EUscreen Portal Launched in celebration of UNESCO’s World Day of Audiovisual Heritage

EUscreen: Television heritage online

EUscreen is a unique showcase of Europe’s television heritage. The portal is officially launched today in celebration of UNESCO’s World Day of Audiovisual Heritage. On this year’s 5th Annual World Day, the theme is: Audiovisual Heritage: See, Hear and Learn. The theme corresponds with the aim of EUscreen to be a multimedia resource for the general public, pupils and scholars alike.

Major audiovisual archives in Europe have joined forces to offer unified access to the history of television in Europe. Thousands of video’s and images are available for free online consultation, and additional content is added on a daily basis.  The EUscreen portal has been accessible in beta testing mode since early 2011, but received an entirely new layout. It has been extensively tested and accounts for the needs of the various user groups EUscreen focuses on in the fields of education, research, and for the general public.

The portal provides a wide variety of functionalities to search and browse the collection, which can be used in different contexts such as curricula and research programmes, for remix, and for leisurely dives into popular history. Additional tools for curated exhibitions and an academic e-journal which researches significant trends in over 60 years of European television with the help of original programme sources will become available in 2012.

“With EUscreen we encourage users to actively engage with the history of Europe and the history of television regardless of the language and cultural boundaries. This is a great step forward to explore the role of television heritage in how we came to see ourselves and others in changing times”, says project co-ordinator Sonja de Leeuw.

EUscreen launches all over Europe

What follows is an overview of the press releases that have been published throughout the day and the launch events that are ensuing in the different partner countries. Do get in touch if you’d like to attend any of these launch events!

International Press Release: PR_EUscreenPortalLaunched_INT [doc]



  • Press release (Nl): VRT WAVHD 2011 [pdf]
  • Launch Event: Brussels, 23 November 2011.

Czech Republic:










United Kingdom:

  • Press Release 1: PR_EUscreenLaunch_UK [doc] 
  • Press Release 2:
  • Launch Event: The new EUscreen portal will be officially launched in the UK on the 2nd December 2012 by the BUFVC at their forum The Key to More Access, which will take place at The Geological Society in Piccadilly.  This event is organised and delivered by the BUFVC and will be attended by representatives of the EUscreen project from Royal Holloway, University of London and the BBC.

Europeana and DPLA Announce Collaboration

– Press Release:

Two major digital library networks have reached an agreement to collaborate .  The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), which will provide access to digital collections from libraries, archives, and museums in the United States, announced today that it will design its technical structure in a way to promote interoperability with that of Europeana, which has developed a similar system to link the libraries, museums and archives of Europe.

Robert Darnton, a DPLA Steering Committee member and University Librarian at Harvard, said, “The association between the DPLA and Europeana means that users everywhere will eventually have access to the combined riches of the two systems at a single click. The aggregated databases will include many millions of books, pamphlets, newspapers, manuscripts, images, recordings, videos, and other materials in many formats.”

Jill Cousins, Executive Director of Europeana, welcomed the agreement, saying that “Europeana was designed to be open and interoperable, and to be able to collaborate with the DPLA is a validation of that aim. By this combined effort on two continents, Europeana and the DPLA hope to promote the creation of a global network with partners from around the world.”

Another outcome of this collaboration will be a virtual exhibition about the migration of Europeans to America.  The DPLA and Europeana will demonstrate the potential of their combined collections by digitizing and making freely available material about the journey from the Old World to the New.  This pilot project will include text and images about the experience of the uprooted as they abandoned their homes to seek a new life thousands of miles across a treacherous ocean.
A Statement of Common Principles: DPLA-Europeana

The Digital Public Library of America and Europeana share a common goal: to make the riches of libraries, museums, and archives available, free of charge, to everyone in the world.  They will be guided in this mission by the following principles.

  1. They will make their systems and data interoperable to the greatest possible extent.
  2. They will promote open access to the greatest possible extent through joint existing and new policies concerning content, data, and metadata.
  3. They will collaborate regularly in developing specific aspects of their systems, beginning with:
–an interoperable data model
–a shared source code
–cooperative collection building.

