The Value of Audiovisual Archives

Try imagining all the world’s existing audiovisual material: all the films ever made, plus the television footage ever shot, plus all the sounds once recorded – add the scientific and military observations and home videos, the (super) 8 mm recordings, the YouTube generation’s creations. Then, try to visualise not the kilometers of celluloid or optical disks or hours and lifetimes it would take to see it all, but what the possible value of all those sounds and images would be.

Do they indeed, as the author of the just released report Assessing the Audiovisual Archive Market, Peter B. Kaufman, proposes, form a sort of crude oil – ready to be refined, reassembled and made into a new creative product?

In the same way that oil, pumped from the ground, is refined and then used to fuel transportation and industry, or iron, mined from the ground, is smelted into steel and used in construction, so audiovisual materials mined from the archives form part of the backbone of information, com- munication, and our creative knowledge economy, worldwide.

Assessing the Audiovisual Archive Market

Assessing the Audiovisual Archive Market: Models and Approaches for Audiovisual Content Exploitation was commissioned by PrestoCentre, the international competence centre for digital audiovisual preservation. It explores the ways that a audiovisual archives have been “examining, appreciating, and even embracing business and commercial interactions in the digital age”. The report takes a look back at 124 years of audiovisual archiving and how the challenge of preserving moving images and sounds has reached increasing levels of complexity.

This increased complexity, not in the least caused by the advent of digital production and storage methods, leads to a mirrored exchange between the access and preservation tasks of the contemporary archive: twin missions, as Kaufman calls them, that “twist around each other like the double helix of a modern memory institution’s DNA.” The paper investigates the forms and methods audiovisual archives have been approaching to fund this double mission and how they have shifted some of their attention towards possible cooperation with businesses and even taken advantage of existing commercial opportunities.

new opportunities for cultural heritage institutions to develop business models, revenue streams, and business knowledge — and in the process gain an even greater appreciation for the role they play in media, society, and our economies today — abound. This paper, focusing as it does on such opportunities, may provide activists in the field with inspiration and support.

In order to define the value of an audiovisual collection, one needs to get a clear idea about the costs involved – by mouth of one of the interviewees, the report states that “use has begun to define value”. Inversely, an item that is not well preserved, cannot be found and thus not used by anyone, ever again. The paper stresses the importance of access as a form of open access: the value that lies in use, sharing, reuse can only be realised when unrestricted online access allows participant from different online realms can use web tools to popularise and contextualise the assets. The paper intends to suggest that in the double helix between preservation and access, “support for one is support for both”.

It also underlines the need for the audiovisual archiving field that in dealing with the multi-billion dollar business partners who are currently so important for finding, exploring, discovering and buying media on the web, the field of archives and museums needs to be well aware of its value and importance, as well al the sensitivities we share and the experiences we’ve had.

No agent has been retained to represent the interests of libraries, archives, and museums, in the way an author or musician might retain one. No lawyers have been hired to pore over the body of agreements to date and highlight best practices for the community. No working group focused exclusively on improving public-private partnerships has been assembled and charged with a mission and a deadline. If the commercial sector is investing hundreds of millions of Euros, and a hundred billion are needed, we had better get started.

7 Recommendations

The report offers 7 Recommendations and proposes the development of four new tools for a smarter (re-)use of audiovisual archival content. The recommendations are:

  • Audiovisual archives should consider themselves part and parcel of the knowledge economy.
  • Audiovisual archives should recognize that multibillion-dollar businesses are growing based on materials they curate; and as a result their institutions deserve to participate in the revenue these materials are generating, in the knowhow that they are contributing, and in other direct and indirect benefits these materials are making to the world.
  • Audiovisual archives more than anything need something approximat ing an old-fashioned guild, where collective knowledge can come to rest, and where business savvy from attorneys, dealmakers, and others might be fielded and centralized.
  • The field needs to hire, in effect, an advocate — perhaps a sanhedrin of wise men and women who can look after its collective interest and help it argue on its own behalf and on behalf of the public sector.
  • When approaching business relationships, audiovisual archives should consider the arrangements from the perspective of their commercial partners, recognizing that the strongest players in the audiovisual marketplace are in the business now for the long term, making strategic rather than tactical investments in the sector.
  • Archives should recognize in particular the value of their building comprehensive metadata resources and optimizing their audiovisual resources for search and discovery.
  • In the audiovisual archive world, archives have been dealt a strong hand. They need to recognize that audiovisual material now and over time will be the most sought- after assets to monetize.

