Season’s greetings from EUscreen

Season’s greetings with some of the highlights (and lowlights) of the over 150 Christmas related items on the EUscreen portal:

  • The elegant (1956 from Luce): Franco Morabito and Emma Danieli posing in front of their Christmas tree.
  • The criminal (1962 from RTE): A report on Christmas tree theft from forests in the Dublin mountains. Includes a ‘re-enactment’ of a theft.
  • The poignant (1987 from TVP): Two elderly people spending the holidays alone at home in the forest.
  • The curious (HeNAA 1965): Distribution of New Year’s Eve’s presents to children of the countryside by parachutists.
  • Bad taste (ORF 2007): Fashion-show: Christmas No-Goes.
  • The all-in-one (TVC 2010): Christmas in Europe.

Now see for yourself what you can dig up and take your lucky festive dip at:









CfP: Europe on and Behind the Screens

Mirrored Video at the Cinema Museum, Turin, Italy. Image from Flickr by ezioman.

Contributions are welcome for Volume 2 of the Journal of European Television History and Culture, which is the first peer-reviewed multi-media e-journal in the field of television studies.

Call for Papers: Vol. 2 September 2012.
500 word proposals: January 5th, 2012.
2-4,000 word articles: April 1st, 2012.

Offering an international platform for outstanding academic research on television, the journal has an interdisciplinary profile and acts both as a platform for critical reflection on the cultural, social and political role of television in Europe’s past and present as well as a multi-media platform for the circulation and use of digitized audiovisual material.

Our main aim is to function as a showcase for a creative and innovative use of digitised television material in scholarly work. At the same time, the journal intends to stimulate the fruitful discussion between audiovisual heritage institutions (especially television archives) and a broader community of television experts and amateurs. In offering a unique technical infrastructure for a multi-media presentation of critical reflections on European television, the journal aims at stimulating innovative narrative forms of online storytelling, making use of the digitized audiovisual collections of television archives around Europe.

The focus of Vol 2 of the journal, due for publication in September 2012, will be Europe on and Behind the Screens.



Proposals are invited on (but not limited to) the following topics:

Europe on the screen:

  • Eurovision or Intervision programmes:
    • Eurovision/ Intervision Song Contest
    • European News Exchange
    • Jeux Sans Frontières
    • Sports
  • National Programmes dealing with Europe:
    • “With Europe in View” (BBC)
    • European Journal
    • European politics / public sphere
    • History of European integration on television
  • Europe television culture:
    • Comparative studies on European television cultures
    • Europeanization / Americanization / Sovietization of television
    • Development of European television audiences

Europe behind the screen:

    • The History of European broadcasting institutions (E.B.U. and O.I.R.T.) and bi-lateral cooperation between national broadcasters
    • Hidden collaboration between East (OIRT) and West (EBU) during Cold War
    • Political initiatives to promote television as a means for European understanding (TV without frontiers,…)
    • The infrastructures of European live transmissions and programme exchange
    • Transnational Actors and Personalities: programme makers, engineers, technicians, presenters
    • Subversive cross-border viewing practices in totalitarian regimes
    • Commercial initiatives and programme trade in the European television landscape
    • Legal frameworks of European television trade and exchange, especially copy right problems

For our “discovery”-section, a platform dedicated to present latest developments and initiatives in the field of audiovisual heritage institutions and television archives, we especially invite contributions dealing with past experiences and future challenges of collaborations between television scholars and audiovisual heritage institutions. These essays (2.500 words) should reflect on the practical challenges of doing television research in an archival or academic environment.

Please send your abstracts no later than 5h of January, 2012 to the managing editor of the journal, Dana Mustata:







The Key to More Access: UK Launch Report

Report by Sian Barber

Friday 2nd December 2011 saw the UK launch of the new EUscreen portal. This event took place at the British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC) Annual General Meeting at the Royal Geological Society in Piccadilly, London. Eve Oesterlen from BUFVC and Dr Sian Barber from Royal Holloway University of London presented the EUscreen project to an audience of 70 guests.

