British Library Sound Archive: Unlocking Audio

In 2009 I presented the Sydney Sidetracks project to a British Library conference called Unlocking Audio – Connecting with Listeners.

Here’s a copy of the presentation plus a bit of a potted summary of what I said.

Sydney Sidetracks: Exploring a city of lost sounds

View more presentations from Sarah Barns.

The central focus of the conference was the uses of online platforms for sound archives and their listening audiences. With participatory or social media being the current buzz, many of the presentations dealt with ways to incorporate and present sound archives for use in social networks.

My presentation was a little different – I was there to present some emerging opportunities that mobility and context awareness offer to sound archives, as listening platforms.

My presentation focused mainly on the outcomes of the ABC Sydney Sidetracks project. This is a pilot multi-platform initiative that provides map and mobile access to the archives of the ABC, along with the archives held by a number of other organisations like the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) and the Powerhouse Museum.

Working with the conference theme of ‘connecting with listeners’ offered the chance to present on the listening aspects of this project – these are central to the doctoral research from which this project has arisen, but have often been overlooked to date.

So while the initiative looks a bit like what one blogger called ‘an intriguing twist on the mash-up genre’ and Seb Chan from the Powerhouse Museum has called a ‘mobile heritage project’, this conference gave the opportunity to discuss more of the project’s audio aspects, rather than the visual map interface or the specific technology issues.

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