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Institute for Sound & Vision

Updated: Oct 23, 2018

We arose and left early for Hilversum today. Our instructor misunderstood our appointment and so we arrived several hours ahead of schedule. The staff at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (NISV) were kindly accommodating and began presentations for us after just a short wait.


We met first with Jasper Snoeren, a knowledge officer, archivist, and media historian. His job is to share NISV knowledge with the outside world.

The Netherlands has 3 public television stations and 5 public radio stations. They annually record a week in the year of all Dutch programming, but otherwise archive just the publicly-funded programs. They also house film archives of some corporations, and that is funded by the corporations themselves. They are working on also methods to best archive Dutch websites, web video, videogames, and other emerging media.

A huge part of this, of course, is making the material findable. The value of an archive depends on its reuse... which depends on its retrieval... which depends on rich metadata. Their goal is to have more and better metadata with less effort (like MPLP).

Interior of NISV

The MPLP ethos was echoed by Tim Manders, who manages media optimization. He works with artificial intelligence and the philosophy:

  • Let others do the work

  • Let the thesaurus do the work

  • Let computers do the work

  • Let's do it together

For instance, he works with media producers to regulate the metadata that is imported with the files. NISV is also working on speech and facial recognition to suggest descriptive information.

NISV vaults

We next met with Arnoud Goos, the ingest coordinator. He spoke about the focus on YouTube and Vimeo as web video platforms. He described YouTube as "the Sesame Street for the aging youth of today." Tools for preserving other types of social media are manual, so they have less of a focus there for now.

He also spoke about the idiosyncrasies of archiving videogames. For now, they preserve the software and the digitization of it, but they can't save the equipment needed to play it as placing such as device into the archives as an artifact prohibits its further use, and using them wears them out. Therefore, they have to develop other methods of understand and observe the video throughout time. As for what they choose to harvest, they have criteria based on popularity, new innovations, and the artist/aesthetic nature of it.

NISV vaults

After lunch and a tour of the facilities, we met with Gregory Markus, a project leader for creative reuse of the archives. We works with outside entities to use the NISV archives in new ways. For instance, he started RE:VIVE, a project that encourages artist composition from archived material that connects the past with the present.

Creative reuse is, in my opinion, an amazingly innovative idea. We commonly think of archives as places to perform research for personal enrichment, justifications for current actions, or academic knowledge expansion. Allowing artists to come and use materials with their unique methods and ideas allows both them and their audiences to draw connections that might not have been made previously in the public sphere. I am truly excited about how society's neurons may willingly misfire as a result!

Gregory Markus


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