Since 2013, the French National Library’s Audiovisual Department has initiated a research program for knowing better and promoting our Charles Cros Collection, a unique collection of more than 1 400
Since 2013, the French National Library’s Audiovisual Department has initiated a research program for knowing better and promoting our Charles Cros Collection, a unique collection of more than 1 400 recording and playback machines. The program deals with three main issues: a complete inventory and documentation; a catalogue of the whole collection; an on-line exhibition of selected items. The point is to produce and aggregate technical and historical knowledge about the various instruments and materials of the collection, and to enable communication of that knowledge to the larger audience.Last year in Cape Town we introduced to IASA Annual Conference’s attendees the Charles Cros Collection before presenting our intentions: building a catalogue considering interoperability as a condition of its success, and making pictures of the machines according to a common digitization protocol before uploading them in an on-line exhibition.This year, we will explain our progression in making this project a reality, focusing on the on-line exhibition. This virtual exhibition will offer different paths, outlines and points of view into the collection. Each path is to be made of up to fifteen machines photographed from all sides, coming with its written documentation when available. Each machine will be linked to digital copies of audiovisual documents it could have read or recorded. The goal is to build a pool of documentation and knowledge on one subject, nurtured by our on-line catalog and our exchanges with the interested researchers and experts, making information easily understandable and reusable by anyone who wants to know more.The first of these thematic paths is in progress and will be demonstrated at the 2015 IASA conference. It deals with the genesis of the Charles Cros Collection and relates the constitution of the first Sound Archive in France, the Archives de la Parole, by describing their first machines, their technology and the way they were used, for daily studio recordings or fieldwork.
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