Royal Holloway launch of EUscreen portal – 4th April, BBC Television Centre

By Dr Sian Barber – Postdoctoral Researcher, RHUL

The EUscreen portal was launched by Sian Barber and Rob Turnock from Royal Holloway, University of London on Monday 4th April at BBC Television Centre to the Southern Broadcast History Group. This group comprises a number of broadcast historians, senior academics, archivists and industry professionals drawn from 8 different British Universities, the BBC and the British Film Institute.

As well as the launch of the EUscreen portal, this one day event saw detailed debates and discussions about current work in the field of Broadcasting history, notably radio in America, Germany and Britain in the 1930s and Broadcasting policy in the 1980s which fore grounded the importance of users and citizens as active listeners and viewers.

Showcasing EUscreen.eu
For the EUscreen launch, Rob Turnock gave a brief introduction to the project, highlighting the possibilities of the site as a research resource as well as one for teaching and learning. Rob explained the role of Royal Holloway within the project and mentioned some of the challenges encountered on the project so far and the way in which the project team have worked to overcome them. Particular attention was paid to how the portal will focus upon the needs of users and the issues faced in integrating differing metadata schema and providing the necessary contextual information to a disparate range of users. Rob also mentioned the Virtual Exhibitions and the e-journal which will allow for interactive discussion around the content and increase dissemination activity, and would be of great interest to the Research Group.

This discussion of the project was followed with a demonstration of the portal. Rob highlighted three different ways of searching the portal; basic search, advanced search and searching by language. Much attention was given to the detailed metadata which accompanies each individual record, and the way in which the fourteen historical topics provide a structure to the portal which promotes easier searching and filtering.

The explore function was also demonstrated to show how content on the site could be filtered by genre to see what exists in different categories. Rob also drew attention to the list of languages currently available, noting that a much wider range of languages will exist in the next version of the portal. Rob also stressed that in the next release, the portal will have increased functionality and greater interoperability.

Following the presentation, questions were raised about the rationale behind the e-journal, what kind of content it would include and when it would be published online. There was also further discussion about the range of content providers who were involved in the project and if other material from different content providers could be added and integrated at a later date. These queries promoted a broader discussion of the project as a whole and many expressed interest in looking at the portal in more detail and for research and teaching purposes.

Connect to 400 years of history through millions of historical records

JISC news release

Millions of historical records have become more accessible to the public through a JISC funded project at the universities of Hertfordshire, London and Sheffield. Connected Histories provides a single point of access to a wide range of distributed digital resources relating to early modern and nineteenth-century British history. The Connected Histories website is fully searchable and provides access to millions of pages of text, hundreds of thousands of words and tens of thousands maps and images. It incorporates the following digital sources:

• British History Online
• British Newspapers 1600-1900
• Charles Booth Online Archive
• Clergy of the Church of England Database 1540–1835
• London Lives, 1690–1800
• Old Bailey Proceedings Online, 1674–1913
• Origins Network
• Parliamentary Papers
• Printed Ephemera from the Bodleian Library
• Strype’s Survey of London

Access the resources here.

Project Launch: “Erster Weltkrieg in Alltagsdokumenten” – The First World War in everyday documents

Press release by Europeana

Pictures, letters and memorabilia wanted
Berlin, 24 March 2011: “The First World War in everyday documents” is launched today with a call to the public in Germany to participate in building a digital European archive by contributing private memorabilia from the First World War. We are looking for photographs, letters, diaries, short films, audio recordings, objects and their stories. Following the launch of the project, four roadshows take place in Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Munich and Stuttgart. The project is a partnership between Europeana, the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek and Oxford University.

Call for participation
We ask everybody to bring World War 1 memorabilia to the roadshows. They will be digitised professionally and added to the online archive, along with corresponding descriptions. Independently of the roadshows, everyone can contribute their digitised images and information to the website. Until 2014, the year of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One, we will collect memorabilia in digital form from many of the countries involved in the War. The project aims to save people’s family memories of this tragedy that convulsed Europe and make them accessible to the world.

The historian Prof Dr Gerhard Hirschfeld of Universität Stuttgart/Bibliothek für Zeitgeschichte, highlights the significance of the project: “It is vital that we hold onto private letters and documents to reconstruct the everyday life of wartime and the mindsets of those involved. We need to give a voice to those people who otherwise remain silent. Their experiences as well as their fears, hopes and fantasies are normally inaccessible to historians.” Memorabilia and stories are kept by families for a while, but after a century their significance is starting to fade. This First World War digital archive makes it possible to renew and share their significance.

“By inviting people to actively contribute to its content, Europeana opens up to users on a new level. To bring together family lore and the memories of those involved in World War One from different countries, who have experienced this time as allies or opponents, is a fascinating undertaking. World War One resonates in the collective memory, and this project will spark renewed popular interest and also scholarly research,“ said Dr Elisabeth Niggemann, Chair of the Europeana Foundation and Director General of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, outlining Europeana’s aims for the project.

