UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Accessibility of broadcast archives in Canada Norman, Jan M.


Canada's broadcasting industry has a rich history and yet by their own admission, Canadian archivists once overlooked the value of broadcast documentation. This thesis explores the many issues which govern the acquisition, appraisal and description of broadcast records and the relevance of these issues to access and use. Because archivists have frequently discussed access to textual material, this exposition focuses on the special media records produced by the broadcasting industry: film, videotape and sound recordings. This discussion reviews the problems associated with the development of an acquisition strategy for these records and outlines the development of appraisal criteria which recognize their intellectual, artistic and sociological content. The descriptive practices preferred by archivists working with broadcast material are evaluated to determine whether they actually respond to users needs. The physical characteristics which influence access and use are also reviewed. The proposed revisions to Canada's Copyright Act are examined and the implications for access and use are noted. Finally, throughout this exposition attention is given to the financial obligations associated with the preservation and use of these records. This study is based on an examination of Canadian, American and European archival literature and the discussion of each archival function incorporates the theoretical views and practical experiences of various archival institutions. The study concludes that to facilitate accessibility and use, repositories should more thoroughly investigate the requirements of broadcast records and agree to participate in preserving these documents based on a sound assessment of the impact such involvement has on operational resources.

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