New Report on Beyond Search

Exploring Creative Approaches to Interfacing with Cultural Heritage Collections

New Report on Beyond Search

The Audiovisual Research Alliance, in collaboration with FIAT/IFTA’s Value, Use and Copyright Commission, is pleased to announce the release of Beyond Search: Exploring Creative Approaches to Interfacing with Cultural Heritage Collections (A Case Study Analysis) written by independent researcher Nadia Piet.

Beyond Search delves into the realm of digital audiovisual (AV) archives, focusing on user experience and advocating for the integration of exploratory approaches alongside conventional search. 

Within cultural heritage institutions, conventional keyword-based search interfaces have long served as the primary means to access digital AV archives. However, these interfaces often fall short of addressing the diverse needs of users and serving more exploratory or open-ended queries.

Drawing on a series of illustrative case studies, this report showcases innovative practices in the cultural heritage domain. Furthermore, it looks beyond archives to seek inspiration from practitioners in other disciplines, such as artists, filmmakers, and community initiatives grappling with similar questions.

The research report identifies four core themes: 

  • #1: Generous + Fluid Interfaces
  • #2: Situated + Experiential Entry Points
  • #3: Computational Sensing + Algorithmic Metadata
  • #4: Participatory Sense-Making + Storytelling

At the end of each theme, a Practical Pointers “over to you” section is offered. Here, opportunities and challenges, as well as additional tools and resources, are highlighted, inviting you to put inspiration into action by orienting towards implementation and kicking off a conversation at your institution.

The Creative Commons licensed report can be found at or downloaded directly as PDF here.

To continue the conversation around this research, you’re welcome to read and add to the Living Doc version, presented as a Miro Board here.

Nadia presented the research on October 19th during the FIAT/IFTA World Conference 2023 during one of the breakout sessions.

On the Audiovisual Research Alliance

The Audiovisual Research Alliance for Archivists & Cultural Heritage Professionals (AVRA), set up and supported by Sound & Vision, is an initiative that seeks to openly engage with and produce research in collaboration with the wider audiovisual (AV) archiving and heritage community. 

AVRA commissions and publishes research in the field of sound and moving image archiving and heritage, thinking forward to consider how the decisions, tools, strategies, and approaches enacted today are and could impact the field of AV archiving and heritage. In exploring current and future impacts on the field, AVRA’s research focus is on asking research questions of an analytical nature, looking across institutions, projects, people, and places, bridging technical questions with more political, social, and philosophical inquiries, and showing and bringing together different approaches and strategies to offer broader overviews.

To learn more about the AVRA, please visit or reach out to

On the FIAT/IFTA Value, Use and Copyright Commission

The Value, Use and Copyright Commission (VUC) is a commission formed by FIAT/IFTA, the world’s leading professional association for those engaged in the preservation and exploitation of AV archives. VUC’s mission is to provide a forum of exchange for FIAT/IFTA members and experts in the field to support the value, exploitation, and opening up of AV collections focused on the end user, e.g. general audiences, education, research, and other sectors. The core objective of the VUC is to gather and share experience and knowledge on all aspects of providing access to AV collections to increase users‘ awareness and to grow the value of AV archives worldwide.