Conference notes: The Three R’s of Archival Video

Author: Erwin Verbruggen

 

EUscreenXL gathered in Rome last week for our conference on the users and usage of audiovisual archives: “From Audience to Users: Engaging with Audiovisual Heritage Online”. In this series of blog posts we’ll fill you in on what happened.

Last week was a busy one for audiovisual archivists! The week in which we celebrated  the World Day of Audiovisual Heritage saw no less than six events related to our moving image heritage – not to speak of the International Federation of Television Archives‘ world conference in Amsterdam, which we visited the week before. In Mexico, the SIPAD symposium was teaching a generation of Latin-American archivists how to care for AV heritage. In Switzerland, EUscreenXL partner EBU, the European Broadcasting Union, gathered a group to discuss the technical merits of archival operations, the importance of metadata (including for EUscreenXL) and strategic questions such as whether public broadcasters have a duty to provide archives.

Drawing made at the EUscreenXL Rome Conference by Montse FortinoIn Spain meanwhile, the Europeana network came together to discuss how it would update its ways of collaborating to continue being the hadron collider for cultural heritage. And as Ina’s training team was teaching novices to the field how to take care of moving image materials in its FRAME series, and the Federation of Film Archives’ executive committee met in Stockholm, we, archivists and academics linked to the EUscreen network, joined each other in Rome to discuss topics, tools and triangulations around giving access to broadcast and moving image materials that have withstood the tests of time.

The Rome conference we set up filled two days – one in which we focused on stories and examples from the field, and one in which we spent discussing in various workshops. Meanwhile, the conference was also the location for the General Assembly of the EUscreen network and for scholarly activities, such as a meeting of the European (Post)Socialist Television History Network and the editorial board of EUscreen’s VIEW Journal of European Television History and Culture. So in a nutshell: a lot of words being exchanged, a lot of bonds reinforced and a lot of ideas shared. This was truly a week in which the famed double helix of preserving and giving access to audiovisual heritage, as Peter Kaufman so eloquently put it once, was at the heart of the conversation.

Archives on YouTube

Italy’s Ministry of Culture has a representative for film culture. That is in and of itself a remarkable feat and – if you ask us – a sign of being an utmost civilized nation. Mr. Nicola Borrelli opened the conference, stressing the importance of film and audiovisual heritage for the country and mentioning it as one of the most important issues of the current Italian presidency of the European Union. Our morning speaker on the first day was Mr. Roger Felber.

An example of a clip British Pathé made more Relevant to contemporary audiences by changing its title.

 

Picture taken at the conference by Maria Drabczyk/Quirijn BackxMr. Felber is a British business man with an impressive track record, whose investment group owns the British Pathé collection. His opening talk may seem like a strange choice for EUscreenXL. Why put all this effort in developing a portal such as EUscreen to then open your arms to organisations who use YouTube? While it is true that the series of projects and collaborations that brought forth EUscreen predates the existence of the video mogul , it is of course no stranger to EUscreen’s members. Various organisations, such as Cinecittá LUCE, TV Romania’s archives and Sound and Vision, have made substantial amounts of video available through Google’s platform. While for archival curation many of us question its lack of rich metadata, for example, there are obvious advantages to using the platform – audience reach being high on that list. What we hoped to learn from Mr. Felber was how this reach can be seen, thought of, explored and improved upon.

The Three R’s

His experiences did not disappoint. As Mr. Felber admitted, his organisation does not move without it resulting in “cold, hard cash” – an approach that the mostly public service directed organisations in EUscreen are less prone to. Mr. Felber relayed the steps his organisation had taken to publish its 95.000 videos online in one go. After discovering many of their films had already made it online via private persons’ interests and unvetted activities, the organisation decided to make the jump. YouTube has a robust advertising scheme and a fingerprinting algorithm that allows content owners to redirect the advertising income from third party or individual uploaders they would’ve otherwise missed out on. A win-win situation for British Pathé’s rights holders.

Mr. Felber then – without the use of PowerPoint or presenter’s notes – kept his audience captivated with his story of how the group focused on creating impact with the collection. He bundled British Pathé’s lessons for audience reach in a maxim consisting of three R’s: Regularity, Relevance and Reliability. Publish materials with a dependable regularity, make them relevant to the people who need to see them and make sure you can be considered a reliable source.

