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Lost TV archives from across Europe are revealed online

Posted on 27/10/2011

Television buffs, historians and even foreign language students could benefit from EUscreen, a new online portal that launches today (Thursday 27 October), providing access to thousands of TV clips from across Europe.

EUscreen is a groundbreaking collaboration with 36 partners from 19 countries providing access to thousands of items of archive TV footage dating from the early 1900s until today, with academics at Royal Holloway, University of London providing a key role in delivering the content selection strategy.

The portal provides a wide variety of functionalities to help users search and browse the collection, which can be used in different contexts such as curricula and research programmes, for remix, and to leisurely explore popular history. Additional tools for curated exhibitions and an academic e-journal which researches significant trendsin over 60 years of European television with the help of original programme sources will become available in 2012.

The portal includes rare footage such as interviews with Easy Rider stars Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper from 1969 and a news programme on the lesser known Casino Royale, a 1967 spoof James Bond film. As well as providing new and exciting insights into Europe’s TV heritage, it also offers news footage and commentary on key events in history, including an interview with Martin Luther King from 1962 about racial discrimination in the US and his most recent arrest, and news footage from 1963 investigating whether the British are for or against joining the European Economic Community.

John Ellis, Professor of Media Arts at Royal Holloway and principal investigator on the EUscreen project, said: “This is a valuable resource for anyone interested in social history or indeed TV history, as it brings together tens of thousands of clips from across Europe. The portal is available to anyone (not only academics) and it is very easy to get absorbed and spend hours browsing all of the footage.” 

The footage is also proving a hit with foreign language students who use the clips as a learning aid. With clips available in 15 languages, including French, German, Italian and Greek.

Dr Sian Barber, EUscreen project researcher at Royal Holloway, said: “Although the project was not originally intended to act as a tool for teaching languages, the content lends itself to this purpose as there is a wealth of news footage and programmes in foreign languages. It can really help language students to practice their pronunciation and listening skills.”

EUscreen project co-ordinator Professor Sonja de Leeuw adds: “With EUscreen we encourage users to actively engage with the history of Europe and the history of television regardless of the language and cultural boundaries. This is a great step forward to explore the role of television heritage in how we came to see ourselves and others in changing times.”


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