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  • Joint Technical Symposium 2007Audiovisual Heritage and the Digital Universe, University of Toronto, June 28–30, 2007
  • Kara Van Malssen (bio)


The Joint Technical Symposium (JTS) is an international meeting for organizations and individuals involved in the technical side of preservation and restoration of moving image and sound materials. The one held in 2007 was the seventh JTS, which began in 1983 and takes place every three to four years. The event was organized by Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) in collaboration with the Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations (CCAAA). Under the auspices of UNESCO, CCAAA includes

  • ♦ AMIA

  • ♦ ARSC (Association for Recorded Sound Collections)

  • ♦ FIAF (International Federation of Film Archives)

  • ♦FIAT/IFTA (International Federation of Television Archives/Fédération Internationale des Archives de Télévision)

  • ♦ IASA (International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives)

  • ♦ ICA (International Council on Archives)

  • ♦ IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions)

  • ♦ SEAPAVAA (Southeast Asia-Pacific Audiovisual Archive Association)

Over three days, the symposium witnessed more than thirty presentations, a restoration screening, and a lively atmosphere of exchange in the Isabel Bader Theater, on the University of Toronto campus. Although many participants had to endure stressful flight delays and cancellations due to lightning storms in the area the night before the conference began, the trip to Toronto was rewarding. In addition to a fantastic program, the 250-odd attendees enjoyed warm June weather and took advantage of the energetic neighborhoods surrounding the campus to conduct meetings and relax after long days of professional engagement.

International Flavor

One of the symposium’s greatest strengths was its international focus. The JTS attracted speakers and participants from all over North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Latin America, and Africa. This unique mix of professionals, from both the private and the public sector, from small archives to large national institutions, provided an exceptional opportunity for discussion. Solutions presented by small archives in Europe were just as valuable as those showcased by service providers in the United States.

UNESCO provided scholarships for nine archivists from around the world to attend the event. These delegates represented Pakistan, Colombia, Benin, Barbados, Kenya, the Philippines, Mexico, Peru, and Zimbabwe. Additionally, AMIA’s Carolyn Hauer International Fund brought a delegate from the Centre Africain d’Études Supérieures en Gestion in Senegal to the JTS. These participants were able to meet and learn from some of the world’s most renowned experts in the audiovisual (AV) heritage field, while simultaneously educating the symposium’s attendees in the unique [End Page 78] challenges they face back home. Hopefully, the next JTS program will feature presentations from some of these archivists, who might share how they are solving problems of AV preservation in today’s rapidly changing digital environment.

Highlighting the needs of many archives around the world was a presentation by Frédéric Dumas of the French Audiovisual Institute (INA) on the Save Our Audiovisual Memory (SAM) project. Created in 2006, the project is headed by FIAT/IFTA and consists of the United Nations, UNESCO, the World Broadcasting Union, the European Broadcasting Union, and an independent consultant. The project is creating a Web site, to be hosted on the FIAT/IFTA site, that will stream samples of endangered national AV treasures from around the world. The site will be a communication tool between national authorities, professionals, investors, and consumers, and will raise awareness about the urgent need for preservation of at-risk AV heritage. The results of this project are eagerly awaited.


JTS 2007 had far more emphasis on the digital transition than did previous JTS events. As is evident from a look at the program, the “digital universe” for AV archiving indeed reaches far and wide. Myriad intersections between presentations could be found, including on issues of film, video, sound, repositories, storage, indexing, selection and assessment, automated workflows, and restoration. From demonstrations of hi-tech tools to storage solutions for small archives, the symposium offered an incredibly varied and rich program that showcased the latest and greatest research and technology available in the AV heritage field. Without a doubt, all attendees, whether from a small regional archive or a Hollywood studio, greatly benefited from this unique gathering of professionals...


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pp. 78-86
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