SCA Awarded $15,664 for Multimedia Initiative

The Committee on the Future of Print and Electronic Publishing has awarded the Society for Cultural Anthropology (SCA) $15,664 to develop a sustainable infrastructure for the hosting and preservation of audio and video content published in Cultural Anthropology. The funds are being drawn down from the American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) Strategic Publishing Fund in order to support innovations at the section level “promoting long-term sustainability of the portfolio.” The SCA was one of two sections that received awards during the first round of funding.

The SCA’s proposal, entitled “Leveraging Library Partnerships for Audio and Video Preservation,” argued that academic libraries are the logical partners for text-based journals aiming to incorporate multimedia content into their research articles. The Cultural Anthropology website already uses commercial services like SoundCloud and Vimeo to embed audio and video content, but these services are minimally integrated with discovery tools central to scholarly communication, they are built on closed, rather than open-source software, and they have no particular commitment to the preservation of digital media as part of an enduring scholarly record.

Therefore, Cultural Anthropology will become the first scholarly journal to integrate Avalon Media System, an open-source platform for managing and providing access to digital audio and video collections, into its publication workflows. A library partner with an Avalon installation will host the journal’s multimedia content and make it available for display, while using the grant funds to build out new technical capabilities; look for an announcement of the SCA’s partner on this project in the weeks ahead.

Readers of Cultural Anthropology will first see the fruits of this initiative with the debut of the Sound and Vision section in November 2016. Given the strong interest in enhanced multimedia capabilities at many of our sister journals, the project is intended to serve as a proof-of-concept for a scalable approach to preserving and displaying multimedia content across the AAA portfolio.