Video Active is a project funded within the eContentplus programme of the European Commission.

The major aim of Video Active is to create access to television archives across Europe. The unlocking of these (largely) closed archives will make their content available for educational and academic purposes. It will enable an interactive discovery of television’s cultural heritage.

Television for Children - BBCThe project will achieve this by selecting 10,000 items television archive content, which reflects the cultural and historical similarities and differences of television from across the European Union, and by complementing this archive content with well-defined contextual metadata. Video Active therefore offers an enormous resource for exploring both the representation of cultural and historical events within and across nations and the development of the medium itself at a cross-cultural level.

Audiovisual archival material is notoriously hard to access. Current digitisation activities offer not only the solution for long-term preservation, but also break new grounds for access. Yet such current digitisation at different national levels lacks standardisation, cohesion and still offers uneven access. Video Active will therefore build on existing digitisation activities at different national levels to provide enhanced and equal access to archive content within a well-defined and integrated pan-European framework. To do this the project has brought together eleven leading audiovisual archives, from all across Europe, to make their digitised holdings available online.

Ten languages will be supported: English, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Greek, Hungarian, Catalan, Danish and Swedish.As a result, Video Active will enhance an understanding of the shared histories and interrelationships that have shaped collective European memory and identity, while at the same time celebrating the multicultural dimensions that have also shaped European citizenship.

Video Active will also explore the historical role of the media in shaping these European experiences.There is a very large appetite for this kind of material, both within educational and academic communities, but also amongst a sizeable general public. People want to see and use broadcast archival material concerning the cultural history of the European nations.