The focus of the event was ‘more access’ and a variety of presentations on different projects demonstrated how this issue informs and influences BUFVC activity and how the EUscreen project fits into this agenda.

Sian Barber outlined the aims of the EUscreen project and highlighted the innovative nature of the content selection policy, explaining how functionalities like the virtual exhibitions and the content provider special collections will offer different user experiences from the rest of the portal. The technical side of the project was also used to demonstrate the complexities of EUscreen with Eve Oesterlen offering a brief overview of the challenges of the metadata scheme and working with different partners, different languages and individual workflows. Sian then suggested how EUscreen content could be used and drew attention to this material as a useful resource for students, scholars, teachers and casual browsers. The presentation and portal launch focused on the objectives of the project, what has been achieved so far and how EUscreen content offers exciting research and teaching and learning possibilities. The presentation concluded with a showing of the EUscreen promotional video and a suggestion that the audience explore the EUscreen portal for themselves. Following the presentations, a number of people queried what would happen to the EUscreen site and its material once the project was completed. It was felt that such careful work and such rich content should remain available as a resource.

Launching the EUscreen portal at this event offered the site to a new audience of those who work with audiovisual resources within education. The enthusiastic response of many people to the EUscreen portal, its content selection policy and detailed metadata schema demonstrates that there is a great deal of interest in the project and that the material is viewed as a useful resource for both teaching and learning.

Other highlights

Other highlights of the day included a presentation by Hetty Malcolm-Smith on the BUFVC Shared Services project. This ambitious project is based on a feasibility study and aims to link up the BUFVC collections of TRILT and TVTip with BoB National and data feeds from broadcasters, Channel 4 press packs and Higher and Further Education Institutions. The project also aims to include access to VHS recordings to help create the richest source of data for education in the UK and will begin by evaluating the possibilities of such a service.

One of the key resources for the shared service project will be the Channel 4 Press packs which are currently being fully digitised as part of the 1980s project at the University of Portsmouth. Dr Justin Smith (Portsmouth) and Linda Kaye (BUFVC) introduced this four year project which began in April 2010 which will have academic outputs but will also offer a context to the digitisation process. Each page of the press packs will be created as a PDF file to ensure that it can be individually identified and to improve access for the end user. Digitising the material in this way also offers access to the related and contextual data which surrounds the core information.

The final presentation of the day focused on other projects which involve the BUFVC, notably the Chronicle project; a collaboration with JISC and the BBC which will provide restricted access to news material from BBC Northern Ireland from the 1960s and 1970s.

See also

From the Fall of the Berlin Wall to September 11

— Book announcement (language of the book: French)

Katharina Niemeyer
De la chute du mur de Berlin au 11 septembre 2001.
Le journal télévisé, les mémoires collectives et l’écriture de l’histoire.
Antipodes, Lausanne (Switzerland)
2011, 342p.

English title: From the fall of the Berlin wall to September 11. Television news, collective memories and writing of history

This book discusses the importance of television and television news in contemporary history telling and making, and also asks the question of collective memories. Concepts developed by philosophers of memory and history are linked and discussed with media theory; pointing out the temporal and visual implication of television news and the eternal, audiovisual game of the past, the present and the future. Two major televised events are analyzed: the fall of the Berlin wall and September 11 (as well as their commemorations). The results of the study show that television is a special history maker and teller as well as a creator of collectives memories. It is also an indicator and accelerator of social, political and cultural changes (aesthetics of television news trailers, visual design etc.) and … television remains an eternal challenger of media studies.



