By Dr Sian Barber – Postdoctoral Researcher, RHUL
The EUscreen portal was launched by Sian Barber and Rob Turnock from Royal Holloway, University of London on Monday 4th April at BBC Television Centre to the Southern Broadcast History Group. This group comprises a number of broadcast historians, senior academics, archivists and industry professionals drawn from 8 different British Universities, the BBC and the British Film Institute.
As well as the launch of the EUscreen portal, this one day event saw detailed debates and discussions about current work in the field of Broadcasting history, notably radio in America, Germany and Britain in the 1930s and Broadcasting policy in the 1980s which fore grounded the importance of users and citizens as active listeners and viewers.
For the EUscreen launch, Rob Turnock gave a brief introduction to the project, highlighting the possibilities of the site as a research resource as well as one for teaching and learning. Rob explained the role of Royal Holloway within the project and mentioned some of the challenges encountered on the project so far and the way in which the project team have worked to overcome them. Particular attention was paid to how the portal will focus upon the needs of users and the issues faced in integrating differing metadata schema and providing the necessary contextual information to a disparate range of users. Rob also mentioned the Virtual Exhibitions and the e-journal which will allow for interactive discussion around the content and increase dissemination activity, and would be of great interest to the Research Group.
This discussion of the project was followed with a demonstration of the portal. Rob highlighted three different ways of searching the portal; basic search, advanced search and searching by language. Much attention was given to the detailed metadata which accompanies each individual record, and the way in which the fourteen historical topics provide a structure to the portal which promotes easier searching and filtering.
The explore function was also demonstrated to show how content on the site could be filtered by genre to see what exists in different categories. Rob also drew attention to the list of languages currently available, noting that a much wider range of languages will exist in the next version of the portal. Rob also stressed that in the next release, the portal will have increased functionality and greater interoperability.
Following the presentation, questions were raised about the rationale behind the e-journal, what kind of content it would include and when it would be published online. There was also further discussion about the range of content providers who were involved in the project and if other material from different content providers could be added and integrated at a later date. These queries promoted a broader discussion of the project as a whole and many expressed interest in looking at the portal in more detail and for research and teaching purposes.