go to www.euscreen.eu

Celebrating Balkans’ Memory

Author: Erwin Verbruggen

The Balkans brim with history. The Balkan’s Memory project attempted, for the last three years, to reach out and bring tools to the region to preserve it. An ambitious goal, uniting film and television archives from across all different countries in the region.

Sarajevo's old town CC-BY-SA Erwin VerbruggenIn Sarajevo, the project celebrated its achievements with a final conference, at the majestuous Hotel Europe  – home to European diplomats and others with interests in the region. Squarely positioned next to the city’s Ottoman-style old town, it was the perfect location to talk about the future of the past.

Balkan’s Memory is a project led by the French Institut National de l’Audiovisuel (Ina), the Mediterranean Permanent Conference for the Audiovisual (COPEAM), the Croatian Audiovisual Centre and the National Film Archive of Albania (AQSHF). With support from the European Commission, it set up a series of conferences and symposia in Zagreb, Tirana, Belgrade, Podgorica and Skopje (the latter also home to this year’s FIAF conference). Together they explored the various skills an audiovisual archive needs to go well into the 21st Century.

What Archives Need

Balkans' MemoryBoth Sead Bajrić and Ella Pavlovic from Bosnian broadcaster BHRT stressed the importance or re-establishing a network and links that over the years had gotten lost. As ministers Denisa Sarajlić-Maglić, Deputy Minister of Civil Affairs, and Minister of Culture Ivica Sarić stressed, especially in a time where the budgets for culture areas low as they are, it remains important to research common activities in the region. Especially in the Balkans, which experienced events that didn’t contribute to the preservation of anything, it’s most important to look ahead and apply best practices for preserving cultural objects.

As Delphine Wibaux (Ina) explained, archival practices can be summed up and taken up in a three-year project like this quite nicely. The assumption at the start of the project was that to preserve a region’s audiovisual heritage, what’s needed is a combination of political wilingness, money, knowledge & competences. Out of this assumption came 3 main actions that,  in cooperation with EBU, were implemented by:

  • Raising awareness among decision-makers on the necessity to invest in archive preservation
  • Analyzing the situation of av materials
  • Exchanging know-how between the archives.

The project set out to achieve these actions by executing complete appraisal of archives collections of PSM and Film archives and the region. Another outcome was that out of the project an operational team arose as a think tank of public service media heads of archives.

What Archives Can Learn

Sarajevo's old town CC-BY-SA Erwin VerbruggenDaniel Teruggi (Ina) set out to give an overview of the history of archival concepts and the relationship between giving access and digitizing collections. Traditional notices of archives are in direct contradiction to the digital paradigm, in which access has become the most important driver for digitisation, rather than storage and long-term record keeping. Mimi Gjorgoska Ilievska stressed the importance of archives exchanging networking & training. Examples of this need were given by Blago Markota (HRT), Dana Mustata (RUG) and ​​Christel Goossens (EBU).

Markota detailed how the Croatian broadcaster’s policies are informed by working in an international context, with domain networks such as FIAT/IFTA, EBU and the Europeana family through EUscreen. Mustata explained how the Television Studies Commission of FIAT/IFTA aims to use the gathered brainpower of media academics to inform archive collection’s selection policies and methods of providing access to the public in a supra-national setting. Eastern European content specifically is extra hidden under behind a language barrier. The commission set up a Training & Studies grant for young researchers. Its next workshop will be held at TVR Bucharest in March 2015 on the topic of Unlocking Broadcast Archives in Eastern Europe. Ms. Goossens talked about the EBU’s partnership programme, which was set up to provide EBU members who find themselves in difficulties with scholarships, consultancy and ‘solidarity packages’. The broadcasting union received funds from the EU to develop public service media broadcasters’ strengths in the Balkan region, the results of which will be presented in 2015. Ms. Ilievska closed the training part with an overview of film-related activities done by the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF), namely the Film Restoration Summer School, and the Association des Cinémathèques Européennes (ACE) , which set up a series of workshops to improve film archive management policies.

What Archives Can Achieve When They Collaborate

Saša Tkalec from the Croatian Conservation Institute moderated the panel on collaboration, in which the
European Film Gateway was presented by Aleksandar Erdeljanović from Belgrade-based Yougoslavian Cinematheque. Erwin Verbruggen explained the ins and outs of the work we do in EUscreen.

Jean-Gabriel Minel told the riveting story of how Ina built a moveable digitisation station that was shipped across the seven seas to aid archives across the French territories to digitize their collections. Snežana Radonćić from RTCG and Aleksandra Cerović from the Cinematheque in Montenegro showed a successful collaboration between their organisations for film preservation.

