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Every year Sound and Vision handles 100,000 appli-
cations, most of them for reuse of material.
De Jong believes that the ongoing digitisation of
the production, distribution, broadcasting and archi-
ving of radio, television and (more and more) web
programs will lead to an unprecedented growth of
both size and complexity of information. `To control
the flow of information you have to have an infra-
structure.You could compare it with the infrastructure
of dykes, sluices and other works to control the flow
and level of our rivers and streams. So, at the moment
we are developing standards and protocols to lay
down format and content of digital data. In the near
future these standards will help to make and keep the
data accessible during all stages of production. From
the first idea of a program maker to the storage and
possible reuse in twenty-five or fifty or a 100 years.'
The standards and protocols will differ enormously
from current practice. De Jong: `Traditionally we are
at the end of the chain. Everything that is broadcasted
is itemised and described by our specialised archivists.
Not only the content of the program, but also the
underlying documents and the footage that has not
been used. Quite a cumbersome work that in the
light of the growing information flow has to be
automated. Replacing a person by a robot will not
suffice though.What we aim for is a way of archiving
whereby metadata for storage and reuse are gene-
rated during the whole process from idea to broad-
cast and are linked to the content.This content,
including related material like documents, will have
to be described and categorised in such a way that it
can be stored in a database and made available to our
clients in a format that suits them.'
When asked, De Jong says that the information
will not be stored in one single archive database, but
in several databases for television, radio, photographs,
musical recordings, catalogue descriptions, and props,
such as material items that have been used in programs,
like a clowns suit or the hat of a police inspector in a
popular series. For easy access it is essential though
that these databases are linked through a single inter-
face and that the metadata are compatible. Sound and
Vision is in the process of developing a standard for
metadata, which is suitable for the audiovisual archive
These metadata differ from metadata of text in the
sense that audiovisual content carries more implicit
information (colour, shape) and by nature is more
temporal (time-dependent). Furthermore, the meta-
data contain information on technical aspects like
format and resolution.That is why Sound and Vision
is heavily involved in developing standards for audio-
visual metadata both internally and in co-operation
with other organisations in EBU (P/Meta project).
Browser: P/Meta - Metadata Exchange Scheme
P/Meta website, (Task forces)
SCHEMAS activity report on P/Meta by A. de Jong
(Review date: 2002-01-31),
Richard Hopper: EBU Project Group P/Meta. In: EBU Technical
Review, April 2002,
De Jong: `Developing of international standards is a
slow process. On the other hand technology develop-
ment is driving you forward. So we develop our own
standards but that process is closely linked to the
development of international standards.'
Beeld en Geluid