Smithsonian Folklife Festival Audio Documentation

In Summer of 2016, I worked as an intern audio archivist at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. It was an absolutely wonderful experience where I learned invaluable skills that will definitely shape my career as an audiovisual archivist.

One of the major projects I worked on during my internship was the 2016 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. As an intern audio archivist, I worked to create audio documentation for the festival to ensure that recordings of stage performances will be available for future researchers and historians. Here are some infographics I created using Adobe Photoshop and other design tools:

improvedinfographic

Workflow for audio recordings at the festival. This graph shows how documentation moves from the festival to the Digital Asset Management System.

The above infographic gives a step-by-step explanation of the documentation process. As you can see, there are several steps taken both during the festival and afterwards to ensure a better experience. In fact, all of the audio documentation for the festival was ingested to the DAMS midway through August 2016–a little after a month after the festival.

Volunteers are integral to the audio documentation process. At each stage, they are given logsheets to write down important metadata such as the names of performers, individual song titles, and themes, as well as any changes to the schedule or technical difficulties. We confirm the metadata and then embed it into the individual session files using BWF MetaEdit.

To show just how voluminous this project was, I created an additional statistical infographic:

bythenumbers

The quality control work of comparing recording qualities meant that we were able to refine what materials we would keep as archival based on our standards. 

These materials will be used to train future volunteers and interns as well as accompany presentations on the audio documentation workflow for the Festival.