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

Conference notes II: Archival case studies that inspire

Author: Kathrin Müllner, Maria Drabczyk

 

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. Session II was dedicated to audiovisual stories & best practices.

Digitization, media education, live performances – all under one roof

mdrabczyk_qbackx_20141030_IMG_9377The session, moderated by Marco Rendina from  Cinecittá LUCE was opened with a presentation by Michał Merczyński, director of  National Audiovisual Institute (NInA). This public cultural institution is based in Warsaw, Poland and was set up in 2005 as a publishing house, then transformed into NInA in 2009. The focus of NInA lies on digitizing and publishing the archives documenting Poland’s audiovisual heritage and becoming a leading cultural institution in this field.

The key objective of the Institute is to enrich its audiovisual archives by creating context and making access more user-friendly. In its video on demand service, launched last year, NInA started building thematic collections concentrated on one single access point. One such example is the portal Three Composers, which was shortlisted for the FIAT/IFTA Archive Achievements Awards in 2014.

A short video tutorial explaining how to navigate through Three Composers music collection.

NInA cooperates with national and international partners specialised in film, music and theatre, Google Cultural Institute and many more. Around 98% of the content available on its main access point – NINATEKA – is free of charge. Through NINATEKA EDU – the biggest educational project of the Institute, there are more than 1700 items, special collections and additional educational recources available for teachers. Although the web is the most natural environment for NInA’s activities, the Institute engages in various programmes in the real world to create an interest in the use of digital archives and to engage the end users.  With a new venue to be opened in May 2015, NInA keeps being in transition between the analog and the digital era and tries to link the old with the new. After Michał Merczyński’s presentation a shared feeling was visible among the audience: we may not be able to pronounce any of the names or tools but NInA surely got us engaged!

Breaking News: 1914 can still inspire!

mdrabczyk_qbackx_20141030_IMG_9397From Poland to France. After a packed and inspiring presentation about a freshly set up AV institution Laurent Duret from Les Films d’Ici took us on a journey into the past. The aim of his long-term, interactive and in-depth narrative project 1914:Breaking news was to bring back the collective memory from the First World War. As the understanding of the events of 1914-1918  obviously differs in France and Germany, a decision was made to focus on these two. Even though the contract for the project was signed in Berlin in 2009, it took Mr. Duret and his international team of historians, archivists and museum experts four long years of research before the documentary was finally finished. All scenes in the film were inspired by 14 diaries from all over Europe, in order to get a broad view of the daily life of the time. In cooperation with ARTE and various newspaper publishers in Europe, the material was broadcasted on a mobile website first, that kept a calendar of daily events leading up to the war. Only later was the documentary shown on television.

1914 Breaking news trailer from Laurent Duret

In order to attract wider attention of various target groups in an innovative and interactive way, Mr Duret and his team drew special attention to shareability and presence on social media. Moreover an online music quiz was developed in which users had to find out if the lyrics of a particular song belonged to a 1914 pop song or a contemporary hip hop song from 2014. This website had over one million unique visitors and about 30 million people saw the documentary on TV. 1914: Breaking news is a marvelous example of digital storytelling and shows how to engage millions of people with a challenging topic, depicting one of Europe’s darkest times.

A DIVE in Digital Hermeneutics

mdrabczyk_qbackx_20141030_IMG_9395Lora Aroyo from the VU University Amsterdam added an academic perspective to the conversation by holding the last presentation of the session with a special focus on digital hermeneutics and the CrowdTruth platform – a framework for crowdsourcing ground truth data. The aim of the project is to get the data to train, test and evaluate cognitive computing systems. In terms of user engagement, the question for Aroyo remains: how to make this engagement possible in a more scalable and reusable way? In contrast to the common approach – namely asking experts – engaging a large crowd allows different interpretations (harnessing disagreement) and annotations. The CrowdTruth workflow involves three main steps: exploring and processing input data, collecting annotation data, and applying disagreement analytics on the results.

Mrs. Aroyo pointed out that when in a museum, people are guided through exhibitions. On the internet, they are left to themselves. A support is missing. The web is chaos! The argument led Lora Aroyo swiftly to the second part of her speech, in which she presented the DIVE browser – developed to provide innovative access on heritage objects from heterogeneous collections, using historical events and narratives as the context for searching, browsing and presenting of individual and group objects. DIVE is supposed to help people in their online exploration and research. Its interface invites users to continue their explorations by “diving into” a topic and get to infinity of exploration. DIVE is definitely a wonderful “How to…” approach on user engagement – you should want to try it for yourself.

