EUscreenXL on the Future of Archives at NECS 2015

Author: Eleonora Maria Mazzoli

The 2015 NECS Conference took place this year in Łódź, Poland on 18th-20th June. Every year NECS, the European Network for Cinema and Media Studies gathers a significant number of scholars, researchers, media professionals and archivists from all over the world. The theme of the conference was “Archive of/for the Future” and certainly, it could not be more appropriate and relevant for EUscreenXL. Thus, a team of EUscreenXL representatives participated to the event presenting an entire panel session on “Perspectives on the Contextualization of Audiovisual Online Archives: Access and Publication Formats.” The ‘dream team Łódź’ was represented by Mariana Salgado from Aalto University, Berber Hagedoorn and Eleonora Maria Mazzoli from Utrecht University, and Dana Mustata from Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

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EUscreenXL: Participant of the E-Space Hacking Culture Bootcamp

Author: Laura Osswald, Mariana Salgado and Willemien Sanders

Within the framework of Europeana Space a number of hackathons are organised to develop tools for using Europeana content. The Hacking Culture Bootcamp hackathon, held in Amsterdam between May 8 and May 10 this year, focused on creating multiscreen experiences with digitalized historical footage from Europeana. In the hackathon seven teams of participants from different backgrounds created new multiscreen digital tools to engage with cultural heritage. For EUscreenXL we participated with a team of six.

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From passive to active use of media : 2014 Media & Learning Conference in Brussels

Author: Eve-Marie Oesterlen
Media & Learning provides a platform to those responsible for creating, promoting and using media in the classroom, on and off campus as well as in training and lifelong learning centres.

 

Media-and-Learning-2014_official-logo_whiteHeadlined ‘From passive to active use of media in teaching and learning’, the aim 2014 conference – aptly hosted by the Flemish Ministry of Education in Brussels – was to promote the sharing of best-practice, exchange of know-how and hands-on amongst practitioners. With its clear call for action, it also gave policy-makers and decision-makers the opportunity to discuss how to develop digital and media literacy in the broader context of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship and the value and impact of such skills in relation to the European work-force.
media-and-learning-2014_00055

The conference programme covered a wide variety of themes grouped around the topic of media education and literacy. 300 participants from 44 countries learned about the value of using video and new media in education and were able to dip into master classes on programming, data mining, creating media productions and educational games.

As a freely accessible multilingual media resource, the EUscreen project effectively complemented the manifold European projects engaged in media and ICT-supported learning introduced over the two days.
In the year that commemorates the centenary of the First World War, media-supported remembrance education represented a special conference highlight with showcases from Europeana, BBC , INA, the VIAA platform  and the IWU Institut Film und Bild.

 

All was wrapped up very glamourously with the MEDEA Awards ceremony, rewarding eight finalists for excellence in the production and pedagogical design of media-rich learning resources.

 

All in all a lot of food for media-related thought to take away and act on …

  

Conference notes IV: What users finally want

Author: Kamila Lewandowska

Conference Banner image

The last session of the Rome Conference, moderated by Erwin Verbruggen, the speakers addressed the issue of user experiences with audiovisual content. What do specific target group want? How to animate users and reach new audiences? Researchers and AV professionals shared their best practices.

Teachers could use more AV content

Karen

 

Karen Vander Paetse demonstrated results of a research carried out by the Flemish Institute for Archiving with the focus on “What do teachers want?” in terms of using audiovisual heritage in the classroom. She stressed the fact that the use of AV material in the teaching process has been highly overestimated and teachers use illustrations much more frequently than clips and audio material. When teachers incorporate AV files into their teaching methods, it’s mostly because they want to better achieve learning objectives, motivate students, explain difficult concepts and improve attention span. On the other hand, teachers asked why they don’t use AV material explained that they have no time to search (22%), don’t have access to available technology (21%) and don’t know how to search (19%). More than 1/3 of the respondents said that they use the material recommended to them by their colleagues. The Flemish Institute for Archiving drew conclusions and implications from research for their own activity. In order to increase the use of AV clips among teachers the quality (not quantity!) of the material should be increased and the search process should be facilitated.

Less text, more interaction!

Rebakah Polding showed how to change a metadata-focused website into an interactive and engaging platform with AV content. The London’s Screen Archives have dramatically redeveloped their website when they realized it created no user engagement and was centered much more around text and information than the real value of the collection – video clips. They followed the examples of British Pathé, History Pin, Yorkshire’s film heritage and Imperial War Museum which were successful in contextualizing the clips and giving users hints and suggestions “what’s so interesting about this video”. They used stills to make more-user friendly environment and borrowed from Amazon which uses its own catalogue to contextualize data. They also looked into the examples of real-life institutions like Tate Modern and the way the museum visitors directly experience modern art. The new website has an entirely new interface which enables to play films directly on the homepage.

London's Screen Archive

Back to the Future

Thanks to Gunnar Liestøl we were able to truly “travel through times”.  He presented so called “situated simulations” tool, which enables to see (on a smartphone or tablet) how the place we’re situated at looked like in the past or will look like in future. t As the user moves in real space the perspective inside the 3D graphic space changes accordingly. The video shows how this incredible tool works:

Engaging the over-65s

Daniela Trevi Gennari, Silvia Dibeluto and Sarah Culhane presented the outcomes of their own research on cinema-going in Rome carried out in 2009. They explored the social experience of cinema-going by interviewing surviving audience members, analyzing their responses and contextualizing them through further archival research. Their methodology included oral history approach, statistical surveys of audiences, box-office takings, and relevant period press material. They focused on the issue of engagement with digital platform by the over-65s and highlighted the occurring trends and challenges, illustrating it with a funny video:

Using a case study of Elena, an elder lady and an active Facebook user, they concluded that “it is our aim to create an online space that facilitates discussion and interaction among users, who can enjoy a sense of community in remembering a shared past, while also engaging younger users who wish to gain insights into their cultural heritage.”

 

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

CALL FOR PAPERS: Sound and (Moving) Images in Focus

 

Call for Papers: Sound and (moving) images in focus
How to integrate audiovisual material in Digital Humanities research?
Workshop at DH2014, 8 July 2014, Lausanne, Switzerland

 

digital humanitiesIntroduction

The issue that will be addressed during this workshop is how to overcome the contrast between audiovisual material being a steadily increasing body of data and the fact that it is relatively poorly represented in the field of the Digital Humanities. When considering the available DH tools, projects and publications it is clear that sources such as television, film, photos and oral history recordings have not yet received the same level of attention from scholars as written sources. This can be considered as problematic in the light of the expected exponential growth in volume of audiovisual sources and of the abundance of information for researches contained in this type of data that is largely overlooked. One can envision how a single document could satisfy the needs of various disciplines if tools would be available to identify, retrieve and analyse the various dimensions of a video-recording such as language, emotions, speech acts, narrative plots and references to people, places and events. This richness not only holds the promise of multidisciplinary collaboration between e.g., computer sciences, social sciences and the humanities, but also makes audiovisual material a potentially valuable playground for the Digital Humanities.

Workshop Programme

The workshop aims to bring scholars and computer scientists together to discuss the following key questions in four subsequent sessions.

1.  Why are audiovisual data/archives scarcely used within the (Digital) Humanities?
2.  What are possible strategies to stimulate the use of audiovisual data/archives within the  Digital Humanities?
3.  Which examples of digital tools applied on audiovisual data/archives can serve as best practices?
4. What should be the priorities on the  agenda for the future uptake of audiovisual data/archives in the Digital Humanities?

The keynotes within the first two sessions will be delivered by Andreas Fickers, professor of contemporary and digital history at the University of Luxembourg, and Dr. Arjan van Hessen, specialist in speech technology and member of the Executive Board of CLARIN-NL. The first will talk about the use of audiovisual sources within humanities research, and the second will discuss the necessary technical and infrastructural provisions for the analysis of these sources. For the third session scholars are invited to submit papers and demos that illustrate the potential of applying DH approaches to audiovisual data with a focus on lessons learned. The final session is dedicated to the assessment and evaluation of the findings and aims at formulating a research agenda for the future. To disseminate the results of the workshop among a broader audience, the initiators intend to propose a special issue on this topic to a Digital Humanities journal.

Submission of Proposals

For the third session on applications of DH on audiovisual data, the workshop organisers invite papers and demos that deal with experienced challenges of integrating AV in DH.

Submissions should include the following:

  • General abstract (should not exceed 800 words)
  • Contact info and a short description of research interests of the authors.
  • The committee aims to select a balanced set of abstracts that cover the various media (film, television, photography, oral history, digital storytelling, recordings of sound and movement) and tools that are needed at the various stages of the research process (exploration, annotation, analysis, presentation, curation and preservation)

To submit a proposal, please send an abstract  (docx or pdf)  toavindhworkshop@gmail.com

Accepted abstracts will be published on the Erasmus Studio website.

 Important dates

  • Abstract submissions due: 16 May 2014 23:59 (CET)
  • Acceptance notification: 28 May
  • Workshop: 8 July 2014

Further information

Organizers

This workshop is initiated in the context of  the collaboration between  the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision and the Erasmus Studio, an interfacultary  institute  at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, that promotes and initiates e-research across disciplinary boundaries, with an emphasis on multimedia archives.

  • Dr. Stef Scagliola (Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus Studio)
  • Dr. Martijn Kleppe (Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus Studio)
  • Max Kemman MSc (Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus Studio)
  • Dr. Roeland Ordelman (Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, University of Twente)
  • Prof. Franciska de Jong (Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus Studio, University of Twente)

 

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