Visualising the EUscreen Collection

From April to June 2012, second year student Tjerk Smit from the Communication Media and Design course in Amsterdam performed his internship at the Research & Devopment department of  Sound and Vision. During those ten weeks he explored new ways for visualising the data of the items from the EUscreen collection. In this blog post he tells us a bit more about that visualisation. EUscreen keeps an overview of the projects we’ve done with visualising the collection at our demo page

You can see Tjerks data visualisation at http://demo.euscreen.eu/datavisualisation/. Any feedback, hints of praise or tips for further improvement are highly welcome. If you’re a developer and reading this, you’re invited to make use of our linked open data capabilities to give visualising EUscreen a spin. 

As I am a beginner at computer programming, I was looking for a less complicated way to visualise the data  – without the need to do great amounts of coding. I discovered a great javascript library named d3.js. This library  is specialized for manipulating “data-driven documents” – documents based on data. It brings data to life with the help of standard web technologies such as HTML, SVG and CSS. Because D3 is based on these web standards,  it can use the full capabilities of modern browsers,without the need to use a proprietary framework.

With the help of this library, I was able to create a broad range of visualisations. You can find many great examples on the d3.js website. Most of those examples use datasets that are based on a hierarchical structure. The data on EUscreen is not hierarchical, so I needed to find a other kind of way to visualise it and came upon the parallel diagram. A parallel diagram is used to visualise multidimensional categorical data. It can be summed up in a so called cross-tabulation. With this diagram you can explore and analyse the data in an interactive way.

How it works

The data is loaded through a comma-separated values (CSV) file. The first line of the CSV contains all the column names: all the different dimensions you can filter on. Below you can see an (simplified) example of such a CSV file. Every item on EUscreen is one row in the document, which contains 20083 lines. Minus the first line with the column names that makes a total of 20082 items that are loaded and visualised: The entire EUscreen collection in April 2012.

With the diagram I created, you can change the dimensions (column names) you want to compare. If you click on a filter, a menu will expand. Doing so will add an extra dimension to the diagram. Within the filters you can toggle different options (categories). A horizontal bar is shown for each of its possible categories. The width of the bar denotes the absolute number of matches fort hat category. Every category in the first dimension is connected to a number of categories in the next dimenions, showing how that category is subdivided. Within the graph you can drag the dimensions and categories to reorder them. If you hover over the dimension names you will see 2 links: alpha and size. With alpha you can sort the categories on alphabetical order. With size you can sort the categories on size.

Improvements

The demo that I made is not perfect and improvements could be made. The data is not directly loaded from the EUscreen website, so the dataset is not dynamic. If there are added items on EUscreen, they’re not directly added to the CSV file. Another thing is that the data is not loaded into memory, so with every filter you make the whole CSV is loaded again. This means that the 4.5mb CSV has to be downloaded, which takes quite some time. A final improvement would be to create the menu for the filters dynamically. Those are static and therefore manually written. An improvement would be that they’re created by reading the first line of the CSV file (the column names) and that all the options (categories) within the filters are created by reading the input of all the items that are in the CSV file.

Visit the EUscreen data visualisation at: http://demo.euscreen.eu/datavisualisation/

 

 

 

 

 

CfP: Moving at Different Speeds

Call for papers for Comunicazioni sociali, I, 2013

The Commercialization of Television Systems in Europe and its Consequences

Monographic issue. Accepted languages: English, Italian, and French
Issue Co-editors: Massimo Scaglioni, Luca Barra (Università Cattolica di Milano)

One of the most compelling and current challenges for television studies is to work on the edge of national and international boundaries. Such work must attempt to scrutinize the  historical evolutions of the different television national systems in the light of broader, supranational trends (Bignell-Fickers 2008; Bourdon 2011).

Following a comparative approach, and in order to better understand the developments of European television, the focus on commercialization is without any doubt productive: the entry of private and adbased players in TV national markets is a major phenomenon that has affected European broadcasting systems at different times and speeds, with complex consequences. Starting from the strong tradition of public service broadcasting and, in many cases, of monopoly, European television has experienced the birth of commercial TV at different points of its history, from the first experiments in the UK during the Fifties until the articulated – and often contradictory – process of deregulation and “liberalization” that occurred in many continental countries from the Seventies, as well – in Eastern Europe – along the Nineties.

This special issue of Comunicazioni sociali will analyze the gradual diffusion of several models of commercial TV throughout the decades into different nations across Europe. It aims to provide readers with an outline of the implications of commercialization at the social, cultural, institutional, political, textual and technological level, through case studies of individual nations or regions, comparative studies or theoretical analyses.

Call for Papers

Abstracts are invited for contributions to a special issue that will seek to further our understanding of the historical dynamics of TV commercialization that have differently shaped broadcasting systems in various European contexts: similarities and differences will emerge, contributing to a deeper comprehension both of European television histories and of the historical logics and developments of the medium. These can include:

  • Early commercial broadcasting in Europe, both as lasting or “experimental” experiences;
  • Definitions and implications of TV commercialization;
  • Consequences of TV commercialization on a social and cultural level;
  • Consequences of TV commercialization on a political and economical level;
  • TV commercialization and changes in the logics of broadcasting;
  • TV commercialization and production practices;
  • TV commercialization and scheduling practices;
  • TV commercialization and genre (re)definitions;
  • TV commercialization and textual evolutions;
  • TV commercialization and its consequences on the broader media system;
  • TV commercialization and consumption practices;
  • TV commercialization and changes in audience conceptualization;
  • Theoretical approaches on TV commercialization;
  • Original research findings on single case histories and nations.

Paper proposals (250-300 words, in English, French or Italian), along with short biographical notes and key bibliographical references, are due by October 31th, 2012.

Submissions should be sent to both the editors, Massimo Scaglioni (massimo.scaglioni@unicatt.it) and Luca Barra (luca.barra@unicatt.it). Notifications of acceptance will be sent no later than November 15th, 2012.

Accepted articles (3500-5000 words, in English, French or Italian) will be due on January 31th, 2013, and will be subject to a double-blind peer review. The issue of Comunicazioni sociali will be published in April/May 2013.

About Comunicazioni sociali

Founded in 1973, Comunicazioni sociali is a journal that features both monographic and miscellaneous issues, dealing with critical questions pertaining to studies of the performing arts, film, radio, television, journalism, advertising and new media. Founded on an interdisciplinary approach, the journal has since its inception promoted rigorous debates on media content, representation and
consumption in terms of theory, history and critical analysis. The journal has enhanced exchanges with academic institutions, research centres, European networks and prominent scholars, by hosting both theoretical elaborations as well as empirical findings. Since 2009, the journal has adopted the double-blind peer review system and enhanced the international profile of its editorial board, including scholars from European and extra-European countries.

EUscreen Publishes its Second Online Access to Audiovisual Heritage Status Report

Image by David Jones, 2008.

Second Status Report Released

EUscreen is pleased to announce its second status report Online Access to Audiovisual Heritage. In three chapters, the report gives an overview of technological developments bearing an influence on publishing and making accessible historical footage. The report discusses online heritage practices within Europe and beyond.

In a field that faces constant renewal, overhaul and additional challenges, the report means to take stock of the status of the online audiovisual heritage field. This allows the EUscreen project to measure our own strategies and technological development and allows the participating archives, broadcasters and the broader GLAM community to come up with solutions for providing access that cater to users’ needs and environments.

This document is a follow‐up on the first EUscreen status report, published one year ago.

Report Overview

The status report is divided into three chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of online access. Through this structure, we successively discuss three main trends regarding access, namely: 1) use and reuse today, 2) trends towards a cultural commons and 3) fundamental research in the area of audiovisual content.

The first chapter gives an overview of major developments, including access provision and use of content by the creative industries. In the second chapter we explore the topic of (sustainable) reuse of audiovisual sources as a cultural and explorative practice leading towards more open and participatory archives. Finally, the third chapter discusses European research topics that are currently ongoing in areas connected to audiovisual heritage.

The report was edited by Erwin Verbruggen and Johan Oomen and can be downloaded here.

We’re currently heading towards the final stages of the EUscreen project, which will conclude in September with the final EUscreen conference in Budapest. This status report comes at a time where the project needs to reflect on its position in the field and on its long-term sustainable future as a service for the various stakeholders.

Links

 

Screen Media and Memory

The conference was hosted at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Report on the 2012 NECS Conference, Lisbon, Portugal

Every year NECS, the European Network for Cinema and Media Studies, brings together a remarkable amount of archivists and scholars from all over the continent. After London, Lund and Istanbul, the 2012 NECS conference ‘Time Networks: Screen Media and Memory’ took place in Lisbon on 21-23 June. Several of the papers given over the course of this three day event were particularly relevant to EUscreen.

Report by Erwin Verbruggen and Berber Hagedoorn

Television in Transition

A number of papers paid specific attention to the medium of television. Scholars from the Centre for Television in Transition (TViT, located at EUscreen partner Utrecht University) focused in their papers on forms of user engagement as ‘spaces of participation’, arguing how new forms of television not only use online media as platforms for distribution, but television programmes and website interfaces form new frameworks of interaction between producers, programmes and audiences. Eggo Müller addressed forms of participatory television in the Dutch TV Lab, which presents pilots for future shows on Dutch public television. Abby Waysdorf examined fan interaction and the emergence of a ‘television canon’ on the pop-culture website The AV Club. Karin van Es‘ paper focused on how constructions and constellations of liveness are at work in the US talent show The Voice. Berber Hagedoorn discussed how, as spaces of participation, multi-platform TV documentaries such as the project In Europe can offer new dynamic ways in which cultural memory is ‘performed’.

Unstable Television Histories

Dana Mustata presenting at the 'Unstable Histories' panel

In her paper on PhD research carried out at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Andrea Meuzelaar (University of Amsterdam) incorporated practical encounters with an archival institution. As an archive, the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision relates how media discourse has changed towards Muslim inhabitants. By choosing and applying descriptions and keywords in particular eras, not only the media but also the archive itself reinvigorates that era’s discourse towards Islamic inhabitants.

The panel ‘Unstable Histories: The Problem of Seeing and Understanding ‘Old’ Television in the Digital Age’ informed the gathered media scholars about the EUscreen project and how the portal can be a tool for contemporary television research. Erwin Verbruggen from the Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision explained the origins and contents of the project, and argued how EUscreen is defined by its blend of academic scholars, technologists and archives. Dana Mustata (University of Groningen) and Berber Hagedoorn (Utrecht University) zoomed in on the challenges of providing online access to television history: Mustata focused on the fact that many TV historians today are actually analogue researchers in a digital world, while Hagedoorn concentrated on contemporary strategies in online projects by means of which television history can become a powerful cultural resource for ‘TV users’. Liam Wylie from Ireland’s broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann concluded this panel with a presentation from the perspective of the archive, and why it is rare for academics – or the general public for that matter – to gain full access to television archives. Head over to the EUscreen slideshare page to flip through our presentations.

Copyright and Remix

During the panel on ‘Copyright and Remix’, digital pirates entered the scholarly debate. IPR remains an ever-important topic for audiovisual libraries. May we even say: the begin-all and end-all of access undertakings. EUscreen has therefore set up a workshop and several documents and reference libraries related to these issues. During the panel, Anne Kustritz (University of Amsterdam) pointed out the bittersweet irony of large film companies creating movie franchises about thieving pirates who sue fan boys and -girls that craft remixed fan fiction about those very same thieving pirates. Katherine Groo (University of Aberdeen) brought up remix as an addition to the academic toolkit: media scholars are very much focused on words and discourse, but in examples such as this particular remix of filmmaker D.W. Griffith’s work, elements of continuity editing are explored in ways that words cannot. Her article on the topic of remix can be found in the first issue of the new journal FRAMES.

