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A virtual archive can only function if it is strictly
managed. At the Netherlands Institute for Sound and
Vision De Jong is involved in developing a digital
media archive management system that controls the
databases, servers and the network, and the actual
processing of data. De Jong: `You could say that it
manages the life cycle of the media objects, be it
shots, items, summaries, key words or the object as
such.' A system like that has to be rather versatile. It
has to be able to register and index any media object
(image, sound, text) in such a way that it can be
identified; to support any existing and future media
type; be able to migrate the content between media
types; and to be accessible in different ways either via
content or metadata. It also must contain the neces-
sary information on copyrights and authorisations.
That is quite important because for most of the con-
tent Sound and Vision does not own the copyright.
Implementing standards and protocols for archi-
ving is not easy. Partly because of the way the Dutch
broadcasting is organised, with twenty-eight indepen-
dent broadcasting organisations, which all have to be
persuaded to use the same standards and protocols.
Partly also because programs are made by creative
people who lack the discipline for archiving. De
Jong: `If it would be only for archiving in the tradi-
tional sense, people would not be motivated to store
the content they produce in a formalised way and
add the necessary metadata. But, because they expe-
rience more and more the difficulties in retrieving
digital information, they recognise the need of stan-
dards and protocols for storing data. I think if we can
give them easy-to-use tools they will be very eager
to co-operate, because it makes their work much
easier.'
rely on the services provided by Sound and Vision's
160 employees for their publications and research.
To do so, Sound and Vision keeps an impressive
collection of audiovisual material of which most is
kept at the Mediapark in Hilversum, where the
Dutch broadcasting industry operates.
2
The combined collections of Sound and Vision
include over 600,000 hours of footage and sounds,
which date back to the very beginning of cinema.
Dutch television and radio programs were collected
from the first rise of these media until today. Apart
from the objects in the Museum of Broadcast, there
are 300,000 movies, 125,000 videotapes, 2 million
photographs, 17,000 hours of radio-broadcast, 60,000
recordings of concerts and festivals, 100,000 compact
disks, 250,000 LP's and 35,000 recordings about the
history of broadcasting.Today, one of the largest
music collections in the world, the collection is
updated on a daily base with new material.
Preservation of the old material is an important issue.
Better conservation techniques are being implemen-
ted to safeguard the collection against decay. An
increasing part of the collection is being digitised.The
Dutch radio broadcastings are completely
recorded and archived, with the exception of the
broadcastings of the two music stations.There is no
need to record music, which is already present in the
archives.The institute acknowledges, however, that
the way music is being presented on the radio is in
fact part of cultural heritage.Therefore, twice a year,
an entire week of broadcasting is recorded.
DigiCULT 23
T
he Netherlands Institute for Sound and
Vision (Sound and Vision)
1
, until very
recently known as the Netherlands
Audiovisual Archive, was founded in 1997 after a
merger between four organisations.These organisa-
tions the Archives of Public Broadcast, the
Netherlands Government Film Service, the Museum
of Broadcast and the Film Research Foundation all
joined forces to preserve and exploit the Dutch
audiovisual heritage. Responsibilities vary from those
of a cultural heritage institution to a source of infor-
mation and material for the broadcasting industry.
Amongst Sound and Vision's main customers are
public and commercial broadcasters, producers,
journalists, schools and universities.These customers
ABOUT SOUND AND VISION
1
Sound and Vision website:
http://www.beeldengeluid.nl
2
Within a so-called `Digital
Platform', Sound and Vision
cooperates with Dutch public
broadcasters
(http://www.nos.nl) as well as
producers
(http://www.nob.nl) on issues
such as metadata standards.