Content in Motion: AAPB attends EUscreen 2015 Conference


Last week, AAPB Project Manager Casey Davis had the honor of attending and presenting at the 2015 EUscreen conference in Warsaw, Poland. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, the EUscreen initiative is similar to the AAPB: EUscreen is a consortium of archives — from broadcasters to academic institutions — and offers free online access to thousands of audiovisual items documenting the 20th and 21st century cultural heritage of Europe. EUscreen is an amazing resource for scholars, educators, and the general public.

More details are coming soon, but we’re excited to announce that AAPB and EUscreen are collaborating on developing curated exhibits that bring our two collections together, providing researchers with the opportunity to explore how events shaped both US and European history.

This year’s conference was held at the National Audiovisual Institute of Poland (NInA), a cutting-edge audiovisual arts center in Poland that just recently opened its doors to the public. nina

The two-day conference brought together a variety of professionals including archivists, scholars, educators, museum curators, photographers, and open-access activists in focused sessions and workshops on the topic of curation, access and use of audiovisual collections. Casey had the opportunity to present about the AAPB initiative, including the digitization project and the recent launch of our Online Reading Room and curated exhibits.


We’re pleased to share some of our notes and takeaways from the conference:

Big takeaway: There were lots of discussions about the significance and benefit of collaboration between archivists, scholars and technical experts, as well as the incorporation of research on media and digital literacy, into developing audiovisual archival presentation platforms like Online Reading Rooms and exhibits.

“The More You Give The More You Get,” by Harry Verwayen of Europeana:

Europeana is the DPLA of Europe. ​Europeana is working with Historiana to bring their content into classrooms. Historiana is a platform developed by the European Association of History Educators (EUROCLIO).

Europeana developed a platform that shows statistics of how Europeana content is being used. These statistics are provided to the Europeana partners, and they appreciate having this information because it shows the benefit of partnering with Europeana and getting their content out there for people to access and use.

Harry discussed the recently launched Europeana Publishing Framework. The framework describes tiers of access to Europeana content. These tiers can be chosen by the partner institutions and appear as facets to the user on the Europeana website.

“Curation – What is it All About?”, by Liam Wylie of the RTE Archives

​RTE is public broadcasting for Ireland. Liam talked about how to promote your archive’s content on social media and on your website when you have limited resources. Their motto is Regular, Relevant and Reliant.

RTE Archives offers an “Archives Daily” where they feature relevant content in the news on their homepage and on social media. On their homepage, this is updated every day.

On their record pages, they have hand selected content that appears in a side bar with the header “More Like This Item.”

EUScreen Tools Workshop

EUscreen is developing two new tools – the Publication Builder which includes the Video Poster and WITH. EUscreen allows for users to register to the site and have access to these tools.

The Publication Builder allows for users to 1) favorite content in EUscreen, which can then be featured on the homepage of EUscreen; 2) bookmark content and share content via email (kind of like a citation tool); 3) create their own collections, which can be featured on the EUscreen website; and 4) create Video Posters. Video Posters and the Publication Builder will be beneficial to teachers and scholars who wish to incorporate the use of media into their curriculum. With Video Posters, users can choose a layout (1 video w/ text, 2 videos or 4 videos with text), choose their colors, add a title and contextual information with hyperlinks, and share their poster with other users.

WITH is an API that lets users create collections, exhibitions, and applications with EUscreen data. It’s a “Culture Sharing Social Platform.”
With WITH, users can 1) create collections and exhibitions; 2) configure personal group spaces; 3) follow other users; 4) add annotations to EUscreen content; and 5) share content.

“How Footage Was Originally Created,” by Professor John Ellis of the Royal Holloway University of London

​Professor Ellis is conducting video oral histories with retired staff of the BBC. In the interviews, he is primarily focusing on their use of production equipment.

“Teaching with Audiovisual Archives,” by Claude Mussou and Elsa Coupard of the French Audiovisual Institute (INA) 

INA developed a platform called Jalons which features around 1,600 hand-selected and clipped items from the INA archive for use by teachers. On Jalons, INA provides different ways for teachers to access content, including chronologically via a timeline, topically, and maps.

The content is hand-selected by a committee of teachers, scholars and archivists. Their selection includes consideration of what is most appropriate for teaching, and is used mostly for history and geography classes. INA updates the site every two years with new content that documents what has happened over those two years. They also select additional topics of relevancy including climate change. INA offers “Learning Paths,” which are tutorials and ready to use lesson plans for teachers. Downloading of the clips is available for teachers only.
The site is free. The target audience is secondary school ages 11-18.

“Historical Views on Curation” panel

This session was dedicated to having scholars present papers that they are publishing in the next issue of VIEW, the Journal of European Television History and Culture. VIEW “is the first peer-reviewed, multi-media and open access e-journal in the field of European television history and culture. It offers an international platform for academic research and archival reflection on television as an important part of our European cultural heritage. With its interdisciplinary profile, the journal is open to many disciplinary perspectives on European television – including television history, media studies, media sociology, cultural studies and television studies.”

One of the panelists was Lisa Kerrigan of the British Film Institute (BFI), who discussed Plunder, a BBC series from the 1960s that featured archival programs wrapped with commentary.  Lisa was also involved in a recent production called Visions of Change, a 2 disc documentary series on the evolution of the British TV Documentary from the BBC and BFI.

“Moving Images in History Education,” by Steven Stegers of EUROCLIO

Steven discussed the findings of a recent EUROCLIO report titled “Showing Films and Other AV Content in Europeans Schools: Obstacles and Best Practices.

Some of the key findings include:

  • Context is key
  • Highlighting (bolding) important text/details in records and exhibits helps students and teachers easily identify the most important information
  • Providing contrasting sources is key to ensuring well-rounded lesson plans
  • Teachers need concrete suggestions on how you can use AV content in classrooms
  • Teachers wants us to develop tools specifically targeted for reuse
  • Wikipedia is where people find stuff these days. AV archives should spend time adding links to relevant articles on Wikipedia so that more people can find our content.

“Transmedia Storytelling and Media History,” by Andreas Fickers of Luxembourg University

Professor Fickers discussed the importance of media and digital literacy and how archives should play a role in media literacy. He provided recommendations about mono-platform storytelling and creating an immersive experience with each format of content in exhibits.

“The Past is Today – New Approach to Archive Material,” by Piotr Sliwowski of the Warsaw Uprising Museum

Piotr presented on an amazing film that he produced called Powstanie Warszawskie, which was nominated for an Academy Award last year. It is the first dramatic film to use entirely archival footage, which has an amazing story in itself. The new film is about the Warsaw Uprising, which took place in 1944, when the citizens of Warsaw rebelled against the Nazis. Two brothers recorded the uprising on film and hid the film after the uprising. The communists took control of the film while they were in power, and it was ultimately transferred to the national archives. The archival film was silent and obviously in black and white. For the new feature film, the footage was colorized and restored. In addition, the producers added sound and hired expert lip readers to read the lips of the people in the footage and they added the voices and narration. Casey couldn’t resist buying several copies as holiday gifts for family members!

“Community Driven Video Accessibility,” by Dean Jansen of Amara

Dean is the founder of Amara, which is a non-profit that helps organizations engage with volunteers to transcribe av (both for captioning and translated subtitles).

Overall, the conference was amazing, and we were honored and thrilled to take part in it. If you haven’t explored the EUscreen collection yet, we strongly recommend doing so! You can dive in here:

One thought on “Content in Motion: AAPB attends EUscreen 2015 Conference

  1. I could comment a lot on this blog, but I’ll stick to pointing to one very important difference between both projects AAPB and EUscreenXL: the EUscreen projects (XL and its predecessors) were not based on a joint digitisation effort, as AAPB is. In Europe still every (AV or other) archive has to take care of itself when it comes to putting up a large scale digitisation plan or project and getting it financed. Some archives managed to do so (Sound & Vision, INA, some broadcasters, …), others are still in dire straits (on the Balkans for example). Stubbornly the EU refuses to fund almost every kind of digitisation of cultural heritage, and some national governments still don’t have a vision on digitisation in general. Flanders is one of the only regions in the EU where a true national strategy is developed and where the digitisation of audiovisual heritage is coordinated and funded centrally (by, my own institution), to avoid shattering resources and lower quality due to lack of technical knowledge. Nevertheless I’d like to stress that it is a good thing that AAPB and EUScreen get to know each other better, collaborate and exchange practices.

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