An important lesson for British Pathé – and a rather frightening idea to the researchers in the room – was that changing the titles of the videos made them more find- and clickable – a lesson mirrorred by recent developments in the publishing world, where ‘clickbait’ titles and title-focused enterprises such as Upworthy are all the rage.

British Pathé puts music under all its silent clips, unlike this film fragment from the Cinematek in Brussels.

 

Picture taken at the conference by Maria Drabczyk/Quirijn BackxIn the panel that followed suit, project coordinator Eggo Müller welcomed Sonja de Leeuw and Mark Williams at the table to discuss specific parts of the online delivery process. Topics included questions such as audience specificity – a general audience consisting of many smaller niche audiences – and the true meanings of audience engagement. Markedly different were the approaches to media the academic researchers in the room voiced – their primary concern is that of the untouched, true original.

Another hot topic for discussion – recurrent in the EUscreen family – was that of allowing free access to a collection that is used for footage licensing. The balance was decidedly positive: besides generating extra income via YouTube’s advertising, the British Pathé collections have become much more known because of its publication, and footage sales have increased in never before served territories.

Linda Kaye closed the Q&A session with  a comment on the resources of the metadata. In British Pathé’s tumultuous history, its original paper archive was once tossed in the bin, rescued from there and now available for researchers at the British Universities Film and Video Council. A challenging anecdote to close this session, that reunites the need for a broad audience reach with the importance of the daily grinds and duties of archive operations.

 

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

“Media literacy research and policy in Europe” report just published

Media literacy research and policy in Europe. A review of recent, current and planned activitiesProj-COST

This is the report of an expert seminar held in Brussels on 12/9/13, organised by the Media Literacy Task Force of the COST Action, Transforming Audiences, Transforming Societies. 25 media literacy experts from academia, policy and regulatory institutions came together to identify the current state of play and future directions for media literacy research and policy in Europe. In addition to capturing the main contributions made during the seminar, the report pulls out the recent history of media literacy policy at European level and highlights new indications of interest in this domain within the EC. The report concludes with recommendations for advancing this increasingly important area of research and policy.

Livingstone, S., Bulger, M. & Zaborowski, R. (2013). Media literacy research and policy in Europe. A review of recent, current and planned activities. London.

You can read the report here

 

“Television News Channels in Europe” Report

The European Audiovisual Observatory has published a new report on the TV news market in Europe (covering 38 countries). The entire 100-page report is free to download here. This report provides an overview of the types of channels both national and international, the balance between public and private, and the dominant languages of news channels in Europe. 

report

This new report, carried out as part of the work commissioned by the DG Communication of the European Commission, sources data from the Observatory’s MAVISE TV database.

A review of developments in new media use and online viewing with particular reference to news is provided on the basis of recent studies by national organisations such as the ALM, CNC, and OFCOM, and a range of industry research and surveys.

  • Almost 300 news channels are currently available in Europe, of which more than 170 are established in the European Union.
  • Private channels dominate the national TV news landscape with more than 80% owned by private companies.
  • The pan-European channels with the widest distribution in Europe are CNN International, BBC World News, Al Jazeera (English), Euronews (English) and RT (Russia Today).
  • The number of news channels available over free DTT channels has increased to 43, compared to 16 four years ago.

Licenses for European culture

Our colleagues from the Europeana Awareness project held their second Licensing Workshop in Luxemburg on the 13th and 14th of June. Réka Markovich went to present the efforts EUscreen has taken to bring a massive broadcast collection with different national copyright laws online. She represented the new EUscreenXL project, in which we’ll continue our research and approaches on providing access to audiovisual heritage. 

Report by Réka Markovich from ELTE University, Hungary.

Europeana Awareness is a Best-Practice Network led by the Europeana Foundation. It’s been designed to publicize Europeana to users, policy makers, politicians and cultural heritage organizations in every Member State. The second Europeana Licensing workshop was part of research undertaken for the Europeana Awareness project by the Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg, Kennisland and the Institute for Information Law (IvIR). Their research focuses on possible international licensing models for digital heritage and the legal framework for cross-border licensing of copyright-protected works in Europe. In practice, this means that it explores the conditions under which works contained in the collections of cultural heritage institutions could be regulated on a cross-border basis in the context of Europeana.

Models for Cross-Border Licensing

The workshop aimed at gathering information to map the practice and implementation of the Orphan Works Directive and possible alternative contractual arrangements (such as those based on the Memorandum of Understanding on Out-of-Commerce Works). It complements a questionnaire to the European member states about the creation of an international database of Orphan Works. Member States will have to pass legislation implementing the Directive by October 2014. As far as the database is concerned, they will have to play the role of “interface” between beneficiary institutions (libraries etc) and  the office for the harmonisation of the internal market (OHIM), an EU agency with responsibility in the area of IPR, based in Alicante, Spain. The focus of this process is to identify possible loopholes in the cross-border access and re-use of works that is caused by differing national arrangements regarding categories of works, beneficiaries, scope and conditions of use, etc. For those who’d like to get an idea of the wide variety of copyrights clearance regulations in different European countries, the Public Domain Calculator gives you a good idea.

Cross-border access and use depend not only on a clear legal framework, but also on effective data collection and rights management. Therefore the workshop’s first day focused on the practical implementation of data registries, data creation and data exchange processes between the relevant actors. It was interesting to see what kind of organizations work on copyright clearance: e.g. with facilitating rights information management (ARROW) or with developing building blocks for the expression and management of rights and licensing across all content and media types (Linked Content Coalition). While legal issues cannot be easily separated from more administrative issues, day two focused on legal interoperability issues of implementing alternative (contractual) mechanisms.

Rights for Audiovisual Works

Issues of intellectual property rights are crucial when providing access to audiovisual collections. As a part of legislation, copyright law still bears some territorial nature – while a Pan-European audiovisual archive touches upon cross-border legal issues. Some kind of harmonization would be necessary to ensure the possibility of publishing and providing access to our audiovisual heritage. The Memorandum of Understanding on Key Principles on the Digitization and Making Available of Out-of-Commerce Works is sector-specific: it covers books and learned journals only. A dialogue between stakeholders is the way forward to facilitate agreements for the digitization of European out-of-commerce cultural material in other sectors—e.g. on audiovisual works—as well.

EUscreenXL will provide Europeana with 1.000.000 metadata records giving access for online content held by European broadcasters and audiovisual archives and will publish 20.000 contextualized programmes on the EUscreen portal. As the audiovisual content aggregator for Europeana, all the work packages of EUscreenXL take their cue from Europeana’s working groups. In EUscreenXL we are also working on a strategic agenda for access to audio-visual heritage through Europeana. The task is a pan-European research effort. It covers seven topics closely related to the daily reality of audio-visual archives, one of which is intellectual property rights. This activity is essential for Europeana to reach out to the audio-visual domain  and understand what needs to be put in place in order to maximize contributions to Europeana. It was therefor fascinating to hear about the legal issues-related activities of Europeana, to be in touch with the Europeana project working groups and the people behind them.

More information

 

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

The Key to More Access: UK Launch Report

Report by Sian Barber

Friday 2nd December 2011 saw the UK launch of the new EUscreen portal. This event took place at the British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC) Annual General Meeting at the Royal Geological Society in Piccadilly, London. Eve Oesterlen from BUFVC and Dr Sian Barber from Royal Holloway University of London presented the EUscreen project to an audience of 70 guests.

The focus of the event was ‘more access’ and a variety of presentations on different projects demonstrated how this issue informs and influences BUFVC activity and how the EUscreen project fits into this agenda.

Sian Barber outlined the aims of the EUscreen project and highlighted the innovative nature of the content selection policy, explaining how functionalities like the virtual exhibitions and the content provider special collections will offer different user experiences from the rest of the portal. The technical side of the project was also used to demonstrate the complexities of EUscreen with Eve Oesterlen offering a brief overview of the challenges of the metadata scheme and working with different partners, different languages and individual workflows. Sian then suggested how EUscreen content could be used and drew attention to this material as a useful resource for students, scholars, teachers and casual browsers. The presentation and portal launch focused on the objectives of the project, what has been achieved so far and how EUscreen content offers exciting research and teaching and learning possibilities. The presentation concluded with a showing of the EUscreen promotional video and a suggestion that the audience explore the EUscreen portal for themselves. Following the presentations, a number of people queried what would happen to the EUscreen site and its material once the project was completed. It was felt that such careful work and such rich content should remain available as a resource.

Launching the EUscreen portal at this event offered the site to a new audience of those who work with audiovisual resources within education. The enthusiastic response of many people to the EUscreen portal, its content selection policy and detailed metadata schema demonstrates that there is a great deal of interest in the project and that the material is viewed as a useful resource for both teaching and learning.

Other highlights

Other highlights of the day included a presentation by Hetty Malcolm-Smith on the BUFVC Shared Services project. This ambitious project is based on a feasibility study and aims to link up the BUFVC collections of TRILT and TVTip with BoB National and data feeds from broadcasters, Channel 4 press packs and Higher and Further Education Institutions. The project also aims to include access to VHS recordings to help create the richest source of data for education in the UK and will begin by evaluating the possibilities of such a service.

One of the key resources for the shared service project will be the Channel 4 Press packs which are currently being fully digitised as part of the 1980s project at the University of Portsmouth. Dr Justin Smith (Portsmouth) and Linda Kaye (BUFVC) introduced this four year project which began in April 2010 which will have academic outputs but will also offer a context to the digitisation process. Each page of the press packs will be created as a PDF file to ensure that it can be individually identified and to improve access for the end user. Digitising the material in this way also offers access to the related and contextual data which surrounds the core information.

The final presentation of the day focused on other projects which involve the BUFVC, notably the Chronicle project; a collaboration with JISC and the BBC which will provide restricted access to news material from BBC Northern Ireland from the 1960s and 1970s.

See also

Conference Report: Stockholm EUscreen Conference

By and large we’ve reported on this blog about the preparations for the EUscreen conference, which was held on September 14-15th at the National Library of Sweden. We’ve been hard at work gathering the presentation slides and videos for those who couldn’t attend or would like to review a number of topics. In this conference report, Sian Barber, Andy O’Dwyer and Erwin Verbruggen portray their findings and clues from the different talks that were presented.

Second International EUscreen Conference on ‘Use and Creativity’

In September, EUscreen held its second international conference, with a focus on use and creativity, to pose a number of key questions; how can the different intended user groups of EUscreen be involved and make creative (re-)use of the multitude of materials that are on the site? What are the best practices in the field of audiovisual presentation and education that we should draw on for inspiration?

EUscreen is a platform that strives to provide access and tools for different uses to different user and learning communities. The speakers at the conference reflected the variety of user groups and came from backgrounds as diverse as the archival community, the scholarly world, publishing, law, and government institutions.

The conference hall at the KB

The Archival Perspective: Providing & Curating

Various speakers from the archival community presented on the preservation practices necessary to bring archival materials out to the public through web transmittance. Roland Sejko gave a historical overview of the LUCE archive’s holdings. He drew attention to the contents of their archives and the organisation’s continued desire to collect and link them to material held in other archives. He also pointed out that a great deal of the archive content had never been used, which called attention to how such material could be used by researchers and the importance of promoting archive holdings to the wider academic community.
Martin Bouda offered an insight into Czech Television’s archive project for scanning their holdings and emphasised the requirement to preserve as well as to promote and enable access. This point was also raised by the Swedish Film Institute’s Kaja Hedstrom, who presented a case study of a web platform. The Filmarkivet portal is aimed at a broad, generally interested audience who would – because of language constraints – mostly be confined within the borders of Sweden. The issue of language is one which is crucial for the EUscreen community as the project aims to find a solution for its different language sources and users.

Aubéry Escande from Europeana

Providing and curating the cultural heritage of Europe for a broad audience in inventive ways is a core task of Europeana. Aubéry Escande presented the various means in which a recent Europeana project drew upon user’s participation to enhance its large collection of digital objects. As part of this process visitors are invited to add their personal stories by using advanced web technologies, crowdsourcing, storytelling and live events for specific communities. He described how a project on the First World War called on people to provide their own artefacts to help them explore narratives of the conflict and its impact. Focusing on individual stories that catch the imagination and hosting days where people are encouraged to bring in physical objects about the First World War encouraged greater engagement from the general public. Foregrounding personal stories rather than grand narratives and encouraging consideration of these stories from a range of perspectives offered users the opportunity to respond to ideas of shared histories and of the importance of bringing these histories to others.

The issue of curating was also addressed by Dagan Cohen from Upload Cinema who gave an inspiring presentation as he showed how the best of web content could be brought to the cinema screen. Upload Cinema selects and screens programs made of compiled YouTube items in a variety of cinemas all over Europe. Cohen commented on how this project enabled the power of the user to be recognised and suggested how such work foregrounds the way in which people engage with online material. He suggested that screening material in this way indicated a shift away from the power of the archive curator or the academic voice of authority and instead focused upon the power of the public.