A new approach: crowdsourcing
One innovative aspect of the project is the application of crowdsourcing – collecting input from people at large and assembling a wide variety of family memorabilia which will be made accessible to the public and to researchers. In 2008, Oxford University produced a remarkable collection of 1914-18 papers, pictures, souvenirs and memorable stories, digitised by people across the UK and the Commonwealth in the Great War Archive 

The film
One of the stories collected by the British project is connected to Germany. A contribution to the Great War Archive records the friendship of RAF man Bernard Darley and German prisoner of war Otto Arndt. A short film about this unlikely friendship illustrates the project’s intention vividly. Luise Arndt, Otto’s great-grandchild, finds out more about her grandfather on the website and even gets in touch with Bernard’s family.

Public digitisation roadshows

  • Deutsche Nationalbibliothek,  Frankfurt am Main 31 March 2011, 10-20 hours
  • Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – PK 2 April 2011, 10-17 hours
  • Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, München 6 April 2011, 10-20 hours
  • Württembergische Landesbibliothek /Bibliothek für Zeitgeschichte, Stuttgart 12 April 2011, 10-20 hours

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

1914-18 archive alliance signed

Press release by Europeana

The German National Library, Oxford University and Europeana have signed an agreement to digitise family papers and memorabilia from the First World War in order to create an online archive about the people involved in the conflict.

Oxford University began the initiative when it asked people across Britain to bring family letters, photographs and keepsakes from the War to be digitised. The success of the idea – which became the Great War Archive – has encouraged Europeana, Europe’s digital archive, library and museum, to bring the German National Library into an alliance with Oxford University to roll out the scheme in Germany. The collaboration will bring German soldiers’ stories online alongside their British counterparts in a 1914-18 archive.

There will be a series of roadshows in libraries around Germany that will invite people to bring documents and artefacts from family members involved in the First World War to be digitised by mobile scanning units, and to tell the stories that go with them. There will also be a website allowing people to submit material online if they are unable to attend the local events. Everything submitted will also be available through Europeana, where it add a new perspective to collections of First World War material from institutions across Europe.

Dr Elisabeth Niggemann, the German National Librarian, said, “We are proud to be part of this alliance. These artefacts and their stories have survived and we must record them while they are still part of family memory. Little of this material will ever have been on public display, or been made available to historians. What the 1914-18 War demonstrates, especially at the personal level, is the futility of war, and the pity of it for the men and their families.”

Stuart Lee, an Oxford University academic and Director of the Great War Archive said, “Working together with the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek and their partners in Germany to extend this initiative will give it new resonance. The Centenary in 2014 of the first year of the war will prompt many people to discover more about it and find out about family members involved. The 1914-18 archive will bring them close to those who witnessed it at first hand, showing the souvenirs that they kept throughout their lives and telling the stories that they handed down the generations.”

“One such story that was submitted to the Great War Archive during the British project exemplifies what we want to do. It concerns RAF man Bernard Darley who was commended for putting out a fierce fire in a workshop containing petrol tanks. At his side throughout was a German prisoner of war, Otto Arndt. The two became friends and Otto made a matchbox from a shell-casing as a memento which he inscribed and presented to his friend. This story shows the human side of the war – in this case an unlikely friendship between normal people caught up in a war not of their making.”

Jill Cousins, Executive Director of Europeana, says that the organisation is well placed to bring together such partnerships: “Europeana acts as the facilitator in an extensive cross-European network of libraries, museums and archives. We aim to create partnerships with organisations from other theatres of the First World War, such as Belgium, France and the Eastern Front, so their stories can be included.”

“The 1914-18 online archive will reflect the reality of the lives of the soldiery on different sides of the conflict. As a people’s history it will offer a vivid testimony that school students will find compelling, and we are keen to work with educational organisations to create teaching resources. We are also planning exhibitions and information services that provide a pan-European focus on activities around the 1914-18 centenary.”

British Universities Film and Video Council publishes Handbook 2011

Announcement

The edition of the BUFVC Handbook 2011 is now available and contains an overview of activities the British Universities Film and Video Council (BUFVC) is involved in and a description of resources that are useful for the academic community. In more detail, the handbook focusses on:

  • University audio-visual centres
  • UK film archives
  • Important media festivals and awards
  • Video distributors in the UK
  • Film and media training courses
  • Media legislation and reports issued during the last year
  • TRILT and the BoB National service

EUscreen is featured in this handbook as one of the research projects which can be used as a resource by academics who have an interest in European television history. The BUFVC Handbook 2011 is primarily written for specialists, students, teachers and academic service providers and can be ordered here.

Finalists in Irish Schools Film Competition

By Sally Reynolds

The Irish National FÍS (Film In Schools) Film Festival took place on 3 November at Dublin City University with over 800 children and their teachers attending from across the country. Over 25 awards were presented to schools and their students to celebrate their outstanding film achievements in moviemaking with particular acknowledgement in areas such as animation, acting, editing and direction. The FÍS project is an initiative designed to introduce the medium of film as a support to the Primary School Curriculum. You can view the 25 nominated films on the FÍS website. A Film Festival like this shows there is a need and a great interest in the use of audiovisual material in education.

Funded by: Connected to: