired out to professional orchestras and musicians.

Some of these unique and valuable scores are becoming very old and worn and the ideal would be to digitally scan and preserve them for the future. A digitisation development program is in progress at the SABC and I felt sure that I would obtain some valuable information regarding the subject at this course.

On the first day of the workshop I met some of the university personnel, the two teachers, Jürgen Diet from the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek and Silke Sewing from the Deutsches Musikarchiv of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek and my fellow students. We were 9 course attendants from 9 different countries – Canada, Dominican Republic, Poland, Estonia, Croatia, Finland, Germany, Kenya and South Africa. Because the workshop was presented in English, language didn’t present a problem and we got along easily from the start. With all of us coming from music, library or information science backgrounds, it was soon apparent that we had similar interests, problems and questions regarding the digitising of print and sound collections.

Within the first couple of days’ classes I came to realize that, even in today’s technological environment, the safest way to preserve information is probably to have a properly published and preserved hard copy or book which is stored in ideal conditions. Similarly, vinyl or shellac discs or records in a pristine state and kept under ideal conditions still seem to be the best way to preserve sound recordings. The current problem is similar in all mediums - software incompatibility and the speed with which computer and other technology is developing are becoming their own enemy, as equipment and media become obsolete or unusable. Jürgen Diet quoted the following tongue-in-the-cheek saying from the digital library environment: “Digital documents last for five years or forever, whichever comes first.”

Herr Diet presented the first few days’ classes. Because he comes from a computer science background and is a musician himself, he was well qualified to introduce us to MusicXML, Parsons code, SharpEye software (making use of OMR – Optical Mark Recognition) and composition and notation programs such as Finale and Sibelius. He dealt with digital music formats including uncompressed audio formats such as AIFF, WAV and BWF, and compressed audio formats such as mp3, AAC and WMA as well as image formats for sheet music and music manuscripts. Entity-relationship modelling, FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) and digital projects such as Probado and Variations2 and Variations3 were discussed in detail.

We were given practical exercises for every chapter of work finished, which meant that we could immediately obtain experience in working with some of the concepts and programs introduced. He also presented lectures on the Bavarian State Library, the audio material in Europeana, ViFaMusik and mentioned the plans to integrate RISM (Repertoire International des Sources Musicales) and Probado with ViFaMusik, and the Nestor competence (Network of Expertise in long-term STOrage of digital Resources).

After Wednesday morning’s classes, we strolled through the Schlossgarten and down the ‘Culture Mile’ of Stuttgart, past the Opera House to the impressive and modern State University of Music and Performing Arts where we enjoyed a hearty lunch before tackling the Stadtbücherei Stuttgart.

Shelves in the Stuttgart City Library

What I found interesting at the City Library is the fact that music scores, books and cd’s are not separated, but actually kept right next to each other, as can be seen from the photograph above. This makes it easier to find for example a music score together with sound recordings of the same work, as well as books about the same work or composer. Their on-line catalogue is supported by Bond Library systems and software. Members can take out up to fifty items at a time for a very reasonable annual membership fee. Their collection is at present already too big for the current accommodation but a new library is being built (close to the Stuttgart Media University) and should be completed by 2011. The library personnel members are excited and very involved in planning the layout of the new library.

Next on our list was the Württembergische Landesbibliothek or State Library Stuttgart, also on Konrad Adenauerstrasse. This is a legal deposit library which means that by law, the library must receive two copies of every work that is published or released in Baden-Württemburg. Legal deposit libraries therefore receive a large amount of material every week which needs to be classified and catalogued.

In this library we were not only impressed by the sheer size of the collection, but also fascinated by the impressive apparatus used to make digital copies of the books. The first consists of a machine designed by Hensel StudioTechnik which allows the pages to be perfectly photographed by a normal camera while the book is not completely opened. This prevents damage to the spine of the book, which would be a risk when using a normal flatbed scanner. Physical handling is kept to a minimum. The photographs are then edited and stored on computer. The program used for this storage is called Goobi digital library modules. Goobi stands for Göttingen online-objects binaries.

The pages are photographed …

and saved to computer.

Another fascinating machine is the line scanner below, called a “Grazer Kameratisch", which automatically turns the pages of the book once they have been scanned, thus also minimising physical handling and the risk of damage to old and delicate books.

Scanner at the State Library

We also visited the music library section in the State Library, where the personnel went out of their way to show us some valuable original scores from their collection, ranging from works by Carl Phillip Emmanuel Bach to an opera score by Paul Hindemith.
Conductor’s score of a Paul Hindemith opera with remarks handwritten by the composer

Silke Sewing started with her presentations on Thursday. She dealt with the difficulties in digitising and preserving sound, discussing Edison cylinders, Berliner discs, shellac and vinyl discs and the problematic cd-family (including DVD-Audio and Blu-ray discs). A part of the work program consisted of studying and discussing the IASA guidelines. Other subjects presented by Ms Sewing included long-term preservation, metadata and persistent identifiers, PREMIS and Dublin Core, the Theseus-Projects Contentus and Alexandria as well as a license model from Denmark. Also the XML Schema METS (Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard)

An interesting aspect for me was the project being developed in Switzerland called VisualAudio whereby audio discs can be photographed by a special camera. The films/photos can then be stored as digitised images which could be transformed back into sound.

Shellac discs can also be played with a laser beam, but the playback equipment is very expensive and the sound is very bad, as the laser picks up dust and every little imperfection.

Ms Sewing also gave two of our colleagues a chance to tell us something about their work and projects – Tiina Tollonen from the Oulu University of Applied Sciences in Finland talked about the university’s digital score library “Notelibrary” and “eConcerthouse”, and Polina Proutskova who is completing her doctorate in ethnomusicology in England spoke about her field research into rural Russian folk-music.

On Thursday evening I was privileged to attend an amazing Meisterkonzert in the Beethoven-Saal of the Liederhalle, Stuttgart. The Dresden Staatskapelle conducted by the Estonian maestro Neeme Järvi performed a stunning Richard Strauss programme, opening with “Walzerfolge Nr 1” from “Der Rosenkavalier”, followed by five songs – Rosenband op.36 nr 1, Ständchen op.17 nr. 2, Waldseligkeit op.49 nr.1, Morgen op.27 nr.4 and Allerseelen op.10 nr.8, all beautifully sung by soprano Christiane Oelze. After the interval the orchestra performed “Also sprach Zarathustra” Op. 30 and both at the end of Ms Oelze’s lieder and the end of the concert the audience were on their feet demanding encores. It was definitely one of the highlights of my week in Germany!

The workshop was not all work and no play, however. Amongst other memorable occasions we went out to a Schwäbische restaurant in Stuttgart to have typical Maultaschen, Rostbraten and Käsespätzle. We also met at a lovely small Greek restaurant to enjoy some superb Greek food and good company. This gave us time to get to know each other, to share some experiences and for some lively discussions!

The best outing was on the Friday night –we were invited by Professor Simon to a cheese and wine farewell party at her house, and we went up the mountain by zahnrad (an electric rack railway). This railway, which is affectionately called Zacke by Stuttgart residents, runs from the Marienplatz in town up to Degerloch, along the Alte Weinsteige. It climbs a height of 205 m and afforded us a lovely view of Stuttgart by night.

There was also just enough time to visit the Frühlingsfest at Cannstadt and for a quick walk and lunch in Leinfelden-Echterdingen. My visit to Germany was complete with a visit to the nearby university town of Tübingen with its little shops and the lovely Neckar river.

When I arrived at Stuttgart airport to return to South Africa, my flight to Paris had been cancelled because of the Eyjafjallajokul volcano in Iceland! I therefore had an extra night in Stuttgart and was fortunate to fly back to South Africa via Schiphol and landed in Johannesburg only 12 hours later than originally planned. I was totally overwhelmed by all I experienced but very grateful for the chance to have been in Stuttgart
to attend this workshop.
Neckar river in Tübingen
Please find some useful links below:

Stuttgart Media University http://www.hdm-stuttgart.de/bi/startseite

Probado http://www.probado.de/en/home.do.htm

ViFaMusik http://www.vifamusik.de/

Nestor http://www.langzeitarchivierung.de/eng/

Europeana http://www.europeana.eu/portal/

Theseus http://www.theseus-programm.de/en-us/about-thesues/default.aspx

Münchener Digitalisierungszentrum http://www.digital-collections.de/index.html

VisualAudio http://visualaudio.project.eia-fr.ch/publications/IASAjourn.pdf

IASA http://www.iasa-web.org/tc04/audio-preservation

Goobi http://www.goobi.org/

Report by Suzette Lombard, Principal Music Librarian, SABC Music Library

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Live concerts is the way to live!

For those of you who have never attended live concerts, let me share some of the joys of attending a live performance. Firstly, there is the wonderful experience of getting close and personal with your favourite musicians; then there is of course the pleasure of getting goose pimples when that sound of the violin, horn or guitar pierces through your skin, or when your most admirable soprano hits that very high note and you can feel it cruising through your veins.

Well, for me, I recently had an addition to my list of thrills for attending a live performance. I recently took three friends to the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance, two of whom were seeing a symphony concert for the very time. When they told me it was their first time, I remembered my first symphony concert attendance - I fell asleep about ten minutes into the programme. When I went back the second time, I managed to stay up a little bit longer, and now I’ll do anything to get a ticket! What I found amusing was the fact that people held their coughs and sniffs until the end of a movement. It turns out my friends also found this very peculiar, but now being the more informed one, I explained to them why.

Considering my first experience, I had warned my friends that sometimes the slow movements can hush one to sleep. I told them how they must dress and that they should not clap until the end, etcetera. I have to confess, I was expecting them to dose off at some point, considering the fact that we share the same background, i.e. of complete non exposure to such music. I was so curious about how they felt that I asked them if I could interview them for an article to which they agreed.

To my astonishment, both first comers, Jimmy and Nokwanda said they enjoyed the concert so much they would come back again. Jimmy, who was sitting next to me, could not stop starring at the pianist, Katya Apekisheva, who played Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, Opus 37 in C minor. He was simply taken aback by her performance. Nokwanda related that she loved the performance because it was not something she was used to. For her, it was the beauty of experiencing something different. Wilson, who said it was his third symphony concert attendance, said it was the sound of the instruments that took his breath away.

When asked what it was that they didn’t like about the concert, the first thing that came up was the fact that there were very few black people, both on and off the stage, an observation which I have also made throughout the years. To this my response was that it is not because black people don’t like the music, it is because for a long time it was reserved for a few and therefore most were never exposed to it. It is only now that more young black people are starting to get involved with serious music as the subject of music is introduced into more black schools and communities.

In conclusion, just as it will take a long time for South Africa to undo the damage caused by apartheid, it will also take a long time for black people to get more involved in serious or classical music, but the journey has already begun.

By Iggy Madalane
SABC Music Library

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Media Libraries CSI project

The SABC Media Libraries have embarked on a Corporate Social Investment Project since 2007. The Manger Care Centre in Benoni, specifically with Blessings and Las Vegas Creche, are the main receivers of the investment. Blessings houses unemployed men. The Las Vegas Creche is situated in Etwatwa and is run by a lady called Elizabeth who looks after 50 – 60 children aged 1 – 6.

The following has already been donated:
  • Stainless steel sinks, a medical aid kit and blankets were donated;
  • Fruit trees were planted;
  • Stationary and a cot were donated;
  • Christmas Parties were held for the kids;
  • Seed and seedlings were donated, as well as bedding and curtains;
  • Most recently a 200 set linen donation were received from the FIFA Organizing Committee of UJ.

The Media Library is very proud of this project, since most donations and funding come from the staff of the Media Library. Fund raising activities such as the selling of hot dogs are done twice a year. External donations came from The University of Johannesburg, Clover Danone, Starke Ayres.

On Mandela Day on 16th July the Media Libraries will visit Blessings to deliver clothing, books and other stuff. See the SABC Media Libraries website for more info and photos.

