Report of the EuroITV 2010 Conference in Tampere, Finland

Friday, June 18th, 2010

The 8th EuroITV Conference was held in Tampere, Finland on 9-11 June 2010. EuroITV is the leading conference on interactive television and video. Hosts of the conference were the Tampere University of Technology, the Helsinki University of Technology and the Tampere University of Applied Sciences.

This year’s theme “web.sharing.tv.content” created a space for a very broad range of topics, not only focussing on the television itself, but also on television content on the Internet, the mobile phone and crossovers between television and various other (social) media.

The first day of the conference was dedicated to tutorials, mainly about designing interactive television applications, and workshops about user experiences, the future of television and integrated, ambient television applications. The second and third day were filled with poster presentations, demonstrations and various sessions with a broad range of topics like personalization and recommendation systems, interactive applications and convergence and cross-media. These two days also included two keynotes by Marcos Gonzalez-Flower, Global Head of Media Consulting at Siemens UK and Jyri Huopaniemi, Director of the Nokia Research Center.

The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision has made a substantial contribution to the conference with a short paper presentation about expert search by broadcast professionals, two demonstrations about television and the semantic web, and browsing archival video with advanced video retrieval and last but not least, the Golden Award (first prize) for Waisda? in the Grand Challenge Competition.

Some conference highlights:

Methods for User Studies of Interactive (TV) Technologies

This full day workshop was chaired by Dr. Paul Marrow from BT Innovative & Design, Dr. Lydia Meesters from Eindhoven University of Technology and Prof. Marianna Obrist from the ICT&S Center of the University Salzburg. As the title of the workshop already suggests, this workshop wasn’t just about user studies methodologies for television technologies, but also for interactive technologies in general. Measuring user experiences for any interactive application is a very complex form of research, which requires a very pragmatic and ‘open’ research attitude. This workshop focussed on the many approaches that are used for measuring different levels of user experience. Approximately 20 people joined this workshop, which are all researchers working for various companies and universities, and doing research on interactive applications.

The morning programme contained presentations from the workshop participants about the various approaches and practices in researching user experience. In the afternoon session, participants were asked to pose a number of research questions and problems. After clustering these into main themes, the participants split up in three groups, where one theme was discussed in more detail. The results of the discussions were documented in a poster and presented to the other groups. The main insight of this day was that user experience has to be measured by combining various research methods, both quantitative and qualitative, and that the various stages within the product development require different forms of testing with different user groups.

Session ITV Applications for Communities

This session was scheduled to contain four presentations: two on mobile video sharing and two on digital archiving. Unfortunately, the speaker of the presentation about user inspired digital archiving of cultural heritage wasn’t able to attend, so the focus was mainly drawn towards video on mobile devices.

Mobile Video Sharing: Documentation Tools for Working Communities – Antti Koivisto

Antti Koivisto from Tampere University of Technology presented the development and the infrastructure of MoViE, a mobile application that allows users to create short clips of their environment and upload these to a website where they can share, edit and remix the content Together with his colleagues from Tampere university, he did a first test with the prototype during a festival and although users liked the application a lot, there were some technical issues like a failing Internet connection that made the use of the prototype difficult at times. The test results were used to improve the MoViE application and they are currently working on a new version.

Troubleshooting and Creating Joined Experience: Festival Personnel Engaging in Mobile Video – Anna Haverinen

This talk by Anna Haverinen from the University of Turku reported the results of the first MoViE tests from a user perspective. As a virtual anthropologist, she analysed the kind of content the test subjects created during the test. Eight festival employees acted as test subjects and were asked to shoot and upload videos during the festival. She discovered a great difference between the remarks that people made about the application and the actual use of it. For instance, some people for instance indicated that a commenting tool was very helpful and easy, without actually using it in practice.

