AHDS Performing Arts
During 2006, AHDS Performing Arts undertook a Scoping Study in order to
understand the current situation of the use of AHDS services and digital resources
more generally in the Performing Arts Higher Education community. The Scoping
Study also aimed to identify the needs of those working in Performing Arts teaching,
research and practice.
Getting to Know Our Audience: The AHDS Performing Arts Scoping Study1 was
published in August 2006 and made recommendations for concerning the future shape
and activities of AHDS Performing Arts. This document defines a vision for the
future which reflects what AHDS Performing Arts can realistically do with available
resources and the steps that it will take to enlarge its resource base to allow it to serve
the community better. This AHDS Performing Arts Vision Statement should be
considered in conjunction with the wider aims of the AHDS into which it fits.2
AHDS Performing Arts aims to support and build on the indispensable services and
advice offered by the AHDS and its subject centres in the past whilst developing
stronger links with the Performing Arts community (spanning theatre, music, dance,
film, television, radio, and live arts) and establishing an internationally renowned
research track in the creation, use, and effects of digital representations of performing
It is the mission of AHDS Performing Arts to:
• Provide services, activities and collections which are complementary to those
provided by the other AHDS centres and Executive.
• Provide services, activities and collections which are easily accessible and
relevant to the needs of major stakeholders, primarily the Higher Education
Performing Arts research, teaching, and learning community.
• Balance collections and services across the diverse Performing Arts subject
areas, in line with our understanding of the changing needs of the community.
• Promote the use of these collections in research and teaching.
• Remain abreast of relevant digital technologies, information management
methodology and structures, and best practice in the field.
• Promote interoperability and common standards in collections development.
• Communicate and collaborate with key stakeholders as well as the Performing
Arts community in general to enhance service and collections provision.
AHDS policy documents: http://ahds.ac.uk/about/reports-and-policies/index.htm
AHDS Performing Arts: Vision 2006-8 Page 1 of 5
• Expand and extend the AHDS mission and knowledge base in the areas of
research into performance and representation and practice-based research.
• Develop a supportive theoretical and practical framework for the
conceptualisation and creation of innovative methods of creating and
representing performances using digital technologies.
To achieve our mission within the context of the AHDS as a whole, AHDS
Performing Arts seeks to:
• Develop a plan for the acquisition and curation of digital collections which
actively promotes and supports the creation and ingest of digital content of
enduring value for Performing Arts (see AHDS Performing Arts: Collection
• Enable excellence in the creation and use of digital resources through the
provision of high quality advice and reliable access to data.
• Maximise communications between stakeholders in Performing Arts digital
collections, within and outside HE, nationally and internationally.
• Advance the knowledge and skills to put AHDS Performing Arts at the
forefront of research into digital representation of Performing Arts and
develop and support research-led activities including practice-based research.
To advance these goals, the AHDS Performing Arts Scoping Study asserted a series
of recommendations for future activity and development. These recommendations fall
into four main areas:
1. Strategic and organisational
2. Communications and outreach
3. Collections development
4. Advisory services
AHDS Performing Arts will continue to consult its community of data creators and
users during the pursuit of these recommendations to ensure we meet the
Goal 1: Develop a plan for the acquisition and curation of digital
collections which actively promotes and supports the creation and
ingest of digital content of enduring value for Performing Arts
• To keep abreast of the most appropriate curation strategies for the types of
resource handled, and disseminate this information throughout the Performing
• To lobby for the wider adoption of better preservation strategies, particularly
in areas of identified weakness such as radio and moving image materials,
complementing the expertise of other preservation bodies and projects.
AHDS Performing Arts: Vision 2006-8 Page 2 of 5
• To act as a conduit to other curation activities at United Kingdom, European
Community, and international levels.
• To address common misconceptions about data preservation and curation
through a top-down institutional approach.
• To facilitate timely deposits of new high quality collections through regular
contact with research projects.
• Champion recognition of the creative process as central to Performing Arts,
thereby encouraging a transition from metrics weighted towards favouring
output-driven measures to those that reflect the centrality of the creative
• To focus priorities for collections acquisitions taking into account the
resources and priorities identified during the Scoping Study and proactively
pursue new collections.