 

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

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

Virtual Exhibitions shortlisted for FIAT/IFTA’s Archive Achievement Awards.

EUscreen’s Virtual Exhibitions entered the second round of one of the most prestigous competitions in the audio-visual archiving domain: FIAT/IFTA’s Archive Achievement Award 2013. It presents the most exciting audiovisual projects of the year and invites you to choose your favourite and vote for it.

The EUscreen Virtual Exhibitions have been shortlisted in the category Most Innovative Use of Archive. We’re most happy to say that we compete wagainst two projects that are close to us: EUscreen partners RTÉ Archives & Sound and Vision have been nominated with respectively The School Around The Corner and The Sound of the Netherlands.

Exhibiting EUscreen

To help users get the most from the EUscreen material, researchers, experts and members of its partner broadcasters and audiovisual archives have created a series of online exhibitions. They cover historical events, political debates and everyday life in Europe. Designing the VE tools has included various activities. Virtual Exhibition builder prototypes have been developed and tested incrementally in order to reflect the needs of the different users and to improve the ease of use.

The tools designed for these exhibitions allow for the insertion of multimedia materials from all the project’s content providers. The clips link back to the original items on the site, where users can find out more about them, share the links or get in touch with the providers themselves. 23 exhibitions with multiple strands have been produced in 2012. In the new EUscreenXL project, we’ll be working on pilots to get the tools ready for everyone to start creating their own exhibitions.

Archive achievements

The worldwide organisation FIAT/IFTA has been handing out Archive Achievement awards since 1994. A professional jury decides on the winners, but in certain categories voting is open for the wider audience. The votes from all over the world are collected by August 12th, 2013 and a winner will be announced on October 26th at the Archive Achievement Awards Ceremony during the 2013 FIAT/IFTA World Conference in Dubai. Enough time. we’d say to take a look at the various inspiring archival projects and to give your vote to the project you like best.

More information:

[juicebox gallery_id=”3″]

Exhibitions on Civil Rights, Public Broadcasting, Language and Money

The EUscreen virtual exhibitions were launched during August with 10 exhibitions exploring a range of topics from European identity to Television History and much more. Some exhibitions include materials from all partner archives, while others have been curated by the archives themselves and offer expert narratives on their own content. The first exhibition series saw contributions from RTV Slovenia on the history of the broadcaster, Sound and Vision in the Netherlands on architecture, KB on Sportswomen and Swedish Television and an exploration of French TV History, provided by Ina.

We are now happy to announce a new batch of exhibitions. These new exhibitions include material from Ireland provided by RTÉ in their exhibition on civil rights, Deutsche Welle’s exploration of the Euro which covers the period from its introduction right up the current crisis, the exhibition from Televisió de Catalunya on the importance of Catalan language and culture and an examination of broadcasting in Flanders, curated by VRT, which suggests how the broadcaster has interpreted its role as a public service broadcaster.

All of these exhibitions plus a range of others that are curated from material on the site and cover topics such as food, fashion, culture and holidays can be accessed now. Go to the EUscreen portal or directly to the exhibitions page at www.euscreen.eu/exhibitions.html to explore them all.

CEN Standards for Metadata about Cinematographic Works

Report on the Prague workshop, May 25-27 2011 by Erwin Verbruggen

While Prague was hosting the annual ELAG conference, where librarians gather to talk about linking and upgrading existing data models (“MARC must die!” was among the most popular tweets during the event), the Bohemian city was host to a parallel metadata gathering of film archivists. In the cosy screening room Ponrepo of the Czech National Film Archive, the European Committee for Standardization (CEN)’s standard models for film EN 15907 and its sibling EN 15744 were presented to an international gathering.

The audience consisted of a mix of institutions that care for audio-visual heritage ranging from television, media art and video to film historical collections. Some of them had already been experimenting with the standard in their daily operations (such as EYE Film Institute Netherlands and the British Film Institute). Others were undecided yet as to what model to use or had previously made that decision for themselves.

The model itself can be seen as a variant on the FRBR model, though with a few important differences. It is built up by a top level (the Cinematographic Work), a Variant level for the different versions, a Manifestation level, which separates the different media types and an Item level to describe the particular technicalities. All these different levels have in their turn Agents who influence, instigate or collaborate on them and Events that make them happen.