Filed under: ,

Conference Report: Stockholm EUscreen Conference

By and large we’ve reported on this blog about the preparations for the EUscreen conference, which was held on September 14-15th at the National Library of Sweden. We’ve been hard at work gathering the presentation slides and videos for those who couldn’t attend or would like to review a number of topics. In this conference report, Sian Barber, Andy O’Dwyer and Erwin Verbruggen portray their findings and clues from the different talks that were presented.

Second International EUscreen Conference on ‘Use and Creativity’

In September, EUscreen held its second international conference, with a focus on use and creativity, to pose a number of key questions; how can the different intended user groups of EUscreen be involved and make creative (re-)use of the multitude of materials that are on the site? What are the best practices in the field of audiovisual presentation and education that we should draw on for inspiration?

EUscreen is a platform that strives to provide access and tools for different uses to different user and learning communities. The speakers at the conference reflected the variety of user groups and came from backgrounds as diverse as the archival community, the scholarly world, publishing, law, and government institutions.

The conference hall at the KB

The Archival Perspective: Providing & Curating

Various speakers from the archival community presented on the preservation practices necessary to bring archival materials out to the public through web transmittance. Roland Sejko gave a historical overview of the LUCE archive’s holdings. He drew attention to the contents of their archives and the organisation’s continued desire to collect and link them to material held in other archives. He also pointed out that a great deal of the archive content had never been used, which called attention to how such material could be used by researchers and the importance of promoting archive holdings to the wider academic community.
Martin Bouda offered an insight into Czech Television’s archive project for scanning their holdings and emphasised the requirement to preserve as well as to promote and enable access. This point was also raised by the Swedish Film Institute’s Kaja Hedstrom, who presented a case study of a web platform. The Filmarkivet portal is aimed at a broad, generally interested audience who would – because of language constraints – mostly be confined within the borders of Sweden. The issue of language is one which is crucial for the EUscreen community as the project aims to find a solution for its different language sources and users.

Aubéry Escande from Europeana

Providing and curating the cultural heritage of Europe for a broad audience in inventive ways is a core task of Europeana. Aubéry Escande presented the various means in which a recent Europeana project drew upon user’s participation to enhance its large collection of digital objects. As part of this process visitors are invited to add their personal stories by using advanced web technologies, crowdsourcing, storytelling and live events for specific communities. He described how a project on the First World War called on people to provide their own artefacts to help them explore narratives of the conflict and its impact. Focusing on individual stories that catch the imagination and hosting days where people are encouraged to bring in physical objects about the First World War encouraged greater engagement from the general public. Foregrounding personal stories rather than grand narratives and encouraging consideration of these stories from a range of perspectives offered users the opportunity to respond to ideas of shared histories and of the importance of bringing these histories to others.

The issue of curating was also addressed by Dagan Cohen from Upload Cinema who gave an inspiring presentation as he showed how the best of web content could be brought to the cinema screen. Upload Cinema selects and screens programs made of compiled YouTube items in a variety of cinemas all over Europe. Cohen commented on how this project enabled the power of the user to be recognised and suggested how such work foregrounds the way in which people engage with online material. He suggested that screening material in this way indicated a shift away from the power of the archive curator or the academic voice of authority and instead focused upon the power of the public.

Discussion also addressed the notion of a crisis of search in which authoritative indications and technical algorithms are perhaps giving way to social recommendations such as those shared on social media sites. One EUscreen content provider actively wondered what role archives had to play in this new digital world in merging the role of users and producers of content.

Academia: Researching the Moving Image

Jérôme Bourdon during the Q&A

Jérôme Bourdon closed the first day with a thorough analysis of how the media has illustrated, reported and involved our daily lives and memories in the context of the Isreali-Palestinian conflict. He related the need for a thorough reflection on media practices and the importance of research into the shaping of stories by the media. It is these back-stories that inform our views on current and past conflicts and the way they then become a part of our own daily experience. A lively debate followed which emphasised the importance of contextualizing media materials about conflicts with so many layers and threads, and on what it is, exactly, that separates memory (personal, close to ourselves) from knowledge (the things we see, hear, learn).

One way to encourage the academic community to engage with the contents of archives was outlined by Dana Mustata the next day. She illustrated the pragmatic approach she adopted when working on her own PhD and the tools, resources and attitudes television historians need in the practice of research. Using a clip of Ceausescu’s last live broadcast, which started the Live Romanian Revolution 1989, she argued that a variety of sources are needed to understand how television works and to achieve an integrative understanding of the medium. Mustata noted that EUscreen’s big plus is access, but that there is a minus point: as the providers select for researchers what they think is relative or important, this selection process takes something away from them. EUscreen is a new gateway for historiography, building bridges between academics and archivists in which further platforms for understanding could be the e-Journal and the comparative exhibitions, which will be a way to reflect with authors and views of how we told the story. As a platform, EUscreen is enhancing the understanding of television and can be a means reflecting on how we are making television history at this time.

Andreas Fickers expanded on this crossover between the worlds of academia and of archive, by presenting his “Blurred dreams of a TV Historian”: the idea of a pan-European television history journal, first presented at the FIAT conference of 2003. The idea was to have an online free access academic journal to maintain quality and a showcase for the creative use of digitized audiovisual materials. This journal is currently under development and will draw attention to the work of projects like EUscreen and reach out to new audiences with its combination of technological, linguistic and thematic innovation. He spoke about reflections from the editorial board and how writing for an online environment is challengingly different from traditional academic writings. He emphasised the need to adapt and structure the narrative without losing the academic standards, as online one is “viewing rather than reading”

Audiovisual and Online Tools for Education

Contextualisation received an equal amount of attention in the presentations that adhered to the field of education and spreading knowledge. Peter Kaufman and Pere Arcas gave inspiring talks on how online tools are already changing the nature of how students today can access the heritage of yesterday. Today, students can download apps that guide them through the works of T.S. Eliot and demand an entirely different way of learning and contemplating the content of such texts. Pere Arcas’s projects include the seminal Draw me a Story , a project in which a user interface was crafted in which children can – with a minimum amount of guidance – use and remix the various sources that are available online. By creating, crafting and expanding existing sources, they engage with the world in different ways than we ever thought possible, and greatly enhance their learning experiences by practicing and putting the content to use.

Paul Ashton of the Times Education Supplement focused on how audiovisual material can be contextualized from the teacher’s side to engage students with the teaching curriculum in an active manner. Through a demonstration of a range of clips, he suggested how packages of clips of readily available online content could be provided to schools to allow for classroom discussion and increase visual learning. Ashton commented that using video clips to promote questioning by children could be used pedagogically to address specific parts of the learning curriculum. In the discussion that which followed this paper, there was broad agreement about the usefulness of video material being used in the classroom this way with some calling attention to the need for learning to be structured and the clips to be placed in context. The point was also raised that no use of online video is a ‘free’ activity, and in order to be successful, issues such as copyright and platform sustainability need to be well calculated in the set-up of any project.

Guidelines for Using and Reusing Audiovisual Content

These issues of Sustainability and limitations of online use were the focus of the second workshop. Here a a number of case studies revealed how clear, distinct aids and ides were given as tools to benefit the opening up of access to a wide user base. Johan Axhamn from Stockholm University gave a clear overview of the role IPR issues have plagued and troubled archives all over the world, and how a tool such as the Extended Licensing Model can become an aid for archives and rights holders to enable them to move forward and clear the fog that exists on many audiovisual assets. As the audience of the conference consisted of a mix of rights holders, caretakers, and rights clearance institutes, interest was high and in the discussion which followed the different groups were able to review their own views on the issue.

Catherine Grout from JISC and Marius Snyders from the PrestoCentre discussed how their initiatives can connect communities to enable sharing of resources and knowledge and also to offer advice on digitisation, online reuse and educational use. The video that the JISC Film & Sound Think Tank made gave a clear and distinct overview of the many issues that both plague and are beneficial to archives, educational institutes and online projects such as EUscreen. It also indicated why it is so crucial for users in this day and age to have access to clear, contextualized, open sources of audiovisual information. PrestoCentre offers advice to archives worldwide who want to benefit from mutual sources of information to strengthen the processes they use to bring their content into the digital realm. PrestoCentre also offers advice and help on long-term digital storage and how archives and projects can make their materials accessible to users from all walks of life.

Luca Martinelli talks passionately about the road ahead for Europe

Luca Martinelli from the European Commission gave a clear overview of the various sources and infrastructures that exist to support access to audiovisual heritage. He situated the EUscreen project within a number of subsequent decisions and recommendations to the European Commission that laid out the importance of audiovisual heritage and the need for open, online access to these materials in order for them to be useful to a broad audience. He gave a draft overview of future undertakings of the European Commission, drawing attention to the way the commission invests in Europe’s heritage to ensure it remains a lively source for all kinds of users and how EUscreen is one of the best practices that are out there to realize this scope.

Conclusion: The Road Ahead

The two-day conference in Stockholm was a lively, stimulating and varied gathering. It offered an opportunity for EUscreen partners to share and exchange ideas for the further development and sustainability of the platform itself, but also for interested users, rights holders and scholars to discuss questions about the nature of online heritage, the needs and forms of online access and the scope of needs of different users. About 120 people attended the conference and engaged in lively discussions on memory, heritage, culture and education. It offered the EUscreen consortium a range of options on how best to proceed in the final year of the project, and a number of these options and certain topics of discussion will be explored further in later workshops and work sessions.


New Version of the EBUcore Schema Released

We’re pleased to inform you that a new version of the EBUcore schema (v1.3) has been officially released by EBU this week. You can find the the link to the specification at: [PDF] The new version is available in two representations: XML and RDF.

The EBUcore RDF ontology has been finalised by EBU in collaboration with the EUscreen technical team led by NTUA, which worked on it together with Jean-Pierre Evain from EBU. This collaboration has led to the realisation of the EUscreen Linked Open Data pilot, which was announced last week and makes EUscreen the first project to exploit the EBU ontology and entering the Linked Open Data cloud.

Many thanks again to Jean-Pierre and to Vassilis and the NTUA crew for this achievement!

For a full overview and the history of EBU’s metadata undertakings, visit:

Europeana redesigned

Europeana, Europe’s digital library, museum and archive, just launched a redesign with new functionality. The new interface has more visual appeal and has been adapted for iPads and Android touchscreens, bringing all the benefits of touch to Europe’s online treasury.

Europeana’s makeover has been shaped by users, who have helped to create the services they wanted around their cultural heritage. One request was made above all: the right to download for free and re-use the cultural highlights they find on the site. For the first time, Europeana makes it possible to narrow searches ‘by copyright’ so that public domain – out of copyright – content can be precisely targeted.

To date, almost half a million items are clearly shown as public domain on Europeana, and Europeana is strongly encouraging its data providers to correctly identify more out-of-copyright content, and not to invoke new rights just because they have digitised an item. At the forefront of public domain provision in Europeana are Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden and Germany.

Other benefits that users get from the new Europeana include:

  • new ways of precision searching and a more logical structure of search results
  • more interactivity, highlighting blogging and social media activities around Europeana
  • more opportunities to browse in online exhibitions and around individual objects, each of which displays a slideshows of related images
  • automatic translation of details about a chosen item from its original language to 37 others

Jill Cousins, the Executive Director of Europeana, welcomed the makeover, saying, ‘We’ve been working closely with users to create a design they respond to, and trialling it with tablets because we know that iPad and Android users are our fastest-growing sector. They are also users who like to download, and we encourage people to use public domain content for their work, their college projects, their teaching and their creative remixes.’ brings together the digitised content of Europe’s libraries, galleries, museums, archives and audiovisual collections. It features digitised books, newspapers, paintings, photographs, maps, music and other sound recordings, museum objects, archival records, films and TV broadcasts. Europeana is funded by the European Commission to provide engaging ways for people to discover digitised cultural content and to facilitate digital innovation in the heritage sector.