Discussion also addressed the notion of a crisis of search in which authoritative indications and technical algorithms are perhaps giving way to social recommendations such as those shared on social media sites. One EUscreen content provider actively wondered what role archives had to play in this new digital world in merging the role of users and producers of content.

Academia: Researching the Moving Image

Jérôme Bourdon during the Q&A

Jérôme Bourdon closed the first day with a thorough analysis of how the media has illustrated, reported and involved our daily lives and memories in the context of the Isreali-Palestinian conflict. He related the need for a thorough reflection on media practices and the importance of research into the shaping of stories by the media. It is these back-stories that inform our views on current and past conflicts and the way they then become a part of our own daily experience. A lively debate followed which emphasised the importance of contextualizing media materials about conflicts with so many layers and threads, and on what it is, exactly, that separates memory (personal, close to ourselves) from knowledge (the things we see, hear, learn).

One way to encourage the academic community to engage with the contents of archives was outlined by Dana Mustata the next day. She illustrated the pragmatic approach she adopted when working on her own PhD and the tools, resources and attitudes television historians need in the practice of research. Using a clip of Ceausescu’s last live broadcast, which started the Live Romanian Revolution 1989, she argued that a variety of sources are needed to understand how television works and to achieve an integrative understanding of the medium. Mustata noted that EUscreen’s big plus is access, but that there is a minus point: as the providers select for researchers what they think is relative or important, this selection process takes something away from them. EUscreen is a new gateway for historiography, building bridges between academics and archivists in which further platforms for understanding could be the e-Journal and the comparative exhibitions, which will be a way to reflect with authors and views of how we told the story. As a platform, EUscreen is enhancing the understanding of television and can be a means reflecting on how we are making television history at this time.

Andreas Fickers expanded on this crossover between the worlds of academia and of archive, by presenting his “Blurred dreams of a TV Historian”: the idea of a pan-European television history journal, first presented at the FIAT conference of 2003. The idea was to have an online free access academic journal to maintain quality and a showcase for the creative use of digitized audiovisual materials. This journal is currently under development and will draw attention to the work of projects like EUscreen and reach out to new audiences with its combination of technological, linguistic and thematic innovation. He spoke about reflections from the editorial board and how writing for an online environment is challengingly different from traditional academic writings. He emphasised the need to adapt and structure the narrative without losing the academic standards, as online one is “viewing rather than reading”

Audiovisual and Online Tools for Education

Contextualisation received an equal amount of attention in the presentations that adhered to the field of education and spreading knowledge. Peter Kaufman and Pere Arcas gave inspiring talks on how online tools are already changing the nature of how students today can access the heritage of yesterday. Today, students can download apps that guide them through the works of T.S. Eliot and demand an entirely different way of learning and contemplating the content of such texts. Pere Arcas’s projects include the seminal Draw me a Story , a project in which a user interface was crafted in which children can – with a minimum amount of guidance – use and remix the various sources that are available online. By creating, crafting and expanding existing sources, they engage with the world in different ways than we ever thought possible, and greatly enhance their learning experiences by practicing and putting the content to use.

Paul Ashton of the Times Education Supplement focused on how audiovisual material can be contextualized from the teacher’s side to engage students with the teaching curriculum in an active manner. Through a demonstration of a range of clips, he suggested how packages of clips of readily available online content could be provided to schools to allow for classroom discussion and increase visual learning. Ashton commented that using video clips to promote questioning by children could be used pedagogically to address specific parts of the learning curriculum. In the discussion that which followed this paper, there was broad agreement about the usefulness of video material being used in the classroom this way with some calling attention to the need for learning to be structured and the clips to be placed in context. The point was also raised that no use of online video is a ‘free’ activity, and in order to be successful, issues such as copyright and platform sustainability need to be well calculated in the set-up of any project.

Guidelines for Using and Reusing Audiovisual Content

These issues of Sustainability and limitations of online use were the focus of the second workshop. Here a a number of case studies revealed how clear, distinct aids and ides were given as tools to benefit the opening up of access to a wide user base. Johan Axhamn from Stockholm University gave a clear overview of the role IPR issues have plagued and troubled archives all over the world, and how a tool such as the Extended Licensing Model can become an aid for archives and rights holders to enable them to move forward and clear the fog that exists on many audiovisual assets. As the audience of the conference consisted of a mix of rights holders, caretakers, and rights clearance institutes, interest was high and in the discussion which followed the different groups were able to review their own views on the issue.