Monica van Deventer and the CSI Committee 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Goodbye Giuseppe "Spaghetti" Valetti

A lot has been written since Wednesday night about one of the kings of Springbok Radio, Gordon Mulholland.  He could also be heard in "General Motors on Safari", "33 Half Moon Street" and a couple of dramas.  So, without saying what has been said before, here is a list of programs in the SABC Radio Archives in which his memory will live on in sound!  Rest in peace, Guiseppe!

CATNO T 87/751
RECORDBC 19860120

CATNO T 92/565
RECORDBC 19911217

RECORDBC 1967-1968
Gordon was one of the actors
6 programs available

CATNO T 85/1232
RECORDBC 19851228

CATNO TM 2194(85)
RECORDBC 19851121

Dramas in which he played:
• The Cassius Touch – 1971
• Trelawny of the Wells - 19650/09/29
• The day of Good Hope – 1958/05/28
• Dear Brutus – 1963/10/03
• Hamlet – 1969/06/28
• A Sea Change – 1990/09/19
• The Fortress – 1967/03/18
• The Flower Seller – Unknown date
• The years of the locust – 1966/09/29
• While Rome burned – 1966/11/02
• The Bachelor – 1965/04/14
• A Question of loving – 1965/04/08

-Retha Buys, Custodian: Springbok Radio, SABC Radio Archives

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Library and Information career and Social Media

Through RSS feeds I get a regular update of what is happening in the Library and Information world. The Library and Information Specialist (LIS) is in a field of expertise where the fast pace of information and change effect their role and duties constantly. LIS professionals are lucky that they are in constant barrage of new information, and actually thrive on the new technologies and new information. But it is also a fact that LIS career options are diminishing worldwide because of budget constraints, and dare I say: that same “new technologies”.

It is up to the LIS profession to constantly look at ways of reinventing themselves and their professional careers. One of the new ways of doing that is through social media technologies and building up a social media presence. It is difficult for old school LIS professionals who are by nature introverted (a generalization, I know) to “convert” to the idea of selling themselves and their expertise and their “business” through an active online presence. We need to change our thinking and our way of working to incorporate social media into our daily work/networking activities.

A subgroup of the American Library Association on LinkedIn has been formed, called LIS Career Options which discuss topics such as:
The discussions demonstrate the need to build up a social media presence, albeit personally, but the presence of the person linked to a service/company is always inclusive. We work within a certain framework of business.

As archivists, information specialists and record librarians we are still in infancy in our company with regards to social media presence. We are beginning to notice the importance of being actively engaged online. Our recent endeavours on social media have opened up our eyes to the possibilities. We are getting more feedback, more requests and more awareness of our services.

Check us out:
SABC Media Libraries Blog
SABC Media Libraries site
SABC Media Libraries
SABC Radio Archives
SABC Music Library
SABC Record Lib
SABC Information Library
SABC Audio Restoration

We also started with Facebook presences, but that's for another post.

Karen du Toit
Senior Afrikaans Archivist
SABC Radio Archives

Friday, June 18, 2010

Francois en Lucille se gesamentlike sangloopbaan strek sedert 1968.

As sangpaar en as soliste verskyn in die tydperk 9 langspeelplate: hulle tree byne 3000 keer op die verhoog op en onderneem ook twee Europese konsertreise. Plaaslik het hulle in drie televisiereekse opgetree en in 1991 verskyn hulle eerste opname van geestelike liedere.

Hiervan sê Francois en Lucille:

“Dit is voorwaar ‘n voorreg om na soveel jare ons talente op die wyse te kan gebruik uit erkentlikheid teenoor ons Skepper vir geleenthede deur die jare en vir ‘strome van seën’ in ons private sowel as ons professionele lewens. Ons dank ook aan die duisende luisteraars wat deur die jare aan ons bly glo het en in besonder aan Johan Coetzer wat hierdie plaat geinisieer het”.

Regisseur/Programmering/Akoestiese klavier: Harold Schenk
Opname-ingenieur: Cesar D’Almeida
Musikante: Tromme en perkussie: Stef Kruger (kitaar); Blackie Swart (trompet)
Ondersteunende stemme : Coleske-broers.
Opname datum: Junie 1991

Maryna Barnard, SABC Audio Restoration

The African Music and Dance Expo

The SABC Media Libraries are part of The African Music and Dance Expo at Daphne Kuhn’s Old Mutual Theatre on the Square (Sandton).

