Conference notes II: Archival case studies that inspire

Author: Kathrin Müllner, Maria Drabczyk

 

EUscreenXL gathered in Rome last week for our conference on the users and usage of audiovisual archives: “From Audience to User: Engaging with Audiovisual Heritage Online”. In this series of blog posts we fill you in on what happened. Session II was dedicated to audiovisual stories & best practices.

Digitization, media education, live performances – all under one roof

mdrabczyk_qbackx_20141030_IMG_9377The session, moderated by Marco Rendina from  Cinecittá LUCE was opened with a presentation by Michał Merczyński, director of  National Audiovisual Institute (NInA). This public cultural institution is based in Warsaw, Poland and was set up in 2005 as a publishing house, then transformed into NInA in 2009. The focus of NInA lies on digitizing and publishing the archives documenting Poland’s audiovisual heritage and becoming a leading cultural institution in this field.

The key objective of the Institute is to enrich its audiovisual archives by creating context and making access more user-friendly. In its video on demand service, launched last year, NInA started building thematic collections concentrated on one single access point. One such example is the portal Three Composers, which was shortlisted for the FIAT/IFTA Archive Achievements Awards in 2014.

A short video tutorial explaining how to navigate through Three Composers music collection.

NInA cooperates with national and international partners specialised in film, music and theatre, Google Cultural Institute and many more. Around 98% of the content available on its main access point – NINATEKA – is free of charge. Through NINATEKA EDU – the biggest educational project of the Institute, there are more than 1700 items, special collections and additional educational recources available for teachers. Although the web is the most natural environment for NInA’s activities, the Institute engages in various programmes in the real world to create an interest in the use of digital archives and to engage the end users.  With a new venue to be opened in May 2015, NInA keeps being in transition between the analog and the digital era and tries to link the old with the new. After Michał Merczyński’s presentation a shared feeling was visible among the audience: we may not be able to pronounce any of the names or tools but NInA surely got us engaged!

Breaking News: 1914 can still inspire!

mdrabczyk_qbackx_20141030_IMG_9397From Poland to France. After a packed and inspiring presentation about a freshly set up AV institution Laurent Duret from Les Films d’Ici took us on a journey into the past. The aim of his long-term, interactive and in-depth narrative project 1914:Breaking news was to bring back the collective memory from the First World War. As the understanding of the events of 1914-1918  obviously differs in France and Germany, a decision was made to focus on these two. Even though the contract for the project was signed in Berlin in 2009, it took Mr. Duret and his international team of historians, archivists and museum experts four long years of research before the documentary was finally finished. All scenes in the film were inspired by 14 diaries from all over Europe, in order to get a broad view of the daily life of the time. In cooperation with ARTE and various newspaper publishers in Europe, the material was broadcasted on a mobile website first, that kept a calendar of daily events leading up to the war. Only later was the documentary shown on television.

1914 Breaking news trailer from Laurent Duret

In order to attract wider attention of various target groups in an innovative and interactive way, Mr Duret and his team drew special attention to shareability and presence on social media. Moreover an online music quiz was developed in which users had to find out if the lyrics of a particular song belonged to a 1914 pop song or a contemporary hip hop song from 2014. This website had over one million unique visitors and about 30 million people saw the documentary on TV. 1914: Breaking news is a marvelous example of digital storytelling and shows how to engage millions of people with a challenging topic, depicting one of Europe’s darkest times.

A DIVE in Digital Hermeneutics

mdrabczyk_qbackx_20141030_IMG_9395Lora Aroyo from the VU University Amsterdam added an academic perspective to the conversation by holding the last presentation of the session with a special focus on digital hermeneutics and the CrowdTruth platform – a framework for crowdsourcing ground truth data. The aim of the project is to get the data to train, test and evaluate cognitive computing systems. In terms of user engagement, the question for Aroyo remains: how to make this engagement possible in a more scalable and reusable way? In contrast to the common approach – namely asking experts – engaging a large crowd allows different interpretations (harnessing disagreement) and annotations. The CrowdTruth workflow involves three main steps: exploring and processing input data, collecting annotation data, and applying disagreement analytics on the results.

Mrs. Aroyo pointed out that when in a museum, people are guided through exhibitions. On the internet, they are left to themselves. A support is missing. The web is chaos! The argument led Lora Aroyo swiftly to the second part of her speech, in which she presented the DIVE browser – developed to provide innovative access on heritage objects from heterogeneous collections, using historical events and narratives as the context for searching, browsing and presenting of individual and group objects. DIVE is supposed to help people in their online exploration and research. Its interface invites users to continue their explorations by “diving into” a topic and get to infinity of exploration. DIVE is definitely a wonderful “How to…” approach on user engagement – you should want to try it for yourself.

 

Drawing made at the conference by Montse Fortino.
Pictures taken at the conference by Maria Drabczyk/Quirijn Backx

Funded by: Connected to: