Conference Notes: Content in Motion | Curating Europe’s Audiovisual Heritage: Session 5 & Closing Keynote

Author: Yashar Dehaghani, Sian Barber
Copyright: National Library of Sweden

Opening & Session 1 | Session 2 | Session 3 | Session 4 | Session 5 & Closing Keynote

The fifth and last session of our #EUscreen15 conference, “Transmedia Storytelling For Archive Materials”, examined the potential of AV archives as tools for storytellers; in cinema, exhibitions and museums as well as in academic research and presentation. The session included talks from Andreas Fickers on transmedia storytelling and media history, Piotr C. Śliwowski on the making of the film “Warsaw Uprising”, and Daniela Petrelli on using design to intertwine digital and physical heritage, and was opened and moderated by Berber Hagedoorn from University of Groningen.

Dean Jansen’s closing keynote speech was on community-driven video accessibility and Amara – the world’s most popular crowdsourcing platform for subtitling video.

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Conference Notes: Content in Motion | Curating Europe’s Audiovisual Heritage: Opening & Session 1

Author: Anna de Bruyn, Sian Barber
Copyright: National Library of Sweden

Opening & Session 1 | Session 2 | Session 3 | Session 4 | Session 5 & Closing Keynote

 
Thanks to everyone who attended the 2015 international EUscreenXL conference. We hope you had a great time with us in Warsaw!

In this series of blogposts we’re re-visiting the conference and bringing you the details you may have missed, or wish to refresh. This first article covers the opening talks by Michał Merczyński and Eggo Müller, as well as the presentations of Harry Verwayen on Europeana’s framework for measuring impact, Liam Wylie on curation and dissemination at RTÉ, and Alicja Knast on enriching exhibitions with the audiovisual.

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On ways how to reuse EUscreen archives

Author: Mariana Salgado

With the aim to investigate remix practices within the EUscreenXL project Aalto University partners have been producing a series of videos together with immigrants living in Helsinki. The goal is to find meaningful uses of online video and to investigate the right way for cultural diasporas to use appropriate technology.

These videos were created in collaboration with a Bulgarian video artist and community worker: Borislav Borisov. One is “The day I won” and the other is “Á la minute with cheff Kolio”.

Participants in the project came up with their stories, chose how to shoot them and made the edition. Audiovisual archive material was used as source of inspiration and as content material. TVR (Romanian Television) has kindly given us permission to pursue this work. These two videos can also be seen in YouTube, through TVR’s channel.

Online archives are underused considering their potential and the magnificent collection that they hold. This proposal makes emphasis in staging encounters with communities of people from different cultural backgrounds to better understand their possible involvement in enriching the archives, specifically by remixing content. People with different cultural background in their host countries could be inspired and eager to create stories with the archives from their country of origin and this interaction could inform the development of online tools. Participatory design explorations such as a community video project with Bulgarian immigrants, is one of the ongoing research activities. The reasons for choosing people with different cultural background are: a) the availability of the audiovisual material without geographical limitations, b) immigrants’ interpretation of their culture once living abroad could be a meaningful addition to the archive, c) multicultural and transcultural studies are specially relevant in relation to the construction of an European archive.

The creation of these series of videos is part of an on going research that will inform the publishing tool that will be built as part of EUscreenXL. After making these videos together with immigrants, we could better identify the functionalities and building blocks that the tool needs. It is part of our plan to publish a detailed documentation of the process that will give an account of what needs to be in place for having the possibility to reuse EUscreen AV materials. In addition, the research into other strategies for the re use of archives materials is part of the future endeavors of Arki research group, in Media Lab, Aalto University.

In the coming months we will keep you informed about further developments of our activities.

 

Help us enrich and curate heritage AV materials!