Expert Search for Radio and Television: a Case Study amongst Dutch Broadcast Professionals – Wietske van den Heuvel

This talk was given by Wietske van den Heuvel from Sound and Vision. The presentation highlighted the results from a study in which eight broadcast professionals from various broadcasting companies were observed while performing searches with the online search system of Sound and Vision. The research focussed on the question if the task affects the professionals’ search strategy. Three kinds of factors were researched: difference in searching for radio or television content, difference in length (shots versus entire programs) and the influence of time restraints. Results from the study show there is no difference between the search strategies that are used during the performance of the tasks. People always use the same strategy, despite their information need.

The EuroITV 2010 Grand Challenge Competition

The Grand Challenge Competition honours the creation of interactive video content, applications, and services that enhance the television and video viewing experience. The entries are judged by an international jury of interactive media experts and the best entry is awarded with a prize of € 3,000. Three entries were nominated before the start of the conference:

  1. Smart Video Buddy: an application that analyses video streams and automatically detects semantic concepts, which are used to create links to related content.
  2. Smeet: one of the fastest growing online 3D world and chat community for entertainment and social viewing on the Internet.
  3. Waisda?: a video labeling game by Sound and Vision and KRO Broadcasting. The labels or ‘tags’added by Waisda? players can be used as time-related metadata, which improves the findability of the content.

The awards ceremony took place during the first keynote session on June 10, where Waisda? was named as the Grand Challenge winner. The nominated applications were also demonstrated during the rest of the conference day.

Demonstrations

The programme included various interesting demonstrations, two of which were given by Johan Oomen from Sound and Vision. The first demonstration concerned Video Active and EUscreen . Both projects provide free online access to Europe’s television heritage. Video Active ended in August 2009 and EUscreen started as its follow-up project in October 2009. Both projects are funded within the eContentplus programme of the European Commision. EUscreen will contain over 30,000 items and is one of the main audiovisual aggregators for Europeana. The EUscreen portal will be online in January 2011. The second demonstration showed the project Hollands Glorie op Pinkpop, which ended in February 2010. The project is a cooperation between Sound and Vision, Videodock, the University of Amsterdam and the University of Twente. By using automatic concept detection and speech recognition, videos of pop concerts and interviews with the musicians are searchable on individual shot level. Videos from the pop festival Pinkpop were used for this public demo website. Users could also give feedback on the level of retrieval and indicate if the concept detection was right or wrong. This feedback will be used to improve the concept detection technology.

Further reading

Read the full conference programme here
Conference report by CTOi Consulting

 

Panel 3: European Digital Library

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

The third session of the second day was held under the heading European Digital Library. The four speakers presented the initiatives that they work on, the gaps that are called to fill, what has been succeeded by now and what are their future plans.

Paul Doorenbosch, the first speaker, presented the project of the National Library of The Netherlands, the Dutch approach of the digitisation project in the European Context, the creation of a Digital Library.It is based on the i2010, the EU policy framework for the information society and media for a European Information Society for all citizens, based on a series of flagships; the key proposals of i2010. Digital Library focuses on both cultural heritage and scientific information. Paul Doorenbosch talked about the national plan for developing infrastructure, professionality and copyright issues. He mentioned the Dutch governmental actions in digitisation, the nationally – such as Images for the Future (Beelden voor de Toekomst) and Dutch Heritage:Digital!- and internationally based projects such as MICHAEL and EDN. EUROPEANA, a project which was analysed by the second speaker, is the reference point for the digitisation activities of The Netherlands.

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Jill Cousins, the director of European Digital Library, took the floor to talk more thoroughly about EUROPEANA,a European digital library net that aims to connect museums, libraries, archives and audio-visual collections under the supervision of European Digital Library Foundation (EDL). She started by mentioning the gaps between vision and reality that EUROPEANA tries to fill, such as the relationships of users and content providers, content and copyright, Europe and nation, nation and Institution, funding and attitude.

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Jill Cousins continued by presenting the work plan of EUROPEANA, what has been succeeded by now, which is the current situation and what are the next steps. A fully working prototype will be launched in November 2008. What EUROPEANA aims for the future is to increase the number of partners, to determine the discussion model, conceive the roadmap and, last but not least, find the funding for next year.
The third initiative was VideoActive, presented by Sonja de Leeuw, professor of Film and Television at the University of Utrecht. VideoActive is a two-year project (2006-2008) for bringing European television archives together. It has 14 members in 10 countries. It is about 10.000 items of television archival content from earliest TV recordings on film, to data such clipping of TV guides and still photos. The portal will be launched in May 2008. What adds value to this project is the procedure of comparison. It studies the differences and similarities of European television in different topics, like the content, the language. It is about a comparative survey of TV holding of archive partners.

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The last speaker was Georg Erkes, who talked about the European Film Getaway (EGF) project which will give online access to film archival content. EFG will start in September 2008. Its aim is based on the new user expectations and the necessity of internet accessibility. Its objectives are to create a single access point, a common European filmography and a gateway to content from film archives. At this moment, EFG has 22 partners and 16 content partners. Georg Erkes mentioned that the technical part of the project will be supported by DRIVER (Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research). The content will be based on catalogues and film content, so it will be both media and document types. Of course, Georg Erkes pointed out the IPR issues that EFG has to deal with facts such as that the half material, especially the moving images, is not owned by the archives partners or the public domain and that there is not experience in rights-clearance. Netherlands Filmmuseum will lead on IPR work package. What it is attempted is the evaluation of copyright laws and regulations in each member country.

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All speakers mentioned the difficulties of their projects but they also stressed their intention to continue the European vision for the digital unification of European archives.

 

The European Digital Library is taking shape

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

Images for the Future has a broader context – all over the world major digitisation projects are creating large-scale online heritage resources. The European Commission acknowledges the magnificent value these resources have if this wealth of material in Europe’s libraries, museums and (audiovisual) archives would be accessible to all.

Since a few years, the European Commission is supporting various initiatives that help realising this vision, dubbed ‘the European Digital Library’. These include research oriented projects such as MultiMatch, projects focussing on providing access such as Video Active and best practice networks on a specific topic, such as COMMUNIA. Knowledge exchange between projects is stimulated by coordination actions like CHORUS.

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Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic
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Until now, these efforts did not result in one single access point to collections across different domains. The heterogeneous nature of heritage (covering different languages, held by different organisations with their own standards for digitisation and annotation etc.) is the major obstacle. To meet user demands and in order to provide the complete picture, the access point should therefore provide solutions that provide for syntactic, semantic and linguistic interoperability between collections and objects. Needless to say: this is an extremely complex task. Therefore, expectations are high for the EDLnet, the recently launched initiative that tries to overcome exactly these obstacles and create the envisioned single window to the collections and objects. The press release states:

“The project – the European Digital Library network (EDLnet) – runs for two years, and will develop a prototype that demonstrates proof of concept, bringing together content from some of Europe’s major cultural organisations.
The project will be run by The European Library together with the National Library of the Netherlands. The project will look at the political, human, technical and semantic issues that will contribute to the creation of an interoperable system able to access fully digitised content. It will invite feedback from different types of users in order to create a service that enriches the widest public and answers the needs of researchers, students, teachers and the creative industries.”

Through Sound and Vision, Images for the Future is well represented in this network and contributes actively the workpackages around which the activities are organised. Representatives of the Video Active project participate in the workpackages on User Requirements and Interoperability, whilst mr. Edwin van Huis (general director of Sound and Vision and president of the International Federation of Television Archives) has a seat in the Executive Board of the EDL Foundation, the body that has been established to govern the further development of the European Digital Library.

I will– after this introduction – continue to report on the developments within this exiting initiative. Already, trough portals like Video Active, Images for the Future is making sure that we fully comply with the standards defined by the EDL Net. The content we offer online will be a great addition to the collections of others, the real power is enclosed in the relations that can be created between objects from different organisations; contextualisation on a pan European scale in the making!

(Johan Oomen is policy advisor at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. Contact: joomen[at]beeldengeluid.nl)