The Baltic Audiovisual Archival Council (BAAC) is a non-profit organisation that aims to foster cooperation between public and private broadcasting and AV archives, libraries and museums in the worldwide Baltic diaspora. Since the Baltic States are represented both in the EUscreenXL collection and in its consortium, we were invited to take part in the yearly BAAC conference. ‘Safe versus Reusable: Ideals versus Real Life’ was this year’s theme; the venue (in many ways reflecting the theme) was Riga’s recently opened National Library of Latvia, the magnificent ‘Castle of Light’.
Maria Drabczyk (NInA), Eve-Marie Oesterlen (BUFVC) and Kamila Lewandowska (NInA) presented on ‘Going EUscreenXL’, sharing the joys/ideals and real life challenges of making European audiovisual content accessible for future re-use. While Maja spoke about the benefits for NInA of being both a content partner newbie and the lead of project dissemination, Eve-Marie offered an inside view into the challenges involved in co-ordinating the delivery of enriched and standardised quality metadata and content from over 18 European providers. The icing on this pan-European AV cake was supplied by Kamila, who presented a sneak preview of the new EUscreenXL online platform, which will officially be launched in October 2014 as part of the EUscreenXL Rome Conference. We received a warm welcome from the audience and a positive feedback regarding the project results.
Our colleague, Marco Rendina from Instituto Luce – Cinecittà (EUscreenXL partner) presented the Presto4U project which aims to foster research in digital audiovisual preservation, e.g. the use of technology by service providers and media owners, as well as to raise awareness in the area of AV preservation. Helle Bech Madsen from the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR), also a EUscreenXL partner, presented a range of projects conducted by DR, illustrating the benefits of adopting a user-oriented approach. Richard Ranft, Head of Sound and Vision at the British Library in London, introduced the Europeana Sounds project, which brings together major European audio archives and web innovators in order to make high-quality audio collections accessible online. This project aims to aggregate over half a million audio metadata records and 200 000 related music scores, images and videos. Jolè Stimbirytė talked about users expectations and how the archivists should try to meet them.
Overall, it was great to share ideas with such a diverse audience of experts. It was impressive to learn about the variety of initiatives undertaken on an international, national and even individual level to both safeguard audiovisual cultural heritage and to ensure its accessibility for future generations.