An examination of automatic video retrieval technology on access to the contents of an historical video archive

PETRELLI, Daniela and AULD, Dan (2008). An examination of automatic video retrieval technology on access to the contents of an historical video archive. Program: electronic library and information systems, 42 (2), 115-136.

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Purpose – This paper aims to provide an initial understanding of the constraints that historical video collections pose to video retrieval technology and the potential that online access offers to both archive and users. Design/methodology/approach – A small and unique collection of videos on customs and folklore was used as a case study. Multiple methods were employed to investigate the effectiveness of technology and the modality of user access. Automatic keyframe extraction was tested on the visual content while the audio stream was used for automatic classification of speech and music clips. The user access (search vs browse) was assessed in a controlled user evaluation. A focus group and a survey provided insight on the actual use of the analogue archive. The results of these multiple studies were then compared and integrated (triangulation). Findings – The amateur material challenged automatic techniques for video and audio indexing, thus suggesting that the technology must be tested against the material before deciding on a digitisation strategy. Two user interaction modalities, browsing vs searching, were tested in a user evaluation. Results show users preferred searching, but browsing becomes essential when the search engine fails in matching query and indexed words. Browsing was also valued for serendipitous discovery; however the organisation of the archive was judged cryptic and therefore of limited use. This indicates that the categorisation of an online archive should be thought of in terms of users who might not understand the current classification. The focus group and the survey showed clearly the advantage of online access even when the quality of the video surrogate is poor. The evidence gathered suggests that the creation of a digital version of a video archive requires a rethinking of the collection in terms of the new medium: a new archive should be specially designed to exploit the potential that the digital medium offers. Similarly, users' needs have to be considered before designing the digital library interface, as needs are likely to be different from those imagined. Originality/value – This paper is the first attempt to understand the advantages offered and limitations held by video retrieval technology for small video archives like those often found in special collections.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Awarded an Emerald Literati 2009 Award for Excellence - Highly Commended.
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Art and Design Research Centre
Identification Number:
Page Range: 115-136
Depositing User: Daniela Petrelli
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2011 17:14
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 02:19

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