VIRAMI - Visual Information Retrieval for Archival Moving Imagery
Peter Enser , University of Brighton, United Kingdom
Christine Sandom , University of Brighton, United Kingdom

Session: Technology: Digital Video/ Broadband

Moving imagery, both documentary and non-factual, is recognised to be an important example of cultural heritage artefact. In common with other representational artefacts, advances in storage and transmission capabilities attendant upon digitisation would seem to provide opportunities for widening access and adding value to collections of film and video material.

Whilst technological advances promise to increase the physical accessibility of heritage information in moving image format, it is not at all clear that they can contribute greatly to the more pressing problem of improving subject access to archival footage.

A research project will be described in which a study has been undertaken of the nature and expression of client demand for archival moving images. Funded by re:source, the UK Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries, the project also provides an informed view on current indexing and retrieval strategies for such visually-encoded knowledge, as exercised by a number of representative film archives. It seeks to discover what information seekers require from moving image archives; what role automatic techniques might play in satisfying user requirements; and whether use of specialised terminology necessitates degrees of expert knowledge or thesaural support. This paper focuses on the first of these objectives.

Early conclusions indicate the absence of any consistent approach to subject or content cataloguing, and little in the way of standards to provide guidance; and that, typically, archives face a large backlog of uncatalogued footage. Requests for specific events, people and places predominate, moreover, thereby precluding the widespread adoption of automatic image retrieval techniques.

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Published: 01/09/01
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