PROMOTING ACCESS TO AFRICAN RESEARCH

ESARBICA Journal: Journal of the Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives

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Establishing a lasting solution to collection development policy challenges for audiovisual archives to enhance access in Zimbabwe

Felizarda Mudzaki

Abstract


Providing the best blend of national audiovisual archiving resources representative of the national film and sound archival collection is a challenging professional obligation in drafting collection development policies for audiovisual archivists in developing countries. Being tasked to develop a collection policy means to describe the scope, nature of collection, delineate priorities, give guidelines which encourages consistency. This article is driven by practical experiences the author faced in developing the National Archives of Zimbabwe (NAZ), Audiovisual Unit Collection development policy. The author believes NAZ experience would benefit other East and Southern Africa Regional Branch of the International Council (ESARBICA) members if they follow the same steps in developing their audiovisual collections. Taking into account the scarce financial resources that most archival institutions in the ESARBICA operate under, there is a need for ways of reaching out to the nation and professional stakeholders to obtain views and ideas in policy formulation. This will enable archivists to make informed decisions and timely resource selection decisions based on carefully prepared up to date collection development policy. One would not want a situation whereby footage matures/appreciates to be archival yet was omitted in the policy and risk being blamed by future generations. The article sought to establish the dilemmas faced by film and sound archivists in developing collection policies. It provides insights on the dilemma faced in order to create a collection policy. The collection policy should be representative of the nation, without bias or prejudice, and present the peculiar circumstances and background of collection acquisition in audiovisual archives. This article pointed out problems relating to document and content selection, problems associated with microforms, media obsolescence, formats, make, use of terms, vendor controlled order plans and journal subscriptions.  The article concluded by highlighting possible steps and recommendations that can be used in developing comprehensive collection policies.




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