TAPE logo  
Training for Audiovisual Preservation in Europe contact | home | sitemap 
print version

Access, delivery and presentation
In most digitization projects, collection managers and curators tend to approach a project from their thorough knowledge of the nature and content of the materials to be digitized. Although user requirements are an element in every digitization project, in fact not much is known about present users, whereas views on the expectations and interests of potential users are necessarily largely intuitive. In addition, the novelty of the technology and the lack of experience with new media invites a strong involvement first and foremost in technical aspects, which especially when time and resources for the project are limited may result in neglect of aspects relating to design and usability.

An uncertain focus in term of user requirements and target groups in combination with an unfamiliarity with the characteristics and possibilities (or limitations) of the new media may adversely affect the outcome of projects in that the final product –be it a website or a CD/DVD– is in some ways not optimally developed for the target audience and/or does not meet all the requirements of good functional and visual design. Many institutions, particularly archives and research institutes, use in-house staff to develop products and do not have the resources to contract external multimedia developers and designers. In case where they do work with specialized studios, they may lack the experience to critically evaluate user interfaces, layout and functionality.

For the presentation of audiovisual materials, there are in practice still considerable technical limitations in terms of available bandwidth, storage capacity, compression techniques etc which have to be taken into account for online delivery to users. The proliferation of websites offering music, streaming video and film, however, can be expected to drive technology in the coming years so that for the cultural sector webdelivery of sound and moving images will also become a familiar phenomenon. It is therefore necessary that cultural institutions know how to present such materials for different target groups.

The quality of access to audiovisual materials very much depends on the availability and quality of the accompanying descriptive metadata. When presenting an audiovisual collection institutions have to synchronize the metadata they present to the needs of their target audience. When providing joint access to multiple collections, standardisation of search-and-retrieval metadata elements is of essential importance. This goes beyond ensuring interoperability of underlying descriptive systems through mapping and relating elements to a shared standard: from a user’s perspective it is of primary importance that interfaces follow the same principles of organization and presentation, so that accessing materials through a variety of applications is easy and straightforward.

Presentation of audiovisual materials
Report of the TAPE Expert Meeting Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum für Film und Fernsehen, Berlin 24-25 January 2008.

  Related links  
Streaming media FAQ

BIRTH Television Archive
The BIRTH website makes it possible to view old television programs and the website provides context information about these early days of European television. This information consists of photos, program guides, scientific articles, a timeline and access to a network of academics and institutes who are involved with the history of European television.

Websites with on-line video, part of BUND (British Universities Newsreel Database).
A small number of websites are currently streaming newsreel footage across the Internet; the number of sites supplying such a service and particularly the number of films available are likely to grow significantly in the future. The sites listed cover newsreels worldwide. Television news resources are also listed.

German newsreels archive
The Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv have started a pilot project to conserve, catalogue and digitise about 90 million hours of German newsreel material. The newsreels can be viewed online in streaming video, but it is also possible to order copies in different formats.

A working group will be established in the TAPE project to review existing applications, evaluating goals, effectiveness, usability and design in order to provide feedback for improving presentation and functionality. Basic principles will be formulated in WP2, as user requirements and presentation are also topics for the training programme. The working group will use the results of the technology working group on technical requirements and recommendations of the working group on research collections for requirements of a specific target group for a more in-depth study in the second half of the project. They will work from extensive experience in building websites, structuring information, design and presentation. Rather than formulate general and theoretical recommendations, they will evaluate available offline and online products for different user groups for their strengths and weaknesses and present examples of successful design that may guide and inspire developers of multimedia applications in cultural institutions.