The reasoning behind these recommendations and the well-recommended, 30-page report, are available for download as a PDF in the PrestoCentre library.

Related reading

  • Economies of the Commons 3: Sustainable Futures for Digital Archives – http://ecommons.eu – Conference outcomes, November, 2012
  • EUscreen Publishes its Second Online Access to Audiovisual Heritage Status Report – http://blog.euscreen.eu/?p=3235 – July, 2012

Report on Semantic Interoperability with Europeana

EUscreen released a new public deliverable this week, titled Report on semantic interoperability with Europeana.

The deliverable illustrates the technical platform created to support interoperability. It describes the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), which is the chosen technology for exporting metadata items to Europeana. OAI-PMH is a low-barrier and widely used mechanism for repository interoperability. In the context of the EUscreen project, OAI-PMH provides a mechanism for interoperability between the Ingestion Tool and various other modules or platforms.

It also presents the mapping between EUscreen elements, which have been modeled on the EBUcore metadata standard, and the so-called ‘Europeana Semantic Elements’ standard maintained by Europeana. The document was written by Vassilis Tzouvaras, Kostas Pardalis, Marco Rendina and Johan Oomen.

Download the deliverable at: http://pro.europeana.eu/documents/864473/c2aff7f4-2ad4-4793-aa85-8cd3b31d93a7

EU Award for Cultural Hackers


Watch Neelie Kroes’ plea to embrace open culture

The Potential of Open Data

Europeana recently showcased award-winning apps that demonstrate the social and commercial possibilities of open cultural data and its potential to touch everyday lives, at the European Commission’s Digital Agenda Assembly. MEP Silvia-Adriana Ticau presented the winning developers with their awards at a prize-giving ceremony at the Digital Agenda Assembly. The applications were developed as part of a series of competitive hackathons in Poland, Latvia and Belgium. Hack4Europe! 2012, run by Europeana with local partners, was launched by EU Vice-President and Commissioner for the Digital Agenda for Europe Neelie Kroes on May 9 in Brussels.

Winning Applications

The Europeana dataset is made widely available as an API to the Europeana partner network and was used by event developers from across Europe at each Hack4Europe! 2012event.Winners were selected in three categories at each hackathon: greatest commercial potential; greatest social impact; and most innovative. Developers themselves also voted for the Developer’s Pick award. A winning team from each hackathon was selected to showcase its application at the Digital Agenda Summit in Brussels. The three winning finalists were:

  • Poland: Artspace, developed by Agata Dzieka and Marek Sredniawa, promotes access to art in everyday situations. It means the Europeana collections can be made available in public places such as coffee shops, libraries, schools, and hotels. Making use of LCD displays and an online Collection Management System it allows a “Virtual art leasing” service and a highly personalised curation.
  • Latvia: Europ.in, developed by Eriks Remess, Maksim Berjoza and Uldis Bojars, makes searching, navigating and sharing Europeana content more fun. Even simple search results are displayed in a highly engaging visual manner which can then easily be used to navigate further or retrieve details about an individual record.
  • Belgium: Stackathon, developed by Senne Van Der Bogaert, Mehmet Celik and Wouter Aerts, is a mobile phone app that allows you to create personal online guides to art or art critiques. The app allows users to search and select artworks in Europeana and then, using the phone as a recording device, add audio comments to the selected artwork, before sharing online.

Europeana and Open Data

As Europe’s digital museum, library and gallery, Europeana www.europeana.eu has grown from a portal of two million digitised objects in 2008 to a repository for 23 million objects with 2200 partners across Europe. Today, it is at the forefront of promoting open cultural data in support of digital innovation across Europe. Access to online open data fuels creativity and innovation and creates opportunities for millions of Europeans working in Europe’s cultural and creative industries. The sector represents 3.3% of EU GDP and over €150 billion in exports. Supporting the European Commission’s Digital Agenda, Europeana is working to make data openly available to the public and private sectors so it can be used to develop innovative applications for tablets and smartphones and to create new web services and portals. Through its Data Exchange Agreement, with partners across Europe, it is moving towards the goal of making the data for 23 million cultural objects available for re-use under open licence.

More info on the EUscreen blog

World War 1 Film Footage in Cyberspace

— Press Release

Postkarten vom Kriegsschauplatz

Films about World War 1 that have never been seen outside a cinema or on television are to be made available on the internet for the first time ever.

The European Film Gateway 1914 (EFG1914) plans to digitise up to 650 hours of footage and make it freely accessible via europeana.eu, Europe’s digital library, museum and archive. It will also appear on the film portal www.europeanfilmgateway.eu

The 2-year project was launched  during a meeting of more than 40 representatives from 25 partner institutions at the German Film Museum in Frankfurt am Main.
The footage, which includes newsreels, documentary films and footage as well as fiction films from and about World War 1, is being digitised by archives across Europe, including the Imperial War Museum in London – which has one of the largest institutional World War 1 related collections – along with partners in France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Spain and the Netherlands.

Jill Cousins, Executive Director of Europeana, said, “This is an enormously valuable project for historians, schools, researchers and film buffs, and will provide a remarkable resource in time for the 2014 centenary, when public interest will really peak.”

“It’s important too because although a considerable amount of film material covering the Great War was produced, but  experts estimate about 80% of that footage has been lost forever. Surviving films remain in analogue format, but access to them can be difficult, cumbersome and costly. But through digitisation, the material can be accessible to all on the web.”

Project organisers are sharing hundreds of hours of film material and expertise from a number of individual European archives in order to highlight the benefits of film digitisation and digital preservation of historical films across the sector.

Partners in EFG1914 are:

  • Deutsches Filminstitut – DIF e.V. (Frankfurt), coordinator
  • Arhiva Nationala de Filme (Bucharest)
  • Association des Cinémathèques Européennes (Frankfurt/Brussels)
  • Athena Research and Innovation Center in Information Communication & Knowledge Technologies (Athens)
  • Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée – Archives françaises du Film (Bois d´Arcy)
  • Cinecittá Luce S.p.A (Rome)
  • Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique (Brussels)
  • Cineteca di Bologna (Bologna)
  • CNR-Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologie dell´Informazione (Pisa)
  • Det Danske Filminstitut (Copenhagen)
  • Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen (Berlin)
  • Estonian Film Archive (Tallinn)
  • EYE Stichting Film Instituut Nederland (Amsterdam)
  • Filmarchiv Austria (Vienna)
  • Fondazione Cineteca Italiana (Milan)
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS (Erlangen)
  • Imperial War Museum (London)
  • Instituto de la Cinematografia y Artes Audiovisuales – Filmoteca Española (Madrid)
  • Instituto Valenciano del Audiovisual y de la Cinematografia Ricardo Munoz Suay (Valencia)
  • Jugoslovenska Kinoteka (Belgrade)
  • Magyar Nemzeti Filmarchivum (Budapest)
  • Národní filmový archiv (Prague)
  • Nasjonalbiblioteket (Oslo)
  • Österreichisches Filmmuseum (Vienna)
  • Reelport GmbH (Cologne)
EFG1914 is coordinated by the Deutsches Filminstitut on behalf of the Association des Cinémathèques Européennes (ACE), with support from the European Union. It follows the success of the European Film Gateway, which has become the most frequently used web portal for finding films and film-related material from the film archives and cinémathèques of Europe. Between 2008 and 2011, more than 500,000 objects were made available for users to view online.

For more information about EFG1914 see the project website www.project.efg1914.eu

What is Linked Open Data?

Linked Open Data is gaining traction in the information world – but remains a concept difficult to comprehend for non-technical users.  Europeana recently launched an animation to explain what it is and why it’s a good thing, both for users and for data providers.

At EUscreen, we’re avid supporters of this open way of semantically connecting the web:

  • check out our demo page, where you can  Sound and Vision developer Jaap Blom’s timeline visualisation of the EUscreen dataset
  • scroll through our expanded list of relevant sources on Open Cultural Data
  • expand your technical grasp of how Linked Open Data is implemented on our LOD page

Europeana and Linked Open Data

Europeana facilitates developments in Linked Open Data by publishing data for 2.4 million objects for the first time under an open metadata licence – CC0, the Creative Commons’ Public Domain Dedication. The concept of Linked Open Data is attracting Europe’s major national libraries: the Bibliothèque nationale de France recently launched its rich linked data resource, while the national libraries of the UK, Germany and Spain, among many other cultural institutions, have been publishing their metadata under an open licence.

Support for Open Data innovation is at the root of Europeana’s new Data Exchange Agreement, the contract that libraries, museums, and archives agree to when their metadata goes into Europeana. The Data Exchange Agreement has been signed by all the national libraries, by leading national museums such as the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, and by many of the content providers for entire countries, such as Sweden’s National Heritage Board. The new Data Exchange Agreement dedicates the metadata to the Public Domain and comes into effect on 1 July 2012, after which all metadata in Europeana will be available as Open Data.