Press Release:

Mzansi Traditional Orchestra, The African Cultural Heritage Trust, The Zindala Zombili Festival, Moving Into Dance Mophatong, SABC, CIOFF SA, and IOV (UNESCO)


15 JUNE- 11 JULY 2010

Celebrating our story through the history of indigenous music and dance

In a unique effort to promote South African indigenous music and dance, Johannesburg’s forefront cultural organizations join forces to bring you The African Music and Dance Expo at Daphne Kuhn’s Old Mutual Theatre on the Square.

For the first time ever in South Africa, Mzansi Traditional Orchestra, The African Cultural Heritage Trust, Zindala Zombili African Music and Dance Festival, Moving Into Dance Mophatong, SABC, CIOFF SA, and IOV (UNESCO) are collaborating and establishing a central hub for arts and culture.

Starting from the 15th of June, and supporting Drum Cafes Drumstuck which runs at the theatre from June 8th, these groundbreaking and internationally renowned South African organisations will offer their resources to the public in an effort to create awareness and preserve our cultural heritage. The expo will offer South African’s and all foreign visitors the opportunity to:
  • See traditional South African instruments used within many African tribes
  • Listen to one of the greatest collections of South African music, sounds, and voices from the archives of SABC’s media libraries
  • View an exhibit and learn about the 11 African tribes of South Africa and their influences on our music, dance, and cultural identity
  • Attend talks about the development of traditional music and dance in South Africa
  • See excerpts from mainstream performances by Moving Into Dance, Zindala Zombili, Mzansi Traditional Orchestra, and Matsamo
  • Learn to play a Marimba
The project is being spearheaded by South Africa’s leading names in the field of arts and culture, namely: George Mxanda, Warren Lieberman, Cian Mc Clelland, John Sithole, Sylvia Glasser, and Jan Lombard

Each a pioneer in their own right and deeply dedicated in the promotion of authentic African music and dance throughout the world, these influential figures have marked our South African artistic identity with radical and contemporary styles. In their commitment to nurturing professional talent, empowering communities through their outreach programs, and providing educational centers for disadvantaged and unemployed youth, these leaders have established companies renowned for their originality and diversity.

Together, these Johannesburg based organisations have broken the cycle of poverty for hundreds of people in South Africa, created a range of possibilities for our future in arts and culture, and produced work of international acclaim.

Indeed, there has never before been such an occasion to witness the coming together of such expertise. Now, for the first time, these premier organizations bring you, The African Music and Dance Expo, a touching and informative experience which sets out to rediscover Africa’s unique musical and dance legacy in a celebration which is less about the past and more a vote of confidence in our future.

Lieberman says, “The aim is to set up a centre of information where people from all over the world can learn and ask questions about our music and cultural heritage. We want to show what these vital companies have done to preserve our South African roots and develop our cultural identity. In this way we hope to generate support for our arts industry and sustain its future”.

Don’t miss this extraordinary opportunity to explore the power, range, depth, and rhythms of our people’s ethnicity.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Audio Restoration mastered and prepared "East is number one" with Dennis East as lead vocal.

Dennis East was born in Durban. Dennis started playing in bands at school, eventually joining up with the band “The Statesman” and turned professional in 1969.

After five years of playing the club circuit he settled in Johannesburg as a solo artist with RPM Records and notched up three top ten hits. In 1977 he received a “Sari Award” as top male vocalist of the year. Dennis joined the David Gresham group in 1978 and with the band “Stingray” enjoyed local and international success.

In 1988 Dennis achieved second place in the Chilean Song Festival and was voted top male vocalist by Chilean National Radio.

The musicians on this recording was:
Drums: Kevin Kruger; Bass: Denis Lalouette; Guitars: Jethro Butow, Mike Pilot, Danny Bridgens
Keyboards: Johan Laas; Backing vocals: Avryl Stockley, Malie Kelly, Bobby Louw and Dennis East.

