Email Requests

Category: Education

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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


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


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


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


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?


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


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


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.


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


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...


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


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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