Economies of the Commons Panel 1: Audiovisual Archives

The first panel Audiovisual Archives of the ‘Economies of Commons’ conference concentrates on the accessibility by digital technology for the wide public and education purposes. The new online access and distribution possibilities are discussed on a technical level and also in the perspective of national and international rights issues.

In his presentation ‘Inside the Media’, Pelle Snickars from the SLBA (National Media Archive Sweden) compares the actual situation of audiovisual archives to the first translation of the bible by Henry VIII. The distribution of the duplication of the text was taking place all over the Britain. But the bible was fixed in the place of worship by a chain for security reasons. Many of the audiovisual and media archives are placed in a similar situation. They keep their material on the shelves instead of making it accessible by new technologies. Through an architecture of participation and Chris Anderson’s long tale, Snickars argues that the age of mass media is transformed to the age of masses of media by the huge amount of media producers on the web. Improved access needs to be a guiding principle.


The Creative Archive launched by the British Film Institut (BFI) in 2005 aims to develop a digital portfolio and give a public value to the institution. The user can access material for free and create new clips by playing around with the moving images in order to re-contextualize them. It is not an economic model but more an educational one. Poppy Simpson from the BFI stresses that the future of access to archival material is a hybrid model with tired access or electronic guides. Functionality has to be developed to re-use the material in a more intensive manner.


Tobias Golodnoff from the Danish radio and television archive (Dansk Culturav) argues that the value of the archive is generated by its use. Making the material on-line available means giving it back to the public. The case study of the Danish archive shows how the public can participate and interact with the archive. The project Bonanza invited the public to participate in the preservation project by voting which audiovisual material should be digitized in a first phase. The Web 2.0 application gives the opportunity to the user to be an innovator and to develop on projects that are officially over but still on the internet.


In France the INA (Institut National de l’Audiovisuel) operates with a more commercial model that can be considered as a VOD platform. The archive proposes audiovisual material through the internet on a B2B or B2P model. The activity of on-line access is extremely costly and advertisement or sponsoring can help to develop the services. Once archives are online it’s not enough. There should be an added value to be found to maintain interest. We must adapt to how people use online video today. The challenge is to join with content the creation of new users experience. Roei Almit from INA thinks that there is not only one business model that will answer all our needs.


It is not enough to put the material on the web. The add of value and the contextualization of the user can help to keep the audiovisual data interesting.

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