CfP: Media Homes Conference, Amsterdam

Call for Papers – Media Homes: Material Culture in Twentieth-Century Domestic Life
Friday June 29, 2012 (University of Amsterdam)

Picture by Foxtongue on Flickr

During the early‐twentieth century, a raft of media technologies emerged against the backdrop of
urbanization, industrialization and rationalization. At the same time, the private dwelling developed into a centerpiece of modern conceptions of everyday life. While the domestication of media and their adoption for everyday consumption became one of the crucial factors for constructions of private and public space (Morley 2000), the same holds true for the mediation of the domestic, as new visions and representations of the home invaded magazines, movies, radio broadcasts and TV programs (Spigel 2001).

The conference seeks to explore the close – but rarely discussed – entanglement of these two phenomena in the context of recent debates on materiality in the humanities. Older tensions between approaches focusing on immaterial ‘representations’ on the one hand, and material ‘social practices’ on the other, now seem to have been replaced: firstly, by a common interest in representations and, secondly, by a growing concern for the significance of materiality in social life more generally. ʹMedia homesʹ can thus serve as a test case for investigating the new possibilities created by this situation.

Participants are invited to reconnect the strands between media and material culture, as framed within the locus of the interior and domestic life. Both the concept of ʹmediaʹ and of ʹmaterialityʹ are approached from two angles: the different media used to convey new visions of domestic material culture should be analyzed in their function of not only representing but also molding and creating the ‘home’. At the same time, all media – be it books, radios or personal computers – are material objects in themselves that conquer the private home and give it new meaning as a space of media consumption. The home itself thus emerges as ‘mediated’ in two ways: as a represented – imagined and conceptualized ‐ social space and as a space shaped by the material presence of media.

Against this background a set of key questions can be raised: how are old and new media technologies given meaning within everyday life and family relations? In what ways do domestic dwellers engage with media discourses concerning domestic lifestyle and home improvement? To what extent are categories of class, gender and ethnicity bound up with media consumption and related cultural practices within the home? What are the sensory, embodied dimensions to media consumption within the domestic sphere (visibility and audibility, as well as touch, taste and smell)? In what ways did the onset of digital media encourage a rethinking of the domestic sphere (as ʹhome theatreʹ or smart home)?

Themes for the conference may include, but are not limited to:

  • Media representations of the home, domestic life and ʹconspicuous consumptionʹ
  • Home recording and amateur media practices
  • Memory practices and forms of collecting based on media and the domestic sphere (diaries, scrapbooks, mementos)
  • Trends such as miniaturization and portability, with new constructions of the interior or domestic in public life (e.g. mobile technologies in the car, mobile phones, portable stereos)
  • The relationship between private and public forms of media consumption (cinema‐going, portable stereos)
  • Paradigmatic shifts in conceptualizations of the home and domestic life, and the challenge of periodization for researchers
  • The relationship of the ʹmedia homeʹ to urban, regional, national, and international or transnational identity categories

Please send abstracts (max. 500 words) and a short CV before 20 January 2012 to Natalie Scholz /Carolyn Birdsall A publication related to the conference is planned for February 2013.



Business Models for Open Data

 –Press release:
On December 1st, Europeana published its second White Paper, The Problem of the Yellow Milkmaid: a Business Model perspective on Open Metadata [PDF]. The title, ‘The Problem of the Yellow Milkmaid’, centres on Johannes Vermeer’s iconic painting, The Milkmaid. In a survey Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum found over 10,000 poor, yellowing copies of their great picture online. How to put a stop to the circulation of bad copies, give people a real sense of the true colour of the picture and stop them questioning the colours of the posters and postcards sold in their shop?  The Rijksmuseum solved the problem by putting a high resolution copy of the Milkmaid online with open metadata, so that it could be easily referenced and shared. ‘Opening up our data,’ says the Rijksmuseum, ‘is our best defence against the ‘yellow Milkmaid’. The paper is the result of a roundtable that brought together leading figures in the cultural heritage sector. The experts examined the opportunities and risks associated with open licensing of their massive datasets, which comprise the record of all publications and cultural artefacts in Europe.