CC BY-SA Erwin VerbruggenThe final round table them discussed the different existing ways of financing and on which criteria they select the projects they want to support. Eriona Vyshka from the Albanian film archive  AQSHF moderated. ​Antonia Kovacheva, whose  organisation BNFA has had to move 19 times over the past decades, presented her dream of financing the preservation of film collections in Bulgaria. One nightmare came true last week, when a tabloid spread the news that one of Bulgaria’s blockbuster movies was lost – while it was simply available in the film archive. Nobody had called them to verify the story.  ​Sanja Ravlić from the Croatian Audiovisual Centre explained how she is pushing and lobbying to include audiovisual heritage in the strategy of Croatia’s  funding for digitizing cultural heritage. Camille Martin (Ina), one of the co-organisers of the conference, finally presented the Save you Archive programme, which is financed by FIAT/IFTA.

The End – A New Beginning

As such, the event was jam-packed with information and brought archive keepers together from across several borders, sub-domains and specializations. We are specifically looking forward to seeing the results of all this knowledge sharing as more open and accessible Balkan archives in the near future!

Conference notes III: To crowdsource a Faustian dilemma

Author: Erwin Verbruggen
Conference Banner image

 

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

FIAT/IFTA Announces Seminar on Television Documentary

The Third FIAT/IFTA Television Studies Seminar on Television Documentary
March 13th and 14th 2014

 

FIAT/IFTA TSC Logo

The FIAT/IFTA Television Studies Commission will organise a two-day seminar, entirely devoted to Television Documentary, hosted by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision at Hilversum.

On the first day 13th March 2014, former and current practitioners will discuss their work in a witness seminar and extracts from their work will be screened.

The second day will be open for presentations of scholarly work on any aspect of television documentary, its history, practice, and aesthetics. Comparative studies are particularly welcome. Scholars are invited to send in their 250-word abstracts and a short biography by December 1st, 2013.

The Seminar language will be English. We are asking participating FIAT/IFTA member archives to provide research facilities and extracts free of charge to candidates whose abstracts are selected.

Initial enquiries should be made to the appropriate member of the Television Studies Commission and completed proposals sent to the same person by 1st December 2013.

The Television Studies Commission members and the areas they are responsible for are:

  • For participants from the UK: Steve Bryant, BFI (steve.bryant@bfi.org.uk)
  • For participants from France and other French-speaking countries: Claude Mussou, INA (cmussou@ina.fr)
  • For Dutch/Flemish speakers: Bert Hogenkamp, Beeld en Geluid (bhogenkamp@beeldengeluid.nl)
  • For US participants: Mike Mashon, Library of Congress (mima@loc.gov)
  • For Central and Eastern European participants and members of the European History Television Network: Dana Mustata, University of Groningen (d.mustata@rug.nl)
  • For Irish participants: Liam Wylie, RTE (Liam.Wylie@rte.ie)
  • For all other potential participants, send your proposals to Andy O’Dwyer, BBC (andy.odwyer@bbc.co.uk).

TV3 in focus on Critical Studies in Television

Image by Turisme de Subirats

The ‘Featured Archive’ series on Critical Studies in Television focuses  on a different television archive each month. Its latest installment turns the spotlights on a EUscreen partner from Catalonia: broadcaster TV3.

Director of TV3’s Documentation Department Alícia Conesa and Montse Fortino both hold degrees in librarianship and have a broad experience working at the Catalan public television broadcaster Televisió de Catalunya (TV3). In the CST article, they provide an intriguing insight into TV3’s broadcast history, mission and archive material.

Read the article at http://cstonline.tv/tv3-catalunya to find out more about TV3’s societal function, digital archive and its effort to promote the use of the Catalan language. Moreover, view the Tricicle Theater company’s look at the world of sports for a guaranteed world of genuine Catalan pleasure.

For the full list of Featured Archives, visit: http://www.cstonline.tv/category/featured-archives

Researching Film and Television Through the Archive

The National Film and Sound Archive's collection contains approximately 1.7 million collection items.

The one-day multi-disciplinary symposium Researching Film and Television Through the Archive, jointly hosted on November 9th 2012 by University of Warwick’s Department of Film and Television Studies and the Institute of Advanced Study, will explore the practices and implications of researching film and television through the archive.

Making the archive the basis of a project or incorporating archival research into an existing project can be an insightful, rewarding, and frequently also a frustrating experience. The symposium will offer a space for archival researchers from across disciplines to share practices, methodologies and experiences of using different types of archives to research film and television texts, contexts and histories.

Call for Contributions

Abstracts are invited for contributions that seek to further understand the possibilities and boundaries of conducting archival research. Contributions can take the form of a 20 minute paper – outlining research ideas related to the themes of the symposium – or a 10 minute presentation – discussing the practical, methodological or scholarly implications of using archival research as an aspect of film and television research.

Contributions are particularly welcome in the following areas:

  • Archival research methodologies
  • Why do archival research?
  • The allure of the archive
  • Practical aspects of using archives
  • Archiving policy and practice
  • The possibilities of the archive
  • The limits and limitations of archival research
  • The archive, impact and the REF

Abstracts (max 200 words), along with a short biographical note and a specification of the type of contribution you wish to make, are due by Monday October 8th 2012. Please send your abstract to Richard.wallace@warwick.ac.uk .

 

Over 13 millions records relating to film, television and radio accessed via pioneering search environment

British Universities Film & Video Council Media Release 

An innovative ‘all-in-one’ search engine allowing users to access nine online databases, containing more than 13 million records, relating to film, television and radio content has been launched on June 16 by Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL) and the British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC). 

The BUFVC federated search environment will allow researchers to search all collections from a single entry point and easily view collated results through a clean design and user-friendly icons.  The interactive online research tools offer ‘human-friendly’ result filters, intelligently generated ‘related records & searches’, and have a detailed user history and export function.

Increasing quantities of archive film, television and radio content are available, but the content is usually delivered as stand-alone collections, with users needing to know where to look before they begin their research.  The BUFVC federated search environment will transform moving image and sound resource discovery by replacing the need for researchers to locate and access various databases and collections through multiple channels. 

The BUFVC federated search environment benefited from extensive user testing by researchers, teaching support staff, librarians and academics. The multi-purpose search engine and interface will be released under an open source licence this summer.

The BUFVC federated search environment is the result of a collaborative project between the British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC) and Royal Holloway, University of London.  The research project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) under the Digital Equipment and Database enhancement for Impact programme.

The BUFVC federated search environment can be found at http://beta.bufvc.ac.uk/

PrestoCentre Training Course 2011: Long-Term Audiovisual Digital Preservation. Strategy, Planning and Tools

Press release by PrestoCentre

From 12-16 September in Paris and Bry-sur-Marne, France, PrestoCentre organises as part of its Professional Development Training Series a course in “Long-Term Audiovisual Digital Preservation: Strategy, Planning & Tools”. Participants in the course include large audiovisual archives, service providers and technology providers.

Training Course Summary
The audiovisual (AV) record of the 20th century is at risk, with digitisation being a solution, but this created a new problem: the preservation of digital AV content. Managers and technical staff of the AV industry need to be knowledgeable of, and understand how to use, the latest digital preservation technologies, in order to procure the safety of these documents of cultural heritage. Based on the experiences of some of the largest audiovisual and broadcast archives in Europe, this training will give a complete account of the tools and technologies available for the digital preservation of, and access to, audiovisual content, outlining strategies, workflows and architecture planning. In addition, the training provides a range of informative visits to a variety of relevant sites.

Course Topics
Strategy; preservation planning; OAIS; workflow; architecture; mass storage; formats; encoding; compression; metadata; preservation metadata; quality control; service management; risk management; rights management; partnerships; state of the art; support mechanisms; future developments.

More Information and Registration
Visit http://training2011.prestocentre.eu for programme, background and more information. Registration is limited to 40 delegates, so click here to register now.

About PrestoCentre
PrestoCentre brings together a community of stakeholders in audiovisual digitisation and digital preservation to share, work and learn. PrestoCentre helps custodians and creators of audiovisual content make the most of their digital archives through advocacy, information creation, knowledge leveraging, and valuable practical workshops. Using free tools and simple strategies PrestoCentre saves you money and time whilst improving long-term access to your digital audiovisual collections. PrestoCentre does this by helping you share your experiences and learn from best practices.

ERT becomes an associate partner in EUscreen

Ellinikí Radiofonía Tileórasi (ERT), the Greek state broadcasting company has committed itself to EUscreen by becoming an associate partner. The audiovisual archive of ERT will contribute some of their rich content from Greek television. ERT is the second content provider from Greece, the other one, the Hellenic National Audiovisual Archive is a consortium partner of EUscreen. Together they provide access to the audiovisual treasures of Greece.

Funded by: Connected to: