Development Phase (2003-2006) - The EVIA Digital Archive Project

Development Phase (2003-2006)

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The successful development phase proposal submitted to the Mellon Foundation was created during a year-long planning phase. The initial funding provided for the hiring of staff and the multiple streams of technology, administrative, academic, intellectual property, and library development that would be required.

In the first year of the development phase, programmers began working and a video production workflow was tested and implemented. An administrative structure for the selection and organization of video submissions also was created. The Research and Pedagogy Team focused on areas where technical issues interfaced with scholarly issues. They met regularly via phone conferences to discuss the deposition and annotation process. Together with catalogers from the Indiana University Archives of Traditional Music, the Research and Pedagogy Team worked on the creation of a controlled vocabulary component for the annotation process.

The first round of video ingested was drawn from the group of ethnomusicologists who had been involved in the planning phase. These 13 scholars from Indiana University, the University of Michigan, Harvard University, and The Ohio State University became participants in the first summer institute, held in 2004. They worked intensively on annotating their materials, in addition to discussing their experience with Project staff in order to help improve the deposition and annotation processes. This first round laid the foundation for the archive and provided an opportunity for EVIA Project development staff to test systems and applications and determine needs for the next phase of development.

During the 2004 summer institute, the EVIA Project renewed its mission and clarified the value of the materials and the tools created. Participants worked with the preliminary annotation software and answered new questions about how the Project should proceed. Despite the challenges at this early stage of development, participants quickly discovered the potential of what had until then only been under discussion. The first summer institute was a test in many respects, and a great deal was learned about how to improve many dimensions of the EVIA Project.

By the second summer institute in 2006, the Project staff had implemented much of what they learned in 2004. The first summer institute was a significant learning experience and resulted in refinements over the course of the following two years. The Annotator's Workbench was redesigned and rebuilt. The controlled vocabulary schema was revised based on difficulties participants had while using it during the first summer institute. The production workflow was elaborated upon in order to track and better control the many parts of the process. Finally, a selection process was created to choose the next round of depositors, the improved ingestion workflow was put into place, and much-improved software for video annotation and controlled vocabulary maintenance were developed.

Within a few months after the 2006 summer institute, the first scholars completed their annotations, and those collections were sent out for peer review. During the final year of the development phase, the Project worked with a sustainability consultant to create and to move toward a self-sustaining business model. The end of the development phase culminated in a successful implementation phase proposal, submitted to the Mellon Foundation.

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