• To investigate the possibility of mediating access to collections from outside
HE for AHDS Performing Arts creator and user communities.
• To develop an understanding of how reuse happens and how this informs
Goal 2: Encourage excellence in the creation and use of digital
resources through the provision of high quality advice and reliable
access to data
• To make the role of AHDS Performing Arts more explicit to the Performing
Arts research and teaching community.
• To continue to provide excellent advice to researchers whilst also explicitly
addressing the needs of digital resource users such as teachers.
• To work closely with AHRC-funded researchers to ensure they understand the
requirements for deposit of their collection to the AHDS, and to both advise
on and develop standards and best practice.
• To investigate how guidance and support services can be propagated on a local
• To promote the adoption of open standards and to facilitate the exchange of
digital resources between institutions.
• To adopt a pro-active role in clarifying the community’s understanding of IPR
• To encourage data representation and design for reuse.
• To review and update the AHDS Performing Arts Guides to Performing Arts
resources and to publish Case Studies and Information Sheets related to
Performing Arts on a regular basis.
• To maintain free access to high quality collections through AHDS Performing
Arts’ Web pages.
Goal 3: Maximise communications between stakeholders in Performing
Arts digital collections, within and outside HE, nationally and
AHDS Performing Arts: Vision 2006-8 Page 3 of 5
• To establish a revitalised AHDS Performing Arts Advisory Committee
balancing membership across subjects and areas of expertise including
research, teaching, practice, and information preservation/management.
• To improve communications opportunities alongside new collections
• To strengthen links with other AHDS centres in order to maximise the
visibility of mutually complementary collections.
• To enlarge the diversity of outreach activities, including more visits to
institutions such as those that act as regional focal points.
• To maintain strong links with relevant HE Academies, national centres of
practice, and cutting-edge research institutions and activities.
• To act as a conduit for information sharing between funders and other
stakeholder communities, and to communicate with funders on behalf of the
Performing Arts community.
• To maintain a watching brief on the changing needs of the community.
• To build a mediated virtual community of practice to enable AHDS
Performing Arts to create tighter links with its constituency.
• To develop mechanisms to communicate emerging technological advances
that may be of use to the Performing Arts research and teaching communities
and to should keep the community abreast of innovative methods and
• To foster relations with AHDS visual arts so we can take advantage of
overlaps and develop an overarching Arts Strategy.
Goal 4: Remain at the forefront of research into digital representation of
Performing Arts and develop and support research-led activities
including practice-based research
• To improve our understanding of practice-led research.
• To bid for external funding in order to advance relevant research projects at a
national and European level
• To attend relevant conferences in order to advertise and disseminate
information, present research, maximise network development, and keep
abreast of developments in subject-based and technical developments.
• To undertake the provision of a skills and knowledge development programme
in digitisation and representation.
The 2006 AHDS Performing Arts Scoping Study4 has enabled the construction of a
vision for AHDS Performing Arts which is firmly rooted in the actual needs of the
Performing Arts community. Over the next two years, this vision will be reviewed
annually. After this time, AHDS-PA hopes to move to a three-year reviewing cycle.
AHDS Performing Arts: Vision 2006-8 Page 4 of 5
Transparently defining the boundaries of AHDS-PA objectives forms a foundation of
communication against which the community can measure to what extent AHDS-PA
is delivering these goals. The next step will be to define metrics for the measurement
of AHDS-PA’s success so that we can assess how well we are doing what the
community wants and needs. This vision will drive the work of AHDS Performing
Arts and we welcome comments on it and our work. We also welcome you to
participate in the life and work of the AHDS-PA.
Daisy Abbott, Services and Outreach Officer, AHDS Performing Arts
Sarah Jones, Collection Development Officer, AHDS Performing Arts
Prof. Seamus Ross, Head, AHDS Performing Arts
November 2006, HATII, University of Glasgow
AHDS Performing Arts: Vision 2006-8 Page 5 of 5