20. December 2023

Forum on Audio(visual) Cultural Heritage and Research Data. Requirements for Workflows, Metadata and Repositories

By Dr. Martha Stellmacher

Creator: Gustav Hildebrand, Owner: Deutsche Fotothek / Hildebrand, Gustav

On November 16 and 17, 2023, NFDI4Culture and the Specialized Information Service Musicology of the SLUB Dresden invited to the virtual event “Audio(visual) cultural heritage and research data. Requirements for workflows, metadata and repositories”. The topic met with great interest: Over 200 participants from research and heritage institutions took part.

Over two afternoons, various portals, projects and archives that store audio(visual) data and make it accessible and gave insights into their work, The aim was to share experiences and challenges met at all stages of the life cycle of audiovisual data: from digitization and description to publication, which enables re-usability.

The first day was dedicated to current activities at the SLUB Dresden. Lukas Schneider presented the workflows in the state funded programme Safeguarding the audio-visual heritage in Saxony which since 2016 has enabled both institutional and private data providers to digitize audio and film material and to store and make it accessible in the long term.

To simplify the work steps associated with the digitization of audiovisual material, the SLUB is working on the further development of the open source software suite Kitodo hat comprises a production and presentation environment. This is connected to the development of a specific cataloging tool that will make it easier for external data providers to deliver structured metadata on their material to the SLUB. The contributions by Erik Sommer and André Eckardt were dedicated to the system architecture and the processes connected to it.

Barbara Wiermann and Martha Stellmacher spoke about the musiconn.audio repository for audio(visual) research data at the SLUB, a service currently being developed by the Specialized Information Service for Musicology. It responds to the growing need in musicology to publish audio or video files from research in a long-term and referenceable manner and will be available free of charge to projects or individual researchers for the publication of smaller amounts of data.

Rolf Bader (University of Hamburg) made the connection to the scientific perspective with a focus on the use of artificial intelligence to analyze audio or video recordings in the COMSAR project, including the Ethnographic Sound Recording Archive. In this portal, researchers can also upload their own field recordings and use the integrated tools for musical analysis.

On the second day of the event, four audio and video archives with different focuses reported on their practical experience with collecting, storing and making data accessible.

The recently launched Oral-History.Digital portal, presented by Herdis Kley and Cord Pagenstecher (Freie Universität Berlin), offers a cataloging platform and research environment for life history interviews. Compared to text transcripts, audiovisual recordings feature greater historical proximity , but necessitate an especially sensitive approach. In addition to technical aspects, methodological issues were discussed, as the use of interviews requires differentiated rights management and dedicated biographical contextualization.

Sven Strobel and Matti Stöhr provided insights into the technical development and content maintenance of the TIB AV Portal. This open access platform for scientific videos reacts on user habits of commercial streaming platforms—in its design, the provision of video recommendations, but also with integrated tools such as automatic speech recognition. Despite its focus on science and technology, the portal is open for content from all disciplines.

Maurice Mengel reported on the history and challenges of the Phonogramm-Archiv of the Ethnological Museum Berlin as part of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation. The archive uses the museum’s internal database MuseumPlus to describe its collections. Researchers can deposit their recordings in this archive, but currently only the metadata are accessible online via the “SMB Collections Online” portal.

The Language Archive Cologne focuses on endangered languages and oral literature. Felix Rau from the Data Center for the Humanities at the University of Cologne presented the data structure and demonstrated how researchers can submit their data to the repository which is based on the open source repository software KA³.

This intensive two-day event provided the opportunity for constructive and critical dialog on cutting-edge topics both by the individual contributions and the multifaceted discussions. In addition to the exchange on specific technical tools, workflows and long-term archiving solutions in the individual portals and projects, overarching topics such as uniform data standards for better interoperability and the adaptation of services to specific target groups have been discussed.


Program: https://nfdi4culture.de/id/E5193

Shared material:

Slides of the talks

Minutes of the event

Collection of useful links