This research 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 in 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: