By Dana Mustata
The German journal ‘Rundfunk und Geschichte’ will publish in their upcoming issue of February 2011 an extensive report on the results of the first EUscreen Conference that was held in Rome in October, 2010. Aimed at an academic audience, the report makes an overview of the main discussion points at the conference and emphasizes the challenges, inspiration and added value that the online availability of audiovisual sources brings to historical research.
Based on the talks held in Rome, the report entitled ‘Contextualization and the Critical Use of Online Audiovisual Archives’ acknowledges the changes that the field of the humanities and history and media studies in particular, are undergoing in the face of the growing availability of online audiovisual sources. As several key-note speeches suggested, these changes bring along a series of challenges to traditional ways of doing research and conventional methods of interpreting history. The report reflects on the conference talks that proposed possible solutions to such challenges. Challenges regarding online audiovisual material are experienced not only by researchers using these online sources, but also by the content providers making these sources available as well as by audiovisual heritage platforms such as EUscreen. The important concern at stake here is how to present online material to different categories of users, an issue discussed by several speakers at the conference and reiterated in the report. Borrowing from several discussions throughout the conference, the report also puts forward ways of stimulating creative re-use of online audiovisual material among different users.
The report constitutes a step further in disseminating the discussions held at the first EUscreen International Conference among other academic platforms. We hope that such dissemination will increase awareness among the academic community concerning the added value that online audiovisual collections offer to doing research and concerning practices of using digital audiovisual material to research purposes.