Catherine Grout from JISC and Marius Snyders from the PrestoCentre discussed how their initiatives can connect communities to enable sharing of resources and knowledge and also to offer advice on digitisation, online reuse and educational use. The video that the JISC Film & Sound Think Tank made gave a clear and distinct overview of the many issues that both plague and are beneficial to archives, educational institutes and online projects such as EUscreen. It also indicated why it is so crucial for users in this day and age to have access to clear, contextualized, open sources of audiovisual information. PrestoCentre offers advice to archives worldwide who want to benefit from mutual sources of information to strengthen the processes they use to bring their content into the digital realm. PrestoCentre also offers advice and help on long-term digital storage and how archives and projects can make their materials accessible to users from all walks of life.

Luca Martinelli talks passionately about the road ahead for Europe

Luca Martinelli from the European Commission gave a clear overview of the various sources and infrastructures that exist to support access to audiovisual heritage. He situated the EUscreen project within a number of subsequent decisions and recommendations to the European Commission that laid out the importance of audiovisual heritage and the need for open, online access to these materials in order for them to be useful to a broad audience. He gave a draft overview of future undertakings of the European Commission, drawing attention to the way the commission invests in Europe’s heritage to ensure it remains a lively source for all kinds of users and how EUscreen is one of the best practices that are out there to realize this scope.

Conclusion: The Road Ahead

The two-day conference in Stockholm was a lively, stimulating and varied gathering. It offered an opportunity for EUscreen partners to share and exchange ideas for the further development and sustainability of the platform itself, but also for interested users, rights holders and scholars to discuss questions about the nature of online heritage, the needs and forms of online access and the scope of needs of different users. About 120 people attended the conference and engaged in lively discussions on memory, heritage, culture and education. It offered the EUscreen consortium a range of options on how best to proceed in the final year of the project, and a number of these options and certain topics of discussion will be explored further in later workshops and work sessions.

Links

Conference Report: Competences in Culture

The Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage held an expert conference on behalf of the Polish EU Presidency on 19 and 20 July 2011 in Warsaw. EUscreen was represented by its co-ordinator, professor Sonja de Leeuw.

Competences in Culture, Polish EU Presidency, Warsaw 2011

Conference Report by Sonja de Leeuw

The conference was titled COMPETENCES IN CULTURE and covered three main themes:
  1. Creative potential of digital archives (Audiovisual)
  2. Management of copyright and related rights in the digital environment (IPR)
  3. Cultural competences – the role of culture and creativity in the building of the intellectual capital of Europe (Culture).
The audiovisual theme of the conference was inscribed in the Digital Agenda for Europe and consisted of three panels, each addressing topical subjects:
  1. The future of digital content
  2. Education through the archives
  3. The wide distribution of digitized archive materials (VOD, Cinema, etc.).
In general the audiovisual panels allowed for exchanging best practices of digital archiving, new emerging business models, as well as building workflows for digital preservation of film and audiovisual archives and mapping out new approaches to valorization of archives that include collaboration with education and research centers, publishers, documentary film makers, and the users.
Photograph by Danuta Matloch
Sonja de Leeuw presented on EUscreen in the panel on The future of digital archives. This panel very much addressed issues of digitisation of the audiovisual and film content and the creative potential of digitized materials, taking into account a user’s perspective. The future of the European digital library was a central issue as well as the developments of partner projects such as the European Film Gateway and EUscreen.In her presentation she anticipated future uses of audiovisual material, television heritage in particular. To that extent she emphasized two features: Linking and Context. Linking relates to Metadata and Content, but is also related to uses in the sense that television online heritage links the present’s past to the user’s present. Explained was the level of interoperability as well as that of user interactivity with the help of the common metadata schema, integration into Europeana and the use case scenarios. Context relates to how EUscreen provides different access routes to the content, notably with the EUscreen platform, with virtual exhibitions on the EUscreen platform and with the establishment of a multimedia e-journal on the EUscreen platform as well.
This one and a half day conference indeed provided a great opportunity to meet colleagues in related fields and to discuss topical problem and solutions. It fitted well into the scope of the Polish Ministry covering Culture and National Heritage equally. It stressed the importance of culture for the social and economic well being of citizens and the need for developing specific competences to take up the challenges offered by the digital cultural landscape.
Photograph by Danuta Matloch

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