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EXPERT USER ADVISORY BOARD

 

EASAIER’s Expert User Advisory board (EUAB) is the centre of the project’s user needs and evaluation activities. It represents a wide range of institutions, from national and broadcast sound archives of music and speech, to community-based oral history projects and regional traditional music collections. Several members of the EUAB provided the project with initial user requirements specifications, and at the end of the development period EUAB members will test the final EASAIER software package on their own archive content.

 

EUAB Meeting - September 2007

Early in September 2007, the British Library Sound Archive hosted the first meeting of the EUAB. 14 delegates from 9 different sound archives attended, along with 10 members of the project team and 1 observer. The meeting’s agenda addressed those industry issues relating to sound archive content managers, including searching and retrieval tools, metadata schemas and data import, players and interfaces, and the licensing of archive content. Software demonstrations from the EASAIER team generated valuable feedback from EUAB delegates and important questions were raised during the day’s often-lively discussion.

While we liaise with each EUAB member individually, it was both useful and productive for the EASAIER project team and EUAB members to meet each other and discuss issues face to face. Another meeting is being planned for early Summer 2008, with testing already underway. We would like to express our gratitude to the British Library National Sound Archive for their warm hospitality and the use of their excellent conference facilities.

 

 



Technical Profiling

At the beginning of 2008 each of the EASAIER EUAB members was asked to provide technical information about their archive. The information requested included:

  • Archival software used
  • Metadata standards
  • Ingestion protocols
  • Technical specifications of archival system - operating system, hardware, etc

As the EUAB deliberately represents a broad cross-section in terms of scale and complexity, the results of the technical profiling exercise were predictably varied, ranging from a completely bespoke system - with custom metadata - created for a small archive using Coldfusion on third party servers, to a system utilising in-house Microsoft serving solutions utilising the METS standard and protected with rigorous access controls.

 

A report on the technical profiling exercise was circulated to the technical partners in the projects. Discussions that arose as a result focused on the strengths of the EASAIER Feature Extractor in automatically generating technical metadata across all archives; the provision for technical help with the EUAB partners on deployment; and the suggestion of a model for the ongoing ingestion of specialist metadata and metadata mapping as a service provided after project close.

 

EUAB Visits

In order to better ascertain functional requirements and to gain a clearer picture of each archive's unique needs, Stevie Barrett has undergone a series of visits to EUAB members in the UK and Ireland. These meetings have proven indispensible in forming a solid relationship with each member and ascertaining the precise nature of each archive. The EASAIER client software - Alpha 8 - was demonstrated at each meeting, and generated a great deal of interest.

 

Na Piobairi Uilleann Joins the EUAB

In early 2008 Na Piobairi Uilleann - the Irish piping archive - joined the EUAB. In March 2008, NPU's archivist, Terry Moylan, hosted a meeting in Dublin, attended by a number of NPU staff, Leslie McCartney of Kings Cross Voices, and Stevie Barrett who demonstrated the EASAIER system in action.