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61st IFLA General Conference - Conference Proceedings - August 20-25, 1995

JUKEBOX : a project of a new service for library users

Carla-Maria Sotgiu, Discoteca di Stato, Roma, Italy


1. Project characteristics

Jukebox was launched in 1991 . The proposers were The State Media Archive in Denmark , the British National Sound Archive , the Discoteca di Stato in Italy togheter with the Western Norway Research Institute, which first proposed the idea, the project was approved in 1992 . The actual work started in January 1993.

1.1 The proposed service

We proposed to create a new library service based on acces to large sound collections via a network.

The aim was to enlarge library services by making available sound documents available for the users which represent relevant products of XX century culture.

The national sound archives are the national collections of commercial recordings, they hold also important collections of oral history , drama , folklore. In many cases they have grown up in last fifty years with limited connection with the libraries .

Now it is more and more evident that sound documents play a relevant role in historical, anthropological and musical research. However public access to these collections has so far been restricted t o a small users community .

But recent developments in digital tecnology and telematic create the opportunity to improve public access to these collections.

1.2 The architecture of Jukebox service

Basically the user stations , placed in the libraries, are connected to the archives via a ISDN connection.

The user can access the JB catalogue and the local sound database , which are stored on the 3 different archive systems.

Each sound database contains 50 hours of compressed sound. This solution was adopted , instead of having a database on uncompressed sound for technical and economical reasons.

2. The innovative aspects of the project

All the projects funded by the European Commission should aim to produce innovative results in services and in the use of technology.

In Jukebox the innovation in the service is represented by the opportunity offered to the library users to have easy access in the same place to new information resources .

On the technical side the innovation consists of online access to high quality sound database .

2.1 The decision to have a common catalogue,

containing only the bibliographic entries of the digitized documents has produced some interesting results : the definition of a minimum set of data sufficient for retrieving the documents and t he production af a common multilingual set of terms for the subject access.

3. The relevant problems faced in the project

3.1 Copyright

This is one of the most important issues of the project .

Firstly the rights connected to sound registrations, especially music, are more noumerous than the ones connected to books, secondly the legislation is different in the three participant countries, third the hypothesis of a new service provided through the libraries by digital copies , was considered with suspicion by the copyright organisations.

3.2 The standards

The standards available for the service designed in the project are mainly the ones in the field of telecommunication , infact in both sound compression and online catalogues of sound documents well defined standards do not exist.

3.3 ISDN connections

The survey on telecommunication, done at the beginning of the project , gave a reassuring picture of the situation in Europe, but at the moment of the real test of the service a lot of technical uncertainities and problems came up and caused a delay in the development of the prototype.

3.4 The card for sound compression

The algorithm chosen for the sound compression was MPEG Layer III, but some problems occurred with the compression cards.

4 .The method used in developing the project.

The management is based on a genuine cooperation between the partners. In this way all the problem which occurred during these months were dealt with as problems of the group as a whole.

Another positive features in the organization of the project is the appointment of an advisory board whose members are experts from countries othr than those partecipating in the project.

A relevant role was played in the development of Jukebox by the user group which was deeply involved in the analysis and design phase.

Their contribution was essential in defining some important features of the service.

The user group was composed by the librarians of the 6 libraries chosen as test sites.

5. Beside the prototype

itself some interesting results were achieved as the analysis of the problems connected with a multimedia and multi lingual catalogue , the test of the standards, and the cooperation between different institutions in different countries for the provision of services.