In 2022, APAC and the Manchester Digital Performance Archive project held a workshop with collections managers, collections users and creators which led to learnings about how to describe archive recordings in a clear and helpful way.

Catalogue entries for archive recordings should include:

  • Clear terminology used in the title and description fields
  • Clarity about the quality and use consistent terms to describe it – it could be useful to make a scale for audio and visual quality and share this with researchers, see Appendix A (National Theatre Archive Recordings Quality Guide, October 2022, downloadable pdf below)
  • Information on the number of cameras, whether they are fixed, and whether there was a camera script
  • Technical details about equipment to help researcher determine quality
  • Information about where edits might have been made post filming and when and why splicing of footage may have occurred
  • Where creative decisions were made in the process of filming – i.e. mediation choices
  • Purpose of the recording, whether it is an archive recording, a recording made for TV, a live broadcast etc.
  • Any specific parameters such as when it was filmed, who was working on it, are there any external factors to consider such as the impact of the weather etc.
  • File format information and size
  • Carrier format of the asset e.g. DVD, VHS
  • Copyright information alongside access and reuse information
  • Links to contextual information such as cast and creative teams, associated photography and designs etc.
  • Names of key creative members of the team
  • Categorisation of types of recordings e.g. NT Live, archival, user/customer generated, donated etc.


Download the guidance and appendix


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