Interest in open data is growing among policy makers, application and software developers and innovative thinkers in the Linked Open Data/ Semantic Web movement. The European Commission’s Digital Agenda for Europe 2020 identifies opening up public data sources for re-use as a key action in support of the digital single market, and proposes adapting the EU’s Public Sector Information Directive which governs the use of data. The Commission’s position is that data created by the public sector should be freely available as raw material for innovative re-use. To do so stimulates the digital economy and thereby creates jobs and provides social and economic benefit.

“If cultural heritage organisations do not expose data in ways that digital natives want to use it, they risk becoming irrelevant to the next generation.”

The White Paper features case studies of organisations that are in the vanguard of open data. They include Yale University, the German National Library, Cambridge University and the British Museum. Many other data providers are following in their footsteps: in signing Europeana’s new Data Exchange Agreement, contributors to Europeana’s dataset of 20 million items commit to an open licence in order to provide the raw material for innovation in the sector.

The Data Exchange Agreement is the primary element in the Europeana Licensing Framework. The Framework is also published on December 1st, and establishes the co-ordinates of Europeana’s position on open data, the public domain, and users’ rights and responsibilities. The goal of the Framework is to standardise rights-related information and practices. Its intention is to bring clarity to a complex area and make transparent the relationship between people who want to use information and the institutions that provide that information to Europeana.

“We want to make information about culture ubiquitous – available to people whenever and wherever they want, on whatever device, through apps that we are only just imagining. We want them to be clear about how they can use it – downloading it to their device, incorporating it in their projects, using it for their work,” says Jill Cousins, Executive Director of Europeana. “Facilitating pilot initiatives and prototype apps is a role that Europeana is perhaps uniquely equipped to play in Europe, working within a network that includes many of the world’s greatest memory organisations. A robust licensing framework is important if these prototype apps are to fulfil their potential, and we advocate an open licence so that Europe’s citizens can derive greatest benefit from the cultural heritage collections that they pay to maintain.”


Expert Workshop members

  • Roei Amit, INA, France;
  • Martin Berendse, National Archive, The Netherlands;
  • Caroline Brazier, British Library, UK;
  • Mel Collier, Leuven University, Belgium;
  • Jonathan Gray, Open Knowledge Foundation, UK;
  • Renaldas Gudauskas, National Library of Lithuania, Lithuania;
  • Lizzy Jongma, Rijksmuseum, The Netherlands;
  • Peter B. Kaufman, Intelligent Television, USA;
  • Caroline Kimbell, The National Archives, UK;
  • Jan Muller, Sound and Vision, The Netherlands;
  • Lars Svensson, German National Library, Germany;
  • Helmut Trischler, Deutsches Museum, Germany;
  • Bill Thompson BBC, UK.

UK launches EUscreen

On Friday, Dec. 2nd, The British Universities Film & Video Council, together with Royal Holloway University of London, will announce the EUscreen project to the audiences of Great Britain during a conference titled The Key to More Acces. Eve-Marie Oesterlen and Sian Barber will present the project in their presentation, titled: Screening Europe – Europe on Screen.

The Key to More Access

How improved data and a single search-box can open the door to greater content

Friday 2 December 2011 (10.30am onwards)

The Geological Society, Piccadilly, London


A BUFVC forum to discuss how current BUFVC projects will result in improved and integrated access to moving image and sound content. The BUFVC will build on the ‘Power of the VHS’ events with the announcement of ambitious plans to join up television and radio holdings data held by both broadcasters & UK educational institutions with its own expanding integrated database.  The HEFCEfunded project will be another step closer to providinga ‘one-stop-shop’ for moving image and sound material.

Other projects to be discussed include:

  • BUFVC federated search – an innovative ‘all-in-one’ search engine accessing over 13 million records
  • Channel 4 & British Film Culture project
  • launch of latest EUscreen portal (Europe’s television heritage)
  • Chronicle: BBC Northern Ireland’s television news from the 60s and 70s

Presentations will include any issues faced during the project and how they were overcome to improve the end user experience and the resulting moving image and sound content.

Download a copy of the programme here (subject to change).

For more information:


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