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’.

Read about the major developments of EUscreen in the annual report

By Wietske van den Heuvel

EUscreen’s annual report is now published online. The report describes the major developments during the first year of the project. With the first release of the EUscreen coming up soon, the report provides valuable insights in the choices that are made and the effort that is put into the creation of the first version of such a portal. Some highlights from the report:

  • The milestones for the first year have been reached. These are milestone 1, project establishment and milestone 2, definition of the user requirements and the metadata schema.
  • A detailed description of the user groups, their needs and user requirements.
  • An overview of the architecture of the portal and a preview of the frontend and the backend.
  • A definition of the content selection guidelines and the metadata schema.
  • A summary of activities that have been undertaken.

Read the full report.

World Day for Audiovisual Heritage: TVC digital archive holds more than 135.00 hours of video

Press release from TVC

UNESCO had proclaimed 27 October as World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, to highlight the importance of audiovisual materials (films, records video and audio, radio and television) and  to encourage the protection and preservation of this documents as  fundamental part of the cultural heritage and  expression of national identity. The social and cultural development of XX and XXI centuries can not be understood without the audiovisual documents, which have become indispensable complements of written documents.

From its creation, in 1983, TVC, Televisió de Catalunya, has preserved all its production and broadcastings. Today, TVC  archive is an important part of the Catalan Audiovisual Heritage. Catalan political, social and cultural development since 1983 is reflected in TVC archive. TVC productions are complemented by older materials, retrieved in other archives or private collections for the production of historical documentaries and included also in the archive.

In  2004  TVC implemented a digital production and archive system, Digition. The  process of digitizing the old archive  tapes to incorporate its content  into the digital archive had started in 2006. Today, 45% of videotapes holdings are already digitized. For the digitizing process there have been prioritized materials in obsolete or fragile tapes, but also materials than are most likely to be used. Thus, some archive collections, like the broadcast news and sports stories from 1984, or the program “30 minutes”,  are already digitized nearly 100%.

Internal users have direct access to all the digital archive  materials,  managed and indexed by the Documentation Department. Archive holdings are widely used. More than 500 clips, about 75 hours, are retrieved from the archive by day, for different purposes: rebroadcasting, reuse in new productions, sales..

An important part of the digital archive is also accessible online. In TVC website, 3alacarta video-on-demand service, nourished daily of new productions but also incorporating part the old material digitized, offers users more than 80,000 videos online. A selection of productions with educational value is also accessible in EDU3 website. And with the participation of TVC in European projects, as   VideoActive and EUscreen,, a significant selection of digital archive holdings are also accessible through Europeana.

With the digitalization of the archive, TVC is achieving a dual objective, preservation and accessibility, that is, ensure the permanent preservation of the images in the best possible quality and provide an easy access, both to internal and external users.

CALL FOR PARTICIPATION: First EUscreen International Conference on Content Selection Policy and Contextualisation

Date: 7-8 October 2010.
Location: Casa del Cinema. Largo Marcello Mastroianni 1, Rome, Italy.

The EUscreen best practice network is hosting a two-day international conference on content selection policies and contextualisation in the audiovisual domain. It will be held in Rome on 7 and 8 October 2010. The conference will focus on contextualisation of audiovisual material. Attendance is free, but pre-registration is compulsory as the number of seats is limited. The complete programme is published here.

The first conference day begins with a keynote speech by Professor. Andrew Hoskins, Professor of Cultural Studies at Nottingham University. The day will continue with plenary sessions by Dr. Lilian Landes, scientific co-ordinator of the recensio.net project at Bavaria State Library and Dr. Alec Badenoch, from Utrecht University. The afternoon programme includes three case studies and a keynote speech lecturer and filmmaker Professor. Johan Söderberg.

The second conference day will be devoted to two half-day workshops. The first workshop will focus upon creative reuse of archive material. Peter B. Kaufman, president of Intelligent Television, will talk about ‘Unlocking Audiovisual Value’ through reuse. His keynote speech will be followed by four case studies (from INA, Sound and Vision, VRT and ELTE).

The central topic of the second workshop is ‘selection criteria and success indicators for large-scale AV digitisation programmes’. It begins with a keynote address from Professor. John Ellis, Professor of Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London, and will be followed by case studies from the BBC, DR, Memoriav and Sound and Vision. Both days also include panel discussions.

Make sure to register in time, as there are only a few tickets left.

More information 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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