Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

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Video Active

BBC, DR, DW, ORF, RTBF, TVC, SLBA, S&V, NeumannKht, NTUA, Luce, UU, RHU, INA, VRT, MIC, Noterik

Video Active provides free access to European television heritage online. Within this three-year project, a large collection of television archive content from 14 archives is selected, digitised and made available through a freely accessible multilingual web portal. The project is funded by the European Communities within the eContentplus programme.

screenshotTelevision material is a vital component of Europe’s heritage, collective memory and identity. However, audiovisual material can only reveal cultural commonalities and differences when its origins are known and understood through signifying practice. Video Active offers an enormous resource for exploring both the representation of cultural and historical events within and across nations and the development of the medium itself at a cross-cultural level.

Video Active is …

1.    multilingual
The site is available in 10 major European languages, which makes the site also accessible for non-English users. The videos are available in their native version with descriptions in the original language and an English translation. Also, every item has been tagged by using terms in a multilingual thesaurus (based on the IIPC) that has been made especially for this project.

2.    a collaboration between institutions
Video Active is a collaboration between 18 European institutions in the field of audiovisual heritage, two universities and two technology providers. The site makes material from different institutions and countries online and free available through one uniform interface.

3.    using state of the art in the standardisation of semantic metadata
The portal removes the main barriers of technical exchange, rights, signifying practice and metadata by providing one standard for all participating archives. It also complements this archive content with well-defined contextual metadata. The portal shows detailed descriptions of the original source and its context. All data is stored in RDF and uses the latest advances in semantic web technologies for indexing, searching and retrieval.

4.    part of Europeana
Video Active participates in, the European digital library providing access to Europe’s cultural and scientific heritage through a cross-domain portal. Europeana provides links to over 4 million items in the field of European cultural heritage.

5.    a new way of searching
Instead of using one search mode, Video Active provides multiple strategies for users, like browsing by topics or faceted search. A timeline will also be included, visualising the history of European television at a single glance. 

6.    an essential database for television research
It explores the history of European television through five pathways and provides background information through articles about European television. Video Active reflects on the cultural and historical similarities and differences of television from across the European Union. The portal is linked to the European Television History Network, the network of well-known researchers from European universities.

7.    a dynamic portal
Constantly new videos are uploaded. Currently, more than 3.500 items are online, including videos, photographs and articles. After the launch of the beta-version the portal will be evaluated and improved further during the first months of 2009. By September 2009, 10.000 items will be available online. In October, the follow up project EUscreen will be launched, and will carry the work forward for another three years minimum. The number of archives contributing to Video Active will grow considerably over the next years.

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