This paper deals with a major challenge linked to the collection of audiovisual documents within television and web archives. Looking for repeated sequences within a corpus of thousands of videos, we faced the fact that the footage we were looking for reveals itself to be reachable only as ghost data. In fact, any audiovisual sequence reused within different contexts exists conceptually as the repetition of one single visual unit, but from the point of view of the metadata tagging its occurrences, each item is a distinct document. Like a ghost, the shot is there, scattered among different places, but the metadata cannot point us to the visual form repeated, despite its evidence to the human viewer. When facing large amounts of data, to relate a visual unit to its occurrences, data analysis techniques are needed. We describe our procedures of collection and annotation, and the solutions combining qualitive work and a computer-aided approach to face this main challenge, within the research project Crossing Borders Archives (CROBORA).

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Sound & Vision
VIEW Journal

Shen, Shiming, Treleani, Matteo, Compagno, Dario, & Winckler, Marco. (2023). From Stock Shots to Ghost Data: Tracking Audiovisual Archives about the European Union. VIEW Journal, (. 23), 4–23. doi:10.18146/view.292