Planning Phase (2001-2002) - The EVIA Digital Archive Project

Planning Phase (2001-2002)

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The planning phase represented the first formal efforts of the EVIA Digital Archive Project. Ultimately involving over 40 people in intensive discussions, the planning phase created the foundation of the Project as it exists today.

The Project began as a joint venture between ethnomusicologists Ruth Stone from Indiana University and Lester Monts from the University of Michigan. The initial idea for the Project came from their discussions about the need to preserve the video recordings made during their fieldwork in Liberia. Some of these recordings dated back to the mid-1970s, were rapidly deteriorating, and were inaccessible even to the scholars themselves due to format and condition.

Working with Alan Burdette at the Archives of Traditional Music, Stone and Monts put together a prospectus for the Mellon Foundation, and this developed into a proposal for a series of initial planning workshops. The workshops would explore the creation of a digital video archive designed to preserve and provide access to video collected by researchers in the fields of ethnomusicology, folklore, dance ethnology, and related disciplines.

Team members at the initial planning workshops were ethnomusicologists, intellectual property specialists, and digital and video technologists from Indiana University, the University of Michigan, Harvard University, and Ohio State University. Over the course of a year, participants engaged in dialogue about content and geographic coverage, technical challenges, and ethical issues surrounding the Project. Throughout three workshops, the growing group of participants proposed solutions to the intellectual property, technology, and scholarly challenges that the Project faced.

The participants were organized into teams: Technology, Research and Pedagogy, and Intellectual Property. These three teams broke out into separate discussions and then returned to the group as a whole to present and discuss developing solutions and questions. Because each group's solutions implicated the work of the other groups, this talking back and forth was critical to the development of a feasible plan. At the end of the year-long planning process, a development phase proposal was presented to the Mellon Foundation and successfully funded.

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