Europeana is making data openly available to the public and private sectors alike so they can use it to develop of innovative applications for smartphones and tablets and to create new web services and portals. This support for commercial enterprise in the digital sector is central to Europeana’s business strategy. Metadata that is openly available is re-usable by anyone. Linked to external data sources, such as GeoNames, it’s enriched and can also be re-used by its providers as the basis of improved services to users.

 Links

 

 

Television Heritage on Europeana

Europeana sends out a monthly newsletter, with a hand-picked, curated overview of what’s new on the portal. This month, the newest addition on the site is EUscreen – the content of which has been made available on Europeana thanks to the hard work of our consortium partners and the Europeana upload team.

Read all about it in their newsletter:

 

 

Business Models for Open Data

 –Press release:
On December 1st, Europeana published its second White Paper, The Problem of the Yellow Milkmaid: a Business Model perspective on Open Metadata [PDF]. The title, ‘The Problem of the Yellow Milkmaid’, centres on Johannes Vermeer’s iconic painting, The Milkmaid. In a survey Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum found over 10,000 poor, yellowing copies of their great picture online. How to put a stop to the circulation of bad copies, give people a real sense of the true colour of the picture and stop them questioning the colours of the posters and postcards sold in their shop?  The Rijksmuseum solved the problem by putting a high resolution copy of the Milkmaid online with open metadata, so that it could be easily referenced and shared. ‘Opening up our data,’ says the Rijksmuseum, ‘is our best defence against the ‘yellow Milkmaid’. The paper is the result of a roundtable that brought together leading figures in the cultural heritage sector. The experts examined the opportunities and risks associated with open licensing of their massive datasets, which comprise the record of all publications and cultural artefacts in Europe.

Interest in open data is growing among policy makers, application and software developers and innovative thinkers in the Linked Open Data/ Semantic Web movement. The European Commission’s Digital Agenda for Europe 2020 identifies opening up public data sources for re-use as a key action in support of the digital single market, and proposes adapting the EU’s Public Sector Information Directive which governs the use of data. The Commission’s position is that data created by the public sector should be freely available as raw material for innovative re-use. To do so stimulates the digital economy and thereby creates jobs and provides social and economic benefit.

“If cultural heritage organisations do not expose data in ways that digital natives want to use it, they risk becoming irrelevant to the next generation.”

The White Paper features case studies of organisations that are in the vanguard of open data. They include Yale University, the German National Library, Cambridge University and the British Museum. Many other data providers are following in their footsteps: in signing Europeana’s new Data Exchange Agreement, contributors to Europeana’s dataset of 20 million items commit to an open licence in order to provide the raw material for innovation in the sector.

The Data Exchange Agreement is the primary element in the Europeana Licensing Framework. The Framework is also published on December 1st, and establishes the co-ordinates of Europeana’s position on open data, the public domain, and users’ rights and responsibilities. The goal of the Framework is to standardise rights-related information and practices. Its intention is to bring clarity to a complex area and make transparent the relationship between people who want to use information and the institutions that provide that information to Europeana.

“We want to make information about culture ubiquitous – available to people whenever and wherever they want, on whatever device, through apps that we are only just imagining. We want them to be clear about how they can use it – downloading it to their device, incorporating it in their projects, using it for their work,” says Jill Cousins, Executive Director of Europeana. “Facilitating pilot initiatives and prototype apps is a role that Europeana is perhaps uniquely equipped to play in Europe, working within a network that includes many of the world’s greatest memory organisations. A robust licensing framework is important if these prototype apps are to fulfil their potential, and we advocate an open licence so that Europe’s citizens can derive greatest benefit from the cultural heritage collections that they pay to maintain.”

Links

Expert Workshop members

  • Roei Amit, INA, France;
  • Martin Berendse, National Archive, The Netherlands;
  • Caroline Brazier, British Library, UK;
  • Mel Collier, Leuven University, Belgium;
  • Jonathan Gray, Open Knowledge Foundation, UK;
  • Renaldas Gudauskas, National Library of Lithuania, Lithuania;
  • Lizzy Jongma, Rijksmuseum, The Netherlands;
  • Peter B. Kaufman, Intelligent Television, USA;
  • Caroline Kimbell, The National Archives, UK;
  • Jan Muller, Sound and Vision, The Netherlands;
  • Lars Svensson, German National Library, Germany;
  • Helmut Trischler, Deutsches Museum, Germany;
  • Bill Thompson BBC, UK.
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