“Working in an archive can quickly become a routine. So we must challenge ourselves in the field itself.”

An interview with historian, professor of Spanish Language and Literature and archivist researcher at RTV Slovenia Katja Šturm about her institute, her profession and the future of audio-visual archives.

Katja Šturm started working at RTV Slovenia as a history student in a part time assistant job on the EUscreen project in July 2010, shortly after its beginning in 2009. Together with her colleague Aleksander Lavrenčič she performed the selection, cataloging, contextualization and upload of selected audio-visual content on the EUscreenXL portal (now EUscreen portal) and Europeana.

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Effortless Access with EEXCESS

Europe’s galleries, archives, museums, and libraries (or ‘GLAMs’) are making their cultural, educational and scientific content accessible online. As a result, more and more content is published and accessible through the different providers’ websites. Unfortunately, these cultural and scientific resources are invisible to the majority of the general public. As for web users it’s impossible to know and search all those different platforms available. That’s a problem the EEXCESS project wanted to solve by taking the content to the user. We spoke with Silvia Russegger, senior researcher at Joanneum Research and coordinator of the EEXCESS project.

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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

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