Digitized networking of Indian Music Archives: In search for a common Language
Music archiving initiatives in India have been irregular and sporadic. Recently, there have been efforts at extensive documentation by various institutions and individuals. However, there is a lacuna with regard to the consolidation and accessibility of these resources, specially online. The paper seeks to address issues connected with conversion of archives from analogue to digital format and envisions an integrated and systematised networking between various archives based on a uniform archival policy.
With the opportunities provided by the internet, online availability and dissemination of knowledge has become increasingly significant. While this is an important paradigmatic shift, there are practical challenges and potential threats that are often overlooked in this process. For instance, the easy availability of softwares for digitization deepens the belief that the shift from analogue to digital will ensure the preservation of the archives. But the inadequacy of working knowledge on archiving, dearth of exposure to sustainable and internationally proven models, many recent efforts on digitized archives are turned out to be counter-productive. As a result, following the conversion, the source analogue records are not maintained in good condition. Any rationale archiving mind would accept that when analogue mode fails locally, the digital archive can fail totally. Therefore, it is critical at this stage to reconsider how analogue records are maintained after the conversion to the digital format. Taking the case of the All India Radio digitization process, the paper seeks to analyse the challenges, opportunities and lessons to be learnt for future initiatives. The paper argues for a uniform archival policy focused on similar patterns of:
1) metadata management
2) Access to all
3) Migration to future models
The paper would consider methods to integrate existing archives and to facilitate a comprehensive online resource in order to share and disseminate this knowledge.