Melancholy is Analogue

Audio Cassette as a Design Object, MUDE Museum, Lisbon

By far the most ‘swinging’ presentation was provided by keynote speaker Andreas Fickers (Maastricht University) in his lecture on the transistor radio as an analogue memory machine. Fickers presented a cultural history of this plastic medium through songs and lyrics of ‘transistor memories’, emphasizing the analogue melancholia that marks our current media landscape and thus ‘investigating the complex relationship between the materiality of memory machines and their work as technologies of memory’.

In a related context, Richard Misek (University of Kent) presented the paper The Algorithmic Image about his current research into timelines as a driving force for audiovisual media. New algorithmic video and web technologies are changing properties and ownership of those timelines that before were situated in the sacred realm of post-production houses or film studios. His example of ‘web-friendly director’ Vincent Morrisset’s video Sprawl II, which he made for the rock act Arcade Fire, showed how algorithmic tricks opened up the rhythm of the film to the influence of the viewer, who thus becomes a participant in the creation of  his/her own viewing experience.

Another ‘melancholic medium’ discussed at the conference was the home movie. Researchers from the Amateur Cinema Studies Network (ACSN) presented several papers – from approaching contemporary home movie technologies through the lens of amateur culture (including Skype as a contemporary form of the home movie) to the changing status of home movies in a digital and networked culture. In this context, Susan Aasman (University of Groningen) argued in her paper From archival desire to performative pleasures how contextual integrity has gotten lost – for example, a personal home movie is now part of the world of YouTube. Paradoxically, the internet now also offers new possibilities for contextualisation.

To conclude, the conference provided insight into historical and theoretical work relevant to the EUscreen project and was a great opportunity to talk about EUscreen to media researchers in Europe. At the conference, the NECS network launched the first issue of its scholarly journal NECSUS which is worth a look. NECSUS currently cooperates with the EUscreen-hosted Journal of European Television History and Culture on the practical embedding of audiovisual materials in online scholarly publications.

Scholarly publications at the registrations desk

Exhibiting EUscreen

Created by Kati HyypäMore Context for Content

Over the past two and a half years, EUscreen has been sourcing all kinds of content and has worked closely with developers and designers to make this rich and varied collection accessible online. The EUscreen portal currently hosts over 21,000 items which relate to television history and the history of Europe in a collection that includes items from the earliest days of the medium (and before) right up until the present.

Contributions from 22 different broadcasters and archives from across Europe have been brought together and made freely available in one one single portal. Well, two portals actually – all of these items are also being made available on Europeana, where they sit amongst almost 22 million cultural objects from across Europe.

Exploring Television History

Within EUscreen our aim is to make this material available to as wide a range of interested users as possible. To do so, the partners in the consortium have been hard at work to realise the next step in the project: making the collection accessible through online exhibitions and suggesting ways for users to engage with the EUscreen material. We have been creating a virtual exhibition builder that provides a set of tools for creating online exhibitions which can feature various media such as video, audio, still image and text. A first version of these tools will soon be part of the EUscreen portal. Recently, Daniel Ockeloen from Noterik and Sanna Marttila from AALTO/TAIK gave a presentation at the Europeana gathering in Mykonos. We’ve posted it here to give you an idea about what to expect.

[slideshare id=13134913&doc=sannadanielmykonostalk-120530095559-phpapp02]

An Online Exhibition Space

Designing the VE tools has included various activities, such as workshops in which collaborative hands-on design methods have been used for generating ideas and improving designs. Virtual Exhibition builder prototypes have also been developed and tested incrementally in order to reflect the needs of the different users and to improve the ease of use. The Virtual Exhibition tools have been developed in collaboration with various EUscreen consortium partners. The technical development and user interface design is the brainchild of Noterik and TAIK, who have worked closely with other partners, such as the Comparative Virtual Exhibition curators Dr Dana Mustata from Groningen University and Dr Sian Barber from Royal Holloway, University of London as well as colleagues from the British Universities Film and Video Council.

We are currently piecing together the final elements of the first exhibitions which will be made available on the portal very soon. EUscreen archive partners are also curating their online exhibitions to present focused explorations into television history. Watch this space to be the first to know when new exhibitions appear!

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