Indiana University
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Completed project: EVIA Digital Archive: Ethnomusicological video for instruction and analysis

Primary UITS contacts: Jon Dunn, Will Cowan

Completed: March 24, 2010

Description: The EVIA Digital Archive project is a joint effort of Indiana University and the University of Michigan to establish a digital archive of ethnomusicological video for use by scholars and instructors. Planning began in 2001 and has brought together experts in the fields of ethnomusicology, archiving, video, intellectual property, and digital technology. Ultimately, the EVIA Digital Archive preserves video recordings with the intention of making them easily accessible for teaching and research, providing an alternative to physical archives, whose unique materials are available only to people who travel to the archive location.

The field of ethnomusicology has depended throughout its history on the latest recording technology to help document and subsequently analyze the musical practices of people all over the world. Closely allied with the disciplines of anthropology, musicology, and folklore, ethnomusicologists analyze music both as sound and as one of many interrelated cultural systems. Research for ethnomusicologists may involve library or archival work, but what distinguishes them from many other scholars in the humanities is that most ethnomusicologists conduct ethnographic research or "fieldwork" as well. Because music events around the world rarely involve music-sound alone, ethnomusicologists attend to the multiple channels of creative communication that surround these events and thus regard video as an extremely useful research tool. Musical performances recorded on video in the last three decades will be the centerpiece of this project. Unfortunately, data on videotape deteriorates quickly. Hence, a high level of urgency surrounds the immediate preservation of these recordings.

For more information, see the EVIA Digital Archive web site.

Outcome and benefits: Our goal to create a functioning digital repository and delivery system of digital video and accompanying metadata has been achieved. The EVIA web site (see link above) now includes peer-reviewed annotations and analyses of video content by the scholars who made the recordings. Access is open to institutions as well as individuals via an account sign-up process. Using the bandwidth capabilities of Internet2, we provide high-quality video streams to scholars for new research endeavors and to teachers for creating rich learning experiences. Over the next few years, we will continue to add additional peer-reviewed content as new scholars complete their annotations.

Current status: Many collections have now been completely annotated, peer-reviewed, and edited, and are available on the EVIA web site (see link above). The web site went into production in November 2009 and now has several participating universities and thousands of individual members. In the summer of 2009, the EVIA project completed its most successful Summer Institute yet. Twelve ethnographic researchers from around the world came to Bloomington to participate in the 2009 EVIA Summer Institute, where they worked on annotating 150 additional hours of video that they are contributing to the archive. Many collections from this summer have already been annotated and have successfully completed the editorial process. This was the fourth EVIA Summer Institute over the last six years, and has resulted in the creation of over 500 hours of annotated digital video. With the new EVIA collection web site now on line, there will soon be ethnographic video from over 20 countries around the world available for searching and browsing as the collection continues to grow, with new content constantly being added. The video was digitized by staff at the University of Michigan.

Client impact: In addition to the Co-PIs listed below, this project benefits faculty members at IU involved in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, as well as students and researchers worldwide in the fields of ethnomusicology, anthropology, folklore, and musicology.

UITS project sponsor: Craig Stewart, Associate Dean, Research Technologies

UITS/Digital Library Program project team:

  • Jon Dunn
  • Will Cowan
  • Jenn Riley
  • Andrew Albrecht
  • Kirk Hess

Additional information

  • Co-PIs: Ruth Stone, IU, and Lester Monts, University of Michigan
  • Funding agency: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
  • Grant dates: July 1, 2006-June 30, 2009 (current phase)
  • Funding to UITS: $387,717 (current phase)
  • Total funding to IU related to this project: $903,254 (current phase)