D1.6 EU Commission Policy Brief: ECCCH – No Cultural Heritage Cloud Without Audiovisual Media

This second out of two Policy Briefs of the VHH Horizon 2020 Innovation Action is entirely dedicated to including the domain-specific needs of film and other audiovisual media in the system design and the governance model of the envisioned European Collaborative Cultural Heritage Cloud (ECCCH) right from its start.

Under the label ECCCH (“European Collaborative Cloud for Cultural Heritage”), the European Commission launched a major funding initiative for the creation of a shared data space for cultural heritage.

The main scope of ECCCH is to “provide cutting-edge tools for digitising artefacts, studying artworks, and documenting data, all of which will improve preservation, conservation and restoration procedures” (Commission Press Release, July 5, 2022). ECCCH is supposed to develop standards, tools, and services in a digital working space that allow for a large-scale cooperation between curators, archivists, and conservators.

The ECCCH call is based on an expert report (“Ex – ante impact assessment”) whose highly ambitious vision is fully shared and embraced by the VHH project.

However, we know from previous experiences that the European Commission in its digitization initiatives tends to forget about the specific needs and challenges of audiovisual cultural heritage only to discover later that a crucial part of our shared cultural heritage has been left out and cannot be fully integrated because system designs and core software architectures do not meet the specific requirements of audiovisual media (e.g., from Europeana to its commendable, yet underfunded and thus technically limited domain aggregator for film heritage, European Film Gateway (EFG), and beyond).

It happened again. The European Commission forgot about audiovisual media.

The VHH project has the following key recommendation and request:

Ensure that the system design and the governance structure of the European Cultural Heritage Cloud (ECCCH) incorporate specific digital solutions for preserving, curating, enriching, and managing film and other audiovisual media right from the start and in subsequent calls.