The Producer was Ekkie Eckhart. The Recording was done by Evert De Munnik, recording was done in M5 SABC, JOHANNESBURG, June 1990.

Maryna Barnard, SABC Audio Restoration

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

“Erogenous Botch Under Cover”

Sound Restoration prepared a George Thatcher recording titled “Erogenous Botch Under Cover.”

George Thatcher first came to South Africa in 1979 as principal bass trombonist in the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra.

In 1981 he went to South America to play in the Orchestra Municipal de Caracas and a year later returned to play bass trombone in the National Symphony Orchestra. George is an extremely creative and versatile musician and the compositions on this record deserve recognition.

Before coming to South Africa, he played trombone in the Al Hirt Orchestra, Disneyland Band and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.

While in South Africa, he played in many jazz groups and he was a very popular and much respected session musician.

The producers of this recording was Simon Lomberg, Ekkie Eckhart and Fanie van Staden. The record was recorded by Welti Welthagen, and the recording was done in M2, Broadcast Centre, Auckland Park in January 1987.

Maryna Barnard, SABC Audio Restoration Section

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Celebrating Chopin

When it comes to western classical music, the first names that anyone can easily shout out are Mozart and Beethoven. Only connoisseur listeners of the music would go further to mention someone like Frederic François Chopin, whom we are paying tribute to this year. Born on 1 March 1810 in the village of Zelazowa Wola, in the Duchy of Warsaw, Chopin was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist and is famously known for his piano works. Though born in Poland, Chopin immigrated to France due to the Polish November Uprising in 1830.

Extremely talented people usually have something odd we remember them by. Beethoven went deaf, Alexander the Great was apparently an alcoholic, and Schoenberg was terrified of the number 13. Chopin was the one of the frailest people I have ever heard of. Even as a youth Chopin suffered from ill health and showed early signs of tuberculosis – both his sister and father died of this illness. He eventually succumbed to this chronic lung disease on 17 October 1849.

Chopin also requested for his heart to be taken to his home town Warsaw when he died. His sister, Ludwika, fulfilled this very strange request. Some believe he did this due to the fear of being buried alive, so taking his heart out would ensure that this would not happen.

Despite his poor health (which some believe he inherited from his father) Chopin left a legacy that will last for as long our planet exists. A lot of his music has been used in movies, such as The Pianist (one of my favourite movies). Others include Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (if you haven’t seen this one, go hire it!!); Walk Hard: The story of Dewy Cox; The Prestige and The Contender, to mention just a few. So you may prick your ears when you hear his name, because you are wondering who this man is, but you will have heard some of his music somewhere.

My favourite Chopin piece is his Nocturne in E Minor, Opus 72 No. 1. The music is mellow, tranquil, and melancholic. It reminds me of Beethoven’s Moonlight sonata. It was also used in the movie The Pianist. He wrote this piece in 1827, at age 17. He never intended for it to be published, which is why it was only published in 1855, after his death.

The SABC Music library is proud to have most of the maestro’s compositions, including the Piano Concerto No. 1 in e minor, Opus 11 and Piano Concerto No. 2 in f minor, Opus 21. Virtually all his piano solo works are to be found in the catalogue including the famous Fantasie-Impromptu in C Sharp minor and his Ballades, Barcarolles, Berceuses, Impromptus, Mazurkas, Nocturnes, Polonaises, Preludes and Waltzes.

In addition to all these magnificent works, we recently discovered that we also have his 17 Polish songs, Opus 74, published posthumously. These have been translated to German and include titles like Mädchens Wünsch (The Wish), Frühling (Spring), Mir aus den Augen (Out of my sight), and Das Ringlein (The Ring).

Though Chopin was Polish (with a lot of French thrown in), music was his first language. As one author said, “the piano was his means of communication”. In a letter he wrote to his father, Chopin said “I could express my feelings more easily if they could be put into notes of music”. Therefore, next time you hear an inexplicably beautiful piece of piano music in an ad or movie, it might just happen to be Chopin’s. His “voice” will remain with us forever.