The group dynamic of the workshop resulted in lively discussions which caused the model’s developer, Detlev Balzer, to invite each and all to point out their needs and clarifications by collaborating on the project’s film standards wiki. The content of the workshop and a great deal of background information can be found on this wiki space.

A separate topic for debate was brought in by Murnau Stiftung’s restorer Anke Wilkeninck’s talk about the film elements of Fritz Lang’s Spione. She rebutted the assumption that when talking about the variants of a film, we need to look for a single Original. As silent pictures could come out in different colour or local versions with drastic differences in both montage and narrative, restorers can find themselves looking at several equivalent versions of a film that has no singular origin. The EN 15907 model is interoperable and thus capable of clarifying the multiplicity of such versions and, linking the different nodes that add up a film production to information bases within or amongst institutions and on the web.

In order to obtain the full reach of this standard’s goals, it wi’ll be key for some pioneering institutions to share their interpretations of the model. One example of how it can be used in a real life database is to be found at the Flemish toolbox for cultural heritage institutions, CEST, which wrote a guideline for its implementation (in Dutch) in the AdLib software. A second example will be highlighted in Paris, during the fourth workshop in this series (June 22-24,) where the BFI will perform a special session about their vision on and upcoming implementation of the standard. The next step is now for standardization bodies (such as the FIAF Cataloguing and Documentation Commission) to define some ground rules for cataloguing and for all interested parties to further evaluate and collaborate on the model.

More information: www.filmstandards.org

BBC Research & Development launched Musical Moods sound experiment at National Science & Engineering Week 2011

Press release by the BBC

As part of National Science & Engineering Week and BBC Research & Development’s Multimedia Classification project, BBC R&D, the British Science Association and the University of Salford launched the Musical Moods research project.

To help produce a new way of classifying decades of programmes within the BBC digital archive, the BBC is conducting a pioneering online experiment asking the general public about the moods they associate with a range of past and present TV theme tunes.

In this experiment members of the public were asked to rate the moods of TV theme tunes from the BBC archive. Through these ratings, the BBC hopes to be able to identify the particular moods portrayed by the theme tunes.

Once the data is collected, they can then train computers to analyse different TV theme tunes throughout the archive and automatically determine what emotions and moods they convey.

It is hoped that the results from this online experiment will assist in the creation of an entirely novel method of classifying online content. This would allow users to browse and search the archives based on what is happening in the programme, rather than by using factual descriptions manually added.

An experiment to collect this type of data has never been conducted on this scale before; it is expected that the results will be of considerable interest to many parties so the data will be published in the public domain.

By listening to five randomly selected clips of TV theme tunes, listeners will be asked questions such as:

  • What is the mood of the theme tune?
  • What genre of TV programme is the theme tune from?
  • Are you familiar with the tune? or Do you like the theme tune?

Acoustic Engineer Trevor Cox from the University of Salford said: “As the pubic enjoy themselves on the website, they will be helping us answer some really interesting research questions such as how well theme tunes portray the mood of a TV or radio programme.

“There has been surprisingly little research into this. As well as helping us to understand theme music better, the public will give us vital data which will allow us to train computer programmes to identify the mood of theme music automatically.”

Sam Davies, Research Engineer from BBC R&D, said: “The BBC Archive records the BBC’s output over the past 80 years, in the form of TV and radio programmes, news reports, written documentation, sound effects, images, and programme listings. It’s a rich record of recent British history, society, and the relationship between the corporation and the public that pay for it.

“However, making the rich content available and accessible online is a difficult challenge. The Musical Moods experiment breaks new ground by examining how theme music might be used to make it easier to find material in the archive.”

Roland Jackson, Chief Executive of the British Science Association said: “National Science & Engineering Week is all about engaging as many people as possible with the sciences and engineering.

“Projects like Musical Moods offer a fun and accessible way for the public to become part of the science that makes the UK a world leader in the field.”

Music has long been used within television and film to heighten and develop the mood of the content, or to help set the intended programme’s tone.

Research suggests there are between 8 and 10 different types of mood that music can portray and the music before a film or TV programme can change our perceived mood of that film.

As little research has been conducted in theme tunes, a variety of theme tunes from across the breadth of the BBC Archive is selected, across both musical and TV genres for this experiment. Listeners will hear a range of tunes from across the BBC Archive and might find themselves taking a trip down memory lane!

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

Funded by: Connected to: