Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Weekly Archivist interview: Sport Archivist

The SABC Radio Archivists specializes in specific areas of expertise with regards the audio collections being kept in the Archives. This is part of a series of weekly interviews where I am posing the same questions to each of the Archivists. The SABC Radio Archives is part of the SABC Media Libraries in the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

The Archivist answering the questions this week is Johann Greyling. He is the Sport Archivist.
He has been with the Radio Archives for 15 years, and he is the Team Leader as well as the Database Manager for the Cataloguing team in the SABC Radio Archives.

1.       Johann, please tell us about where you grew up, where and what you studied and your work experience before you joined the SABC Radio Archives.  

I grew up in the Eastern Cape, in a small town, Alexandria. From the Eastern Cape I migrated to the Boland for my high school years at the Pioneer School in Worcester. From there I found my way to UJ, then known as RAU, where I completed my B.Comm. degree in Sports Management. I joined the Radio Archives straight from varsity on 01/12/1995. I at least moved office once since then...
2. Please tell us about a normal day in your studio. What material do you give priority to? 
Well, I come in, check my mail, then go for coffee, then check my mail again, then morning tea... LOL!
No, what I try to do is prioritize all sport commentary. All matches broadcasted by the SABC. The three main stream sports normally take centre stage. After that I comb through all the sport magazine programs scavenging for interesting and valuable audio. Radio Services I look after includes Radio 2000, RSG, SAFM and Metro FM.
I also keep an eye on the Radio Archives database, NDM (Natural Document Management) to ensure quality cataloguing and I look after the control fields, cataloguing standards etc.
3. Tell us more about your collection and the scope of material you need to preserve.

All our collections are basically divided into two groups, a backlog and a permanent collection. The backlog is usually sorted only by service, program and date. Not fully accessible.
After we've appraised and evaluated the content, processed and catalogued it, it moves to the permanent collection. Here it stays for ever and ever and ever...
Like I previously mentioned, commentary is prioritized. Where any of our national teams are involved we keep everything, With regards the local competitions we might decide to only keep semi-finals and/or finals as the situation demands. I also keep an eye open for any audio on our 'lesser/smaller' sports as well; it is so easy to forget the non-main stream sports.
4. Do you struggle with technical difficulties, and if so, what? 
Fortunately I enjoy the technical part of our work a lot. Being blind I do sometimes need the assistance of my fellow archivists and they are great! Never complaining... to me anyway... Thanks very much all of you!

5. If you have an anecdote about a specific piece of interesting audio material, please share it with us.  
This is difficult. I'd rather make mention of legendary commentators I have the privilege to listen to on a daily basis: rugby commentary by Gerhard Viviers (Spiekeries) and Heinrich Marnitz, cricket commentary by Gerald de Kock and Neil Manthorp and soccer commentary by Kevin Evans and Mogamad Allie.
6. Tell us why you enjoy doing the work that you do.
I never enjoyed history at school but now it is amazing being able to actively contribute to our audio history and heritage. I truly believe what we are doing is writing our history in audio.

Questions and posting by Karen du Toit, Afrikaans Archivist in the SABC Radio Archives

Related post: The Weekly Archivist Interview: Channel Africa collection

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