A digital search tool for the VRT film collection
by Marijn Daniëls, VRT
The film collection is fully mapped and searchable to encourage valorization .
The VRT archives have a collection of 36 000 film index cards relating to 16 and 35-mm films with TV programmes from the 1950s to the 1980s.
The aim of the project was to transfer both the technical and content data of the cards to a digital database. Entering this information manually into data frames is possible but terribly time-consuming. Therefore, we preferred a streamlined and efficient process.
Images of the index cards were created, OCR was used to make the cards searchable, and the database was built using field recognition on a selection of fields. The data from the film registration database were used to compare the film numbers of the index cards.
The result of this project is a powerful new search tool that combines a reliable database, quality controlled by the staff, with a full-text search function using the original index card images. Users of the collections can now search and access the film database directly and initiate the request for film digitisation.
After digitisation, the information from the index cards is automatically added to the metadata of the archive.