One hundred years ago this year the very first explosive device was dropped from the air in Libya, of all places, and the age of “war from the air” was inaugurated. Somewhere in Italy’s state archives in Rome are the photographic and audiovisual records of that war. But how easily accessible are these documents to researchers and learners?
It is becoming evident that the conflicts and indeed the events of the 20th century can be fully investigated only when today’s historians have the equivalent relationship to the moving image as they have to the recorded text.
This short video by the Jisc Film & Sound Think Tank highlights the issues involved in opening up access to film archives.
Film and television archives, delivered over the web, are as essential for learning today as libraries of books. Students already expect to use the full gamut of rich media in their education, and by 2014 video will account for 91% of global consumer traffic on the internet.
However, a recent report from the Jisc Film & Sound Think Tank identifies what it refers to as the “AV gap” (the Audio Visual gap) between the expectations of learners and the reality of education today.
The report says, “The engines of our screen culture – film, television, and radio – were the dominant media of the 20th century, and many of the most important and most memorable messages of the 20th and 21st centuries have been expressed in moving images and sound. Yet education has far to go still to incorporate them systematically in teaching and learning.”
The Film & Sound Think Tank was convened with the aim of advising Jisc on all issues relating to the creation, discovery, use, delivery and preservation of film and sound resources in education and to input into relevant strategic and policy areas.
Contributors came from a broad set of organisations within broadcast, production, archives, research and education. Those who contributed to the work clearly recognised that there was an opportunity to work in partnership to enhance film and sound archive provision – and all were interested in the challenges and opportunities around enhancing usage for education, research and beyond.
The report marks the culmination of the group’s work and proposes a series of strategic recommendations aimed at promoting current audiovisual collections and making them easily findable and usable for educational purposes.
The recommendations include, among others, strategies for improving resource discovery, clarifying licensing information, allowing more sophisticated manipulation and citation of moving images, and partnership work between Higher Education institutions and producers and broadcasters.
These high level approaches echo the more practical, every day, barriers to embed sound and moving images in education also identified in this blog post.
We are currently exploring how the recommendations made by the group can be taken forward in collaboration with Jisc Services and other organizations working in this area. For example through enhancements to relevant Jisc Services such as BUFVC, Jisc Digital Media and MediaHub as well as through forthcoming projects to commemorate the anniversary of the First World War and activities around the BBC-led Digital Public Space.
The report was written by Paul Gerhardt and Peter B. Kaufman and can be found here together with a range of video resources and podcasts.