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Film Heritage, Digital Future: Practice and Sustainability for the Film Archive Sector

Press release by the BUFVC

A one day event for professionals in film and TV archiving.
Friday March 4th 2011
Organised and hosted by Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research
Birmingham City University
Margaret St Campus

What issues are facing film and other audio-visual archives? What are the immediate challenges for archive holders of cuts to public funding and threats to intellectual property in a digital age? How is our film heritage to be sustained and used? What kinds of collaborations might support the legacy of UK film and prompt innovation and best practice?

This event offers an opportunity for those with a professional interest in the film sector to hear about best practice in a range of public-funded projects and to share insights and ideas about the challenges for the audio-visual archive sector in the digital age.

The event will be anchored by the presentation of a range of innovative projects funded by Screen West Midlands under the Digital Film Archive Fund. Since the launch of the fund by Film Council in 2009, these projects have created new archival material, investigated and repurposed existing material, reaching new audiences and prompting engagement with archive issues and cultural heritage. As the projects seek to secure their legacy, develop and expand their scope, the issues they face will provide a prompt for discussion.

The event will feature contributions from BBC, SWM, MACE, EUscreen, workers from a variety of archives and from the education sector. EUscreen will be represented by Dr. Rob Turnock and Sian Barber, postdoctoral researcher both from Royal Holloway, University of London. They will be presenting their paper “From archive to online user: EUscreen and the challenges of creating access to European television content.”

The programme of the event contains presentations, screenings, opportunities for networking and discussion of current challenges in the sector.

Refreshments and lunch are provided.

RSVP: paul.long@bcu.ac.uk

National Library of Sweden and the Swedish Film Institute launch new web site for moving images

By Christopher Natzen

On February 10 the new web site Filmarkivet was launched by the National Library of Sweden and the Swedish Film Institute. On the site you have the opportunity to see unique archival moving image material that otherwise is rarely accessed. The web site contains mainly shorts, non-fiction films, news-reels and commercials: films that reflect the transformation of Swedish society over the last century. Some 300 films are now available, a figure that will be doubled before the end of 2011.

5 Million Manuscripts, Films and Texts for Europeana

Press release from Europeana

Work begins this week to add over 5 million digital objects, ranging from Spanish civil war photographs to handwritten letters from philosopher Immanuel Kant, to Europeana from 19 of Europe’s leading research and university libraries.

The project is called Europeana Libraries and it will put many of these treasures online for the first time. It will also add extensive collections from Google Books, theses, dissertations and open-access journal articles to the 15 million items amassed in Europeana to date. Providers include some of Europe’s most prestigious universities and research institutes, including the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, Trinity College Dublin and Lund University.

The assembled objects span centuries of European history. Manuscripts from Serbia date back as far as 1206 and relate to the Ottoman Empire’s European territories. Written in Arabic, Ottoman Turkish and Persian, they are being digitised by the University Library of Belgrade. There will also be significant film additions. Footage of talks from 10 Nobel prize winners will be contributed by the University of Vienna and the Wellcome Trust Library in London will add 900 clips from medical science films produced over the past 100 years.

Europeana Libraries is notable not only for the content it will make available online but also because this project brings together national, research and university libraries under one umbrella, to make their materials available via Europeana.

The Europeana Libraries initiative is supported by key international library associations: the Conference of European National Librarians (CENL), the Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL) and the Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche (LIBER).

Louise Edwards, General Manager of The European Library and project coordinator said: “This project will offer wonderful new resources for Europe’s humanities and social science researchers. Unique source materials that were known only to small numbers of scholars will now become widely accessible, promoting new understanding and cross-border study.”

Paul Ayris, President of LIBER, said: “Europeana Libraries will create a service that aggregates the digitised content from research and university libraries. By the end of the project, in two years time, we will have created a robust, automated delivery system which any library can use to deliver its digitised content to Europeana, The European Library, and other services for researchers.”

Marian Lefferts, Executive Manager of CERL, welcomed the start of Europeana Libraries, saying: “It signals a commitment by the different parts of the library sector to work together to deliver the greatest possible benefit to users. We will be able to extend our reach to international research audiences with new content and innovative services, and in doing so, help to develop the European knowledge base.”

The Comité des Sages calls for a “New Renaissance” by bringing Europe’s cultural heritage online

Press release by Europeana

The report of the Comité des Sages (high-level reflection group) on Digitisation of Europe’s cultural heritage was delivered to Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, and Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner responsible for Education and Culture.

Among its top recommendations are that Europeana should become the central reference point for Europe’s online cultural heritage. Member States must ensure that all material digitised with public funding is available on the site, and bring all their public domain masterpieces into Europeana by 2016. Cultural institutions, the European Commission and Member States should actively and widely promote Europeana.

The report urges EU Member States to step up their efforts to put online the collections held in all their libraries, archives and museums. It stresses the benefits of making Europe’s culture and knowledge more easily accessible. It also points to the potential economic benefits of digitisation, including through public-private partnerships, for the development of innovative services in sectors like tourism, research and education. The report endorses the Digital Agenda’s objective of strengthening Europe’s digital library Europeana and suggests solutions for making works covered by copyright available online.

The Comité des Sages on Digitisation comprises Maurice Lévy, Elisabeth Niggemann and Jacques de Decker (see IP/10/456). The report’s recommendations will feed into the Commission’s broader strategy, under the Digital Agenda for Europe, to help cultural institutions make the transition towards the digital age.

Neelie Kroes said: “I sincerely thank the three “sages” for their constructive suggestions on how we can trigger a “Digital Renaissance” in Europe. Bringing our museums’ and libraries’ collections online not only shows Europe’s rich history and culture but can also usher in new benefits for education, for innovation and for generating new economic activities. It will put high quality content on the net for many generations.”

Androulla Vassiliou added: “The Group has balanced the interests of creators with the imperatives of a changing environment in the digital era. We need to find ways and means to do so in all the areas where the cultural and creative industries are confronted with the challenges of moving into the digital age. Culture and heritage in the digital era represent a set of opportunities for European economies and societies.”

Called “The New Renaissance”, the Report’s conclusions and recommendations also include:

  • Works that are covered by copyright, but are no longer distributed commercially, need to be brought online. It is primarily the role of rights-holders to digitise these works and exploit them. But, if rights holders do not do so, cultural institutions must have a window of opportunity to digitise material and make it available to the public, for which right holders should be remunerated.
  • EU rules for orphan works (whose rights holders cannot be identified) need to be adopted as soon as possible. The Report defines eight fundamental conditions for any solution.
  • Member States need to considerably increase their funding for digitisation in order to generate jobs and growth in the future. The funds needed to build 100 km of roads would pay for the digitisation of 16% of all available books in EU libraries, or the digitisation of every piece of audio content in EU Member States’ cultural institutions.
  • Public-private partnerships for digitisation must be encouraged. They must be transparent, non-exclusive and equitable for all partners, and must result in cross-border access to the digitised material for all. Preferential use of the digitised material granted to the private partner should not exceed seven years.
  • To guarantee the preservation of collections in their digital format, a second copy of this cultural material should be archived at Europeana. In addition, a system should be developed so that any cultural material that currently needs to be deposited in several countries would only be deposited once.

The recommendations of the ‘Comité des sages’ will feed into the Commission’s broader strategy, under the Digital Agenda for Europe to help cultural institutions make the transition towards the digital age and to search for new and effective business models that accelerate digitisation while allowing fair remuneration for rights holders where necessary (see IP/10/581,MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200). The recommendations will also be useful for the Commission’s plan to develop a sustainable funding model for Europeana by 2012.

Today europeana.eu already offers access to more than 15 million digitised books, maps, photographs, film clips, paintings and musical extracts, but this is only a fraction of works held by Europe’s cultural institutions (see IP/10/1524). Most digitised materials are older works in the public domain, to avoid potential litigation for works covered by copyright.

The full report can be accessed here.  

New AV Competence Centre will launch during Screening the Future 2011 Conference

Press release from PrestoPrime

The new AV Competence Centre  ― entitled PrestoCentre ― is a membership driven, non-profit organisation that will serve stakeholders in audiovisual digitisation and digital preservation in Europe. It will continue and expand the work of the EU-funded ‘Presto’ projects and will launch at the Screening the Future Conference in Amsterdam on 14 & 15 March 2011.

The conference will connect small and large archives, service providers, vendors, funders, policymakers and educators developing solutions to the most urgent questions facing audiovisual archiving. AV stakeholders in Europe and beyond are invited to attend the conference and to join the celebration of the launch of PrestoCentre.

More information
For registration and information visit: www.prestocentre.eu
E-mail: events[at]prestocentre[dot]eu

About PrestoCentre
PrestoCentre is an initiative of five large national audiovisual and broadcast archives in Europe:

  • British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC);
  • l’Institut National de l’Audiovisuel (INA);
  • Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (Beeld en Geluid);
  • Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF);
  • Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI).

For more than a decade, these archives have worked together in the EU-funded ‘Presto’ projects to bring together expertise and experience in AV digitisation and preservation in Europe. The goal of PrestoCentre is now to make sure that the knowledge and dedication that was built up in these projects persists and does not ‘fade away’.

Recent conference visits by members of EUscreen: some highlights

By Sally Reynolds, Birgit Gray and Wietske van den Heuvel

One of the activities of EUscreen is visiting relevant conferences and meetings, so knowledge can be shared with different stakeholders who represent the different user groups and networks that EUscreen is addressing through the project. Sally Reynolds from ATiT and Birgit Gray from Deutsche Welle have written a small report about their recent conference visits for EUscreen. A more detailed overview of all conference visits can be found here.

ALT conference in Nottingham, UK

The ALT (Association for Learning Technology) conference took place this year from 7-9 September in Nottingham, UK and attracted over 500 people to what is probably one of Europe’s leading academic conferences on educational techology attracting more and more participants and members from non-UK organisations.

ALT this year offered a terrific mix of provocative presentations, really stimulating discussions and workshop sessions and a rich mix of networking opportunities. Despite the general atmosphere of doom and gloom in the UK Higher Education sector, ALT-C was awash with new initiatives, innovative developments and a great sense that education technology held the key to many of the challenges facing universities. Sally Reynolds was there to highlight the MEDEA Awards and the Media & Learning Brussels 2010 conference as well as to promote the Media in Education Newsletter.

She was also there to explore opportunities for collaboration particularly in relation to the use of media in teaching and learning including the use of existing media resources provided through the EUscreen project. Interest in the use of video is high within the ALT community where a new Video in Teaching & Learning special interest group was launched this year.

ICL conference in Hasselt, Belgium

Sally Reynolds presented the work being undertaken by ATiT in relation to the use of media resources for teaching and learning at the recent 13th annual ICL conference held in Hasselt from 15-17 September. During her presentation, Sally described the growing interest in using media for teaching and learning and several of the initiatives in which ATiT in involved. This includes the annual MEDEA Awards as well as the courses being run for teachers and trainers by ATiT on how to use existing media resources as well as how to create their own video clips. During her presentation Sally promoted the EUscreen project which will provide high-quality video material for teachers to use in classrooms.

Deutsches Kulturerbe auf dem Weg in die Europeana in Berlin, Germany

Birgit Gray from Deutsche Welle (DW) gave a 20-minute presentation at the event “Deutsches Kulturerbe auf dem Weg in die Europeana” (German cultural heritage on its way to Europeana) on 4 Oct 2010. The two-day conference entailed presentations from German partners in Europeana-related projects and from other relevant institutions. DW presented its three projects related to Europeana: VideoActive, EUscreen and Assets.  About 100 participants from German libraries, national archives, audiovisual archives and other interested participants from the digital library domain attended the presentation about EUscreen.

The National Library of Sweden organized a meeting on Open Access at the 76th IFLA 2010 Conference in Gothenburg

By Christopher Natzén

During the 76th IFLA Conference “Open access to knowledge – promoting sustainable progress” between 10-15 August, the National Library of Sweden (KB) initiated a satellite meeting on the 9th of August in cooperation with the libraries of the universities of Gothenburg, Uppsala, Lund and Malmö under the headline “Open Access and the Changing Role of Libraries”. The aim was to address questions relating to Open Access and its effect on academic libraries. Increasingly libraries are involved in supporting the creation and dissemination of scientific and scholarly information, which for example requires that new competencies become strengthened within libraries, and that technical platforms for publishing and archiving will be developed. Full presentations in English can be found here.

Advise the European Commission about digitalisation of and access to cultural heritage!

The Reflection Group has been asked to advise the European Commission about how to accelerate the process of digitalisation and access of cultural heritage. The Reflection Group is an independent group of 12 members, which started in 2008 and advises the European Union in various longer term matters. For this particular subject on cultural heritage, the group has set up a questionnaire to consult the field and gather there expertise.

“This consultation is launched by the Comité to feed its reflection and subsequent recommendations. As the cultural sector is undergoing a revolutionary transition worldwide, Europe is looking for innovative solutions to reap the social and economic benefits of the technological advances. The Comité des Sages is therefore seeking your views on key issues of this process, including on the sources of funding for digitisation, the exploitation models of content digitised with public funding or on conditions governing public-private partnerships for digitisation. You are invited to respond to the consultation by 30 September 2010. The Comité des Sages will analyse the responses and a follow-up hearing is scheduled to take place in Brussels on 28 October 2010.”
(IPM website )

The questionnaire can be found here

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