Panel #3: Practises in transnational archiving

Moderator: Per Jauert, Aarhus University

The panel facilitated a discussion between different approaches to the value of transnational archives: the didactic archive; the cultural heritage archive; the technologically enhanced archive and the research driven archive. It also addressed the question of what conceptual, technical and didactic means are best suited to stimulate extended and new, productive forms of use and to further collaboration in transnational radio archiving.

Stefania Scagliola - Erasmus University Rotterdam, representing Audiovisual Archives in the Digital Age.

The point of departure was answers to the question why access to cultural heritage across the border is important? The short answers to be elaborated on was (1) ideas and people travel (art, inventions, discoveries, news); (2) people are forced to move (migration, war, political oppression); (3) geo-political dependency. These elements were then illustrated through short presentations of three anthropological research projects from the Netherlands, where collected materials (interviews, video footage, photographs, diaries and story telling etc.) were compiled in digital archives. The Dutch Veterans Interview project holds 1000 audio taped interviews; The Oorlogsliefdekind/War Love Child project holds 18 videos (in Dutch, English, Indonesian) with children fathered by Dutch military during the decolonisation war with Indonesia (1945-1949), and The Balkan Voices holds 450 videos (in English and local languages) with victims of war and detention in the Balkan region. The potentials of these digital born archives are the options for connectivity to similar archival projects through linking, using automatic linking and indexing. Furthermore it offers possibilities to exploit the potentials for interaction with similar communities in other countries. Finally it makes it possible to exploit multidisciplinary potential of sources with digital tools. These options were demonstrated and the presentation ended by a short introduction to a DARIAH initiated open access modular portal for teaching/training materials in the digital humanities.



Richard Ranft – The British Library, representing Europeana Sounds

Europeana Sounds at your fingertips” is a 3-year project (2014-2017), funded by EU’s Europeana project, also involving EUScreen, European Film Gateway, The European Library and APEX. Europeana Sound involves 24 organisations from 12 countries, e.g. National Libraries, Archive and Research Centres, Universities and Public and Private Companies, and it cooperates with SoundCloud and Spotify, HistoryPin and IASA (International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives).

The Europeana is a single access point to Europe’s cultural heritage, aggregating metadata records from 3000 cultural heritage institutions across Europ, linking to 41 M objects: photos, books, paintings, sounds, videos etc. via a multilingual interface in 30 European languages. Sound items amounts to 1,5% of the total collection, but sound accesses for 15%.

According to Ranft one of the most prominent objectives of Europeana Sounds is to find solutions for both national and transnational access the Europe’s audio heritage through agreements with the right holders, mainly but not only with the national public service broadcasters. Another important objective is to improve discovery and use of the archives by enriching and cross-linking metadata for 2M audio and related items, since the related collections hold not only audio material, but different digital objects.

Europeana Sounds – uniting sound archives

In order to improve the usability Europeana is creating Europeana Channels for audio and other content, e.g. Europeana Music, Europeana Art History, Europeana Fashion and Europeana Newpapers.


Golo Föllmer, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, representing The TRE project.

The Transnational Radio Knowledge Platform was set up as a curated resource for radio in transnational contexts. It is offering entry points for different audiences including scientific researchers as well as a broader public interested in media in history and present. Users can freely browse diverse essay-like stories on phenomena of transnational radio, learn about TRE's individual projects and their theoretiacl and methodological backgrounds, and start search queries to find audio sources, other media and literature in the TRE context. Publications of TRE-members, comments on the literature in the knowledge platform, and explanations on methods and data used in TRE are freely accessible to everyone, helping other researchers in their work.

Most entries in the database are made by TRE-members. Consistent metadata tags are added according to standards that maximize their precision and thus improve the search experience. In addition to keyword-based search, there is a full-text search available for uploaded documents (PDF, word documents etc.). Other users (Non-TRE-Members) are invited to contribute to the database by entering audio sources, other media and literature on their own using their own user account.

The database offers facet search and tagging according to chosen topics. Audios can be collaboratively commented at chosen points in the timeline, thus offering opportunities to exchange methodical approaches and analytical insight between researchers accross borders.

TRE database


Hermann Rotermund, Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, representing Sounds of the European Past.

Sounds of the European Past is a EU funded project with partners from seven European countries, mainly universities and public broadcasters, supported by IT –development units.

Sounds of the European Past

The objective of this digital research infrastructure is to develop sound studies research, targeting at environmental sounds from different perspectives, e.g. cultural studies and technical studies on digital or digitalised material from radio and sound archives. The aim is to develop a technical infrastructure, a “Technologically enhanced archive” (Rotermund), opening up for a common metadata concept: e.g. sound segmentation, speech recognition and participatory indexing (Crowdtagging)

In the final part of his presentation, Rotermund addressed the key questions for the discussion among the panellists and the audience. Especially the need for open research access to sound and visual archived material was highlighted in the discussion. The proposal from Rotermund to support legal initiatives on a Pan-European scale regarding copyrights and exploitation rights was acclaimed.


Key questions for the panel discussion

  • how can the archive best be customized to the needs of diverse user groups?
  • how can radio scholars and producers best be encouraged to use and actively build the archive?
  • how can new extended uses (for teaching, dissemination, production etc.) be encouraged?
  • how can the general public be involved and how can property rights be managed?