Europeana has been able to amass a huge dataset, giving access to 19 million digitised books and other works, because of the network of aggregators with which it works. These aggregators collect data either nationally – like the Polish Digital Libraries Federation, which supplies data from hundreds of institutions across Poland – or by domain, like the European Film Gateway, which supplies data from Europe’s film archives.

The Public Domain

Creative works go out of copyright 70 years after the death of [all] their creators or contributors. Once they enter the public domain, they can be freely copied. The public domain is a resource for learning and research, a source of inspiration for new ideas and innovation. Europeana’s Public Domain Charter recommends that when out-of-copyright works are digitised, they should remain in the public domain and be labelled as such, enabling free download, copying and re-use by the public of their own heritage.

Increasing numbers of content providers are identifying their content with the public domain mark, so of Europeana’s 19 million items, a growing percentage will in future show their public domain status.

8 Video’s about EUscreen

In July 2011, Anna Dabrowska (who is currently performing her internship for the Amsterdam MA program Preservation and Presentation of the Moving Image at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision) had a lengthy talk with Marco Rendina about the ins and outs of the EUscreen project.

She filmed the interview and cut it into eight slices packed full of information about the project, which can from now on be seen in their entirety on the EUscreen blog’s About section.

Head over to the A conversation about EUscreen page to watch the video’s and the transcribed interview.

Conference Report: FIAT/IFTA World Conference

Conference Report by Michael Vielhaber

From September 28th to October 2nd, Italy’s public broadcaster RAI hosted the 2011 FIAT/IFTA World Conference, which took place in the beautiful city of Turin. The Fédération Internationale des Archives de Télévision / International Federation of Television Archives is an organisation that intends to promote co-operation amongst television and multimedia archives and libraries, and all those engaged in the preservation and exploitation of moving image and recorded sound materials. The central theme of this year’s FIAT/IFTA conference was The Audiovisual Archive Reinvented.

Picture by Andy O'Dwyer

The Conference started with a PrestoPRIME tutorial, which focused on the European competency centre PrestoCentre, which supports audiovisual archives with information, resources and technological support. Furthermore, several PrestoPRIME tools were introduced. Particularly relevant to EUscreen was the presentation by Dana Mustata (Utrecht University, NL) within the plenary session Curating Content, where she spoke on  EUscreen and European TV history.

The overall conference structure existed out of four main themes:

  1. Technology & Innovation
  2. Marketing & Sales
  3. Knowledge & Academy
  4. Right & Management

An absolute highlight was the 2011 FIAT/IFTA Archive Achievement Awards Evening, in which Gabriele Salvatores’s film “1960″ was screened. It won the award for ‘best audiovisual production using archive’. 1960 was produced by RAI Cinema in collaboration with RAI Teche and Offside. Equally worth to mention were the plenary sessions on National Archive Strategies, and the workshops From mass digitization to mass content enrichment and Beyond the file: Containers for Archive Complexity – just to mention a few.

Under the title Making Audiovisual Collections Interoperable, Johan Oomen (Sound and Vision, NL), Marco Rendina (Cinecittà Luce, IT) and Michael Vielhaber (ORF, AT) presented a workshop on Europeana and EUscreen in the Chorus Hall of the conference location. Johan chaired the workshop and outlined the EUscreen initiative within the framework of the Europeana project. After his initial overview, Marco explained the workflow in which the audiovisual content from the individual providers  are turned into publicly viewable items on the EUscreen portal. Michael then presented on the functionalities of the actual beta-version of EUscreen and tried to stress the multiple benefits and added values of such an international cooperation.

Picture by Andy O'Dwyer

Full conference coverage is available on the FIAT/IFTA website.

Funded by: Connected to: