Email Requests

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Requests for Information from a Film Archive: A Preliminary Analysis Centre for Human-Machine Interaction Risø National Laboratory, Denmark Morten Hertzum Annelise Mark Pejtersen Hanne Albrechtsen Camilla Buhr Hansen Bryan Cleal

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Introduction COLLATE project Early 20th century European films Cataloguing, indexing, and annotation Design, implementation, and evaluation of a collaboratory What does requests from users look like? About 200 email requests in 2000, increasing (DIF) Preliminary analysis of 128 of these requests

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Approaches to video retrieval An intellectual classification/indexing A sequence of images (or shots) A soundtrack with associated video A textually annotated temporal sequence A combination of the above

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General examples Specific persons The EU summit in Gothenburg 'Life in the countryside'

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Film domain examples The standard request is for a photo from a certain movie Examples: Pictures of the devil Pictures of women in a knight’s costume Information about specific actors or personalities The location of a film This is the archivists’ impression of the requests they get What requests do they actually get?

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Request types Known-item searching: a VHS copy of a specific film Subject retrieval: often ‘converted’ into known-item searching

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Context + Focus Focus only: difficult to form an interpretation of the request, also for subject retrieval (all information about a film) Both context and focus: often students writing a project/thesis

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Desired outcome Online access will probably be appreciated Currently, you have to visit the archive or pay for photocopies Too aggregated to tell whether they want videos, pictures, text etc.

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Contents of requests Title, year, and director used as entry point to all info about a film 54 of the requests are subject retrieval! Screening-related information changes as films are rerun on TV

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Topic of requests Movies as such Movies as a source of data about society and societal issues The development, status, and main persons of film magazines, festivals, and societies The (German) film industry as a whole. For example, 'When was dubbing introduced in Germany?' Persons to whom the requester is personally related, irrespective of whether this person was a director, actor...

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Film database Very detailed registration of production-related data 20 title categories 169 staff categories in 19 classes 17 censorship categories Several categories for handling parts of films (e.g., length) Virtually no subject-related classification/indexing What can be deduced from titles 6 film genres Fiction or non-fiction

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Conclusions Subject retrieval is frequent but often ‘converted’ Many requests provide no context Title, year, and director is expected to provide access to every piece of information about a film The current indexing Supports production-related requests well Provide virtually no support for subject-related requests, e.g., using films as a source of info about society and societal issues

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