Among the highlights of the two days were several live demonstrations ('firsts') of remote archive access. Birgitta Stannius (DR) made a live connection via broadband Internet to the DR archive in Copenhagen, and was able to interrogate and inspect material. Later on in the workshop, Michael Mullane (EBU) gave a live demonstration of the EBU's new potential system for news for radio Members via the internet, uploading and downloading material. In a sense there seem to be no technical barriers to Members accessing other Members' archives, because of the growing availability of broadband connections across Europe. However, there are differences in cataloguing systems and metadata and in language.
One of the most impressive audio archive systems in the world must be that of RNE, the Spanish national broadcaster, shown to delegates. The archive covers the essence of important events and culture in Spain for over 70 years, and the search facilities for finding individual speakers, music, etc amid hundreds of thousands of hours of material are impressive.
Legal issues for archives are often extremely complex, but members have made considerable progress in methods of rationalising rights, and in Germany a brilliantly simple system of 'traffic light colours' is used so that content rights can be seen at a glance.
Delegates were exposed to several programme formats which used Archives. They included 'L'Aventurière' an EBU co-production which creates a narrative based on the most compelling archive material found to be available. The results are quite unique and very attractive viewing.
Common metadata format
The group discussed a number of areas where the EBU could help members to make the most of their archives. In particular, the meeting called for a common metadata for exchange of archives. Will the EBU Technical Community be able to rise to this challenge? Time will tell.