Author: Eggo Müller, Berber Hagedoorn, Eleonora Mazzoli, Willemien Sanders and Mariana Salgado

At the EUscreenXLconference in Rome, between inspiring talks, innovative projects and some sparks of Dolce Vita in Villa Borghese, people also participated in a workshop on Contextualization, which focused specifically on the question how AV contextualization practices can benefit best from the affordances of online publication. AV contextualization practices are a key part of the EUscreenXL project, reflected, amongst others, in an open access multi-media journal VIEW: Journal of European Television History and Culture and the EUscreen virtual exhibitions. Although several tools are currently being developed to explore and analyse digital audio-visual sources (AV), this workshop mainly focused on the next step: how to contextualize and re-use audio-visual materials online.

fig 1This activity is part of our endeavours to build a ‘contextualization community’, in the sense of a community of content providers, creators, archivists, scholars, researchers, students and the general audience, who would work and explore the audio-visual material offered on euscreen.eu. Our Core Collection will consist of ca. 60.000 historical items gathered from the audio-visual cultural heritage of 22 European countries. The purposes of the ‘contextualization community’ that we aim to achieve are to enrich and curate such content, as well as to experiment with other creative forms of online multimedia publication.

To this regard, during the workshop in Rome, possible scenarios and prototypes of contextualization strategies were introduced by the workgroup leaders, Berber Hagedoorn (Utrecht University / Luxembourg University), Willemien Sanders (Utrecht University), Mariana Salgado (Aalto University) and Daniel Ockeloen (Noterik BV). Participants then tested and challenged these models stimulating a critical discussion regarding possible (hybrid) models of online publication with AV content. In particular, participants were asked to reflect on meaningful forms of use of publication, drawing upon examples from their own practice. The task was to exchange experiences in contextualization practices and to choose one that better represents what they would like to see realized on the EUscreen portal.

fig 2As a result, participants proposed various strategic combinations of publication models and dissemination purposes, which could actively involve users, as well as encourage them to widely spread and share the audio-visual contents. Indeed, they explored innovative ways of doing research through audio-visual materials, and they suggested engaging dissemination strategies which could be appealing not only for academics but also for broader audiences. Moreover, from the workgroup discussion it emerged a hierarchy for the possible functionalities of the publication builder. In particular, three building blocks were seen as necessary elements: 1) translations and quick subtitling that contextualize and explain the AV content in different languages; 2) video collections represented in video posters, as a creative combination of video and/or sound; and 3) extra short videos, which are videos of max. 15 seconds used to illustrate a specific point. This last building block would be handy especially for dissemination purposes, since it could spread content via social media and mobile phone applications in order to engage the users on cross-media platforms. There was a general consensus on how contextualization processes are interweaved with strategic dissemination purposes. In addition to these building blocks, participants emphasized the interest in certain recurrent topics that could engage general audience, such as food and fun clips.

Thanks to the contribution of every participant we gained useful insights and ideas regarding future developments of our ‘contextualization community’ as well as the EUscreenXL publication builder, our next step. Certainly, we are always eager to receive further feedback and suggestions from all of you! If you are keen on exploring innovative forms of multimedia publication, or if you are interested in enriching and curate AV historical contents, we would love to consult you and your contribution will be highly appreciated.

Share your ideas for future developments!

Contact us:

Eggo Müller (e.mueller@uu.nl); Berber Hagedoorn (b.hagedoorn@uu.nl); Willemien Sanders (w.sanders@uu.nl); Mariana Salgado (mariana.salgado@aalto.fi); Daniel Ockeloen (daniel@noterik.nl)

 

 

Conference notes III: To crowdsource a Faustian dilemma

Author: Erwin Verbruggen

 

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.

Tom and his archives

After lunch, the conference rode on with its first day packed with presentations.

15509289377_90603a2ec7_o The slides Deutsche Welle’s Kay Macquarrie showed, opened with a colourful animation about Tom the reporter. Tom is not a big fan of the complications of his work, it seems, and would like smart technologies to help him out. Luckily, the AXES project has spent some time figuring out his wishes and aims to provide for his every search and sorting need.

The search engine uses all sorts of automation and enrichment to decrease the searcher’s time effort. It assumes that researchers have wishes fully different to those of home users and media professionals who want to reuse content. The software will be made available under an open source license for those enthused and willing to try it out.

 

AXES with Tom – If Only You Knew What’s In Your Archive!

When television is not enough

The demo Lotte Belice Baltussen and Lyndon Nixon showed, was dedicated squarely at the home user – and smart web editors. The LinkedTV project has the noble assumption that television audiences are not willing to switch off their brains when watching, but are most willing to use their smart devices to make themselves smarter too. In order to assist editors in providing a wealth of contextual information, the project searches for for that sweet spot where automatically enriched and linked metadata can provide a world of new experiences.

In the Linked Culture demo the duo showed, the Dutch version of the Antiques Roadshow was enriched with images and explanations pulled in from Europeana. During the coffee break, we saw some conversing going on between the developers in the project and those involved in EUscreenXL, so keep posted to hear if this turns into pretty new uses of our linked data pilot.

 

LinkedTV demonstration of LinkedCulture

Crowdsource this

15670785666_7263f887e0_oMark Williams took to te stage again to this time root for his own project. The Media Ecology project, or MEP in short, is a fantastically ambitious and wide ranging project that brings together researchers, librarians, archivists and computer scientists and aims to harness the powers of two library and archive buzzwords: linked data and crowdsourcing. MEP provides access to the Library of Congress via Mediathread and allows a selected group of academics to update and improve on descriptions. The archives can then harvest back metadata generated through MEP project. The project’s access point provides enhanced search capacity for the LoC’s materials, enhances search capacity for other archives and helps the academic & scholarly community help in their workflow at the same time. An important aid in this process is the use of a controlled vocabulary, which in this project is baptised the Onomy. The project makes use of a wide range of open source tools, such as the Computational Cinematics Toolkit in Python and the related Tiltfactor, doing metadata games.

The big launch

15509336028_1db2bce465_oKamila Lewandowska, Sian Barber and Rutger Rozendal all work on the EUscreenXL project. The three of them have been the main drivers behind the EUscreen portal redesign, and therefor the honour was bestowed upon them to present its feats and design choices. The new portal is made adaptive so it can be seen on all sorts of devices, search is made more intuitive and all together it boasts an editorial approach, feeding users more content in more appealing ways. Also, some important steps in providing subtitles for selected clips have been provided. Meanwhile the strengths of the portal – rich, interchangeable metadata and descriptions – are still there and improvements will be taking place over the next few months, as well as new possibilities for contextualisation. We do suggest you go there straight after reading this post to find out all that’s new and shiny: http://www.euscreen.eu

The Q&A session focused on the benefits of crowdsourcing and lessons learned in this space, including how to convince archive personnel of the usefulness of involving non-professionals in describing archive content. The presentations led one commenter to describe his response as a Faustian dilemma, where he needed to choose between using one of the many fantastic tools available but unable to solve the growing gap between their development and their integration into teaching & digital/audiovisual literacy. As far as we could understand from the panel members, they all seemed to have good trust in their visions of smarter, connected, wired, searchable and automated collections – and the people we hope will be using them.

 

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

Our First Physical Exhibition in the Freedom Express Campaign

Author: Maria Drabczyk

 

On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a unique exhibition entitled ‘Roads to 1989. East-Central Europe 1939-1989.’ was launched in the German capital. The exhibition documents the complicated process through which this part of Europe regained its freedom from communist dictatorship. The exhibition is part of ‘Freedom Express’, a social and educational campaign organised by ENRS, ministries responsible for culture in Poland, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia and local partners. EUscreenXL Consortium and Europeana are partners of the project.

DSC_9775The exhibition concentrates on the various ways in which civil liberties were limited in the former communist block and on attempts made to regain them. It focuses especially on the question of what connects and divides remembrance of the events that preceded the fall of communism in Central and Eastern European. The content of the exhibition reveals a story of the different faces of freedom. Individual parts of the exhibition are devoted to freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion and belief, economic freedom and other themes.

EUscreenXL contributed to the exhibition by creating a unique, moving and historically meaningful video production. It includes archival content that shows important and commonly recognizable personalities and events from the political transformation time in Europe of 1989 and depicts crucial social phenomena also typical for the period. It represents one of the first try-outs of the EUscreen Network activities aimed at reaching new audiences and stepping out of the online world by preparing a physical exhibition.

The video was created by EUscreenXL partners – Deutsche Welle, The Lithuanian Central State Archive, RTV Slovenia, Czech Tevision, National Audiovisual Archive of Hungary, National Audiovisual Institute of Poland (in collaboration with Video Studio Gdańsk), and The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.

DSC_9801
The exhibition will be shown on 4-10 November on Dorothea-Schlegel-Platz – a square located close to the historic Friedrichstraße train station, which, between the years 1961 to 1990, served as a railway border crossing between East and West Berlin.

After Berlin, ‘Roads to 1989’ will be shown this year in Brussels (14-24 November) and Warsaw (28 November-15 December).

Alongside the European tour of the exhibition, its digital version is also available at: http://1989.enrs.eu/exhibition.

 

Freedom Express is asocial and educational campaign organised by the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity. Its first part was a study trip whereby a group of young artists, journalists and historians visited Solidarity’s Gdańsk, then Warsaw, Budapest, Sopron, Timisoara, Bratislava, Prague and Berlin. The trip’s agenda of meetings, workshops and artistic activities was made possible thanks to the cooperation of a number of institutions involved with 20th century history.

More information is available at www.freedomexpress.enrs.eu

You can also follow the event on Facebook.

 

Source: ENRS press information and own materials.
Photos: Krzysztof Dobrogowski, Copyright: European Network Remembrance and Solidarity

Conference notes: The Three R’s of Archival Video

Author: Erwin Verbruggen

 

EUscreenXL gathered in Rome last week for our conference on the users and usage of audiovisual archives: “From Audience to Users: Engaging with Audiovisual Heritage Online”. In this series of blog posts we’ll fill you in on what happened.

Last week was a busy one for audiovisual archivists! The week in which we celebrated  the World Day of Audiovisual Heritage saw no less than six events related to our moving image heritage – not to speak of the International Federation of Television Archives‘ world conference in Amsterdam, which we visited the week before. In Mexico, the SIPAD symposium was teaching a generation of Latin-American archivists how to care for AV heritage. In Switzerland, EUscreenXL partner EBU, the European Broadcasting Union, gathered a group to discuss the technical merits of archival operations, the importance of metadata (including for EUscreenXL) and strategic questions such as whether public broadcasters have a duty to provide archives.

Drawing made at the EUscreenXL Rome Conference by Montse FortinoIn Spain meanwhile, the Europeana network came together to discuss how it would update its ways of collaborating to continue being the hadron collider for cultural heritage. And as Ina’s training team was teaching novices to the field how to take care of moving image materials in its FRAME series, and the Federation of Film Archives’ executive committee met in Stockholm, we, archivists and academics linked to the EUscreen network, joined each other in Rome to discuss topics, tools and triangulations around giving access to broadcast and moving image materials that have withstood the tests of time.

The Rome conference we set up filled two days – one in which we focused on stories and examples from the field, and one in which we spent discussing in various workshops. Meanwhile, the conference was also the location for the General Assembly of the EUscreen network and for scholarly activities, such as a meeting of the European (Post)Socialist Television History Network and the editorial board of EUscreen’s VIEW Journal of European Television History and Culture. So in a nutshell: a lot of words being exchanged, a lot of bonds reinforced and a lot of ideas shared. This was truly a week in which the famed double helix of preserving and giving access to audiovisual heritage, as Peter Kaufman so eloquently put it once, was at the heart of the conversation.

Archives on YouTube

Italy’s Ministry of Culture has a representative for film culture. That is in and of itself a remarkable feat and – if you ask us – a sign of being an utmost civilized nation. Mr. Nicola Borrelli opened the conference, stressing the importance of film and audiovisual heritage for the country and mentioning it as one of the most important issues of the current Italian presidency of the European Union. Our morning speaker on the first day was Mr. Roger Felber.

An example of a clip British Pathé made more Relevant to contemporary audiences by changing its title.

 

Picture taken at the conference by Maria Drabczyk/Quirijn BackxMr. Felber is a British business man with an impressive track record, whose investment group owns the British Pathé collection. His opening talk may seem like a strange choice for EUscreenXL. Why put all this effort in developing a portal such as EUscreen to then open your arms to organisations who use YouTube? While it is true that the series of projects and collaborations that brought forth EUscreen predates the existence of the video mogul , it is of course no stranger to EUscreen’s members. Various organisations, such as Cinecittá LUCE, TV Romania’s archives and Sound and Vision, have made substantial amounts of video available through Google’s platform. While for archival curation many of us question its lack of rich metadata, for example, there are obvious advantages to using the platform – audience reach being high on that list. What we hoped to learn from Mr. Felber was how this reach can be seen, thought of, explored and improved upon.

The Three R’s

His experiences did not disappoint. As Mr. Felber admitted, his organisation does not move without it resulting in “cold, hard cash” – an approach that the mostly public service directed organisations in EUscreen are less prone to. Mr. Felber relayed the steps his organisation had taken to publish its 95.000 videos online in one go. After discovering many of their films had already made it online via private persons’ interests and unvetted activities, the organisation decided to make the jump. YouTube has a robust advertising scheme and a fingerprinting algorithm that allows content owners to redirect the advertising income from third party or individual uploaders they would’ve otherwise missed out on. A win-win situation for British Pathé’s rights holders.

Mr. Felber then – without the use of PowerPoint or presenter’s notes – kept his audience captivated with his story of how the group focused on creating impact with the collection. He bundled British Pathé’s lessons for audience reach in a maxim consisting of three R’s: Regularity, Relevance and Reliability. Publish materials with a dependable regularity, make them relevant to the people who need to see them and make sure you can be considered a reliable source.

An important lesson for British Pathé – and a rather frightening idea to the researchers in the room – was that changing the titles of the videos made them more find- and clickable – a lesson mirrorred by recent developments in the publishing world, where ‘clickbait’ titles and title-focused enterprises such as Upworthy are all the rage.

British Pathé puts music under all its silent clips, unlike this film fragment from the Cinematek in Brussels.

 

Picture taken at the conference by Maria Drabczyk/Quirijn BackxIn the panel that followed suit, project coordinator Eggo Müller welcomed Sonja de Leeuw and Mark Williams at the table to discuss specific parts of the online delivery process. Topics included questions such as audience specificity – a general audience consisting of many smaller niche audiences – and the true meanings of audience engagement. Markedly different were the approaches to media the academic researchers in the room voiced – their primary concern is that of the untouched, true original.

Another hot topic for discussion – recurrent in the EUscreen family – was that of allowing free access to a collection that is used for footage licensing. The balance was decidedly positive: besides generating extra income via YouTube’s advertising, the British Pathé collections have become much more known because of its publication, and footage sales have increased in never before served territories.

Linda Kaye closed the Q&A session with  a comment on the resources of the metadata. In British Pathé’s tumultuous history, its original paper archive was once tossed in the bin, rescued from there and now available for researchers at the British Universities Film and Video Council. A challenging anecdote to close this session, that reunites the need for a broad audience reach with the importance of the daily grinds and duties of archive operations.

 

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

The Value of Audiovisual Archives

Try imagining all the world’s existing audiovisual material: all the films ever made, plus the television footage ever shot, plus all the sounds once recorded – add the scientific and military observations and home videos, the (super) 8 mm recordings, the YouTube generation’s creations. Then, try to visualise not the kilometers of celluloid or optical disks or hours and lifetimes it would take to see it all, but what the possible value of all those sounds and images would be.

Do they indeed, as the author of the just released report Assessing the Audiovisual Archive Market, Peter B. Kaufman, proposes, form a sort of crude oil – ready to be refined, reassembled and made into a new creative product?

In the same way that oil, pumped from the ground, is refined and then used to fuel transportation and industry, or iron, mined from the ground, is smelted into steel and used in construction, so audiovisual materials mined from the archives form part of the backbone of information, com- munication, and our creative knowledge economy, worldwide.

Assessing the Audiovisual Archive Market

Assessing the Audiovisual Archive Market: Models and Approaches for Audiovisual Content Exploitation was commissioned by PrestoCentre, the international competence centre for digital audiovisual preservation. It explores the ways that a audiovisual archives have been “examining, appreciating, and even embracing business and commercial interactions in the digital age”. The report takes a look back at 124 years of audiovisual archiving and how the challenge of preserving moving images and sounds has reached increasing levels of complexity.

This increased complexity, not in the least caused by the advent of digital production and storage methods, leads to a mirrored exchange between the access and preservation tasks of the contemporary archive: twin missions, as Kaufman calls them, that “twist around each other like the double helix of a modern memory institution’s DNA.” The paper investigates the forms and methods audiovisual archives have been approaching to fund this double mission and how they have shifted some of their attention towards possible cooperation with businesses and even taken advantage of existing commercial opportunities.

new opportunities for cultural heritage institutions to develop business models, revenue streams, and business knowledge — and in the process gain an even greater appreciation for the role they play in media, society, and our economies today — abound. This paper, focusing as it does on such opportunities, may provide activists in the field with inspiration and support.

In order to define the value of an audiovisual collection, one needs to get a clear idea about the costs involved – by mouth of one of the interviewees, the report states that “use has begun to define value”. Inversely, an item that is not well preserved, cannot be found and thus not used by anyone, ever again. The paper stresses the importance of access as a form of open access: the value that lies in use, sharing, reuse can only be realised when unrestricted online access allows participant from different online realms can use web tools to popularise and contextualise the assets. The paper intends to suggest that in the double helix between preservation and access, “support for one is support for both”.

It also underlines the need for the audiovisual archiving field that in dealing with the multi-billion dollar business partners who are currently so important for finding, exploring, discovering and buying media on the web, the field of archives and museums needs to be well aware of its value and importance, as well al the sensitivities we share and the experiences we’ve had.

No agent has been retained to represent the interests of libraries, archives, and museums, in the way an author or musician might retain one. No lawyers have been hired to pore over the body of agreements to date and highlight best practices for the community. No working group focused exclusively on improving public-private partnerships has been assembled and charged with a mission and a deadline. If the commercial sector is investing hundreds of millions of Euros, and a hundred billion are needed, we had better get started.

7 Recommendations

The report offers 7 Recommendations and proposes the development of four new tools for a smarter (re-)use of audiovisual archival content. The recommendations are:

  • Audiovisual archives should consider themselves part and parcel of the knowledge economy.
  • Audiovisual archives should recognize that multibillion-dollar businesses are growing based on materials they curate; and as a result their institutions deserve to participate in the revenue these materials are generating, in the knowhow that they are contributing, and in other direct and indirect benefits these materials are making to the world.
  • Audiovisual archives more than anything need something approximat ing an old-fashioned guild, where collective knowledge can come to rest, and where business savvy from attorneys, dealmakers, and others might be fielded and centralized.
  • The field needs to hire, in effect, an advocate — perhaps a sanhedrin of wise men and women who can look after its collective interest and help it argue on its own behalf and on behalf of the public sector.
  • When approaching business relationships, audiovisual archives should consider the arrangements from the perspective of their commercial partners, recognizing that the strongest players in the audiovisual marketplace are in the business now for the long term, making strategic rather than tactical investments in the sector.
  • Archives should recognize in particular the value of their building comprehensive metadata resources and optimizing their audiovisual resources for search and discovery.
  • In the audiovisual archive world, archives have been dealt a strong hand. They need to recognize that audiovisual material now and over time will be the most sought- after assets to monetize.

The reasoning behind these recommendations and the well-recommended, 30-page report, are available for download as a PDF in the PrestoCentre library.

Related reading

  • Economies of the Commons 3: Sustainable Futures for Digital Archives – http://ecommons.eu – Conference outcomes, November, 2012
  • EUscreen Publishes its Second Online Access to Audiovisual Heritage Status Report – http://blog.euscreen.eu/?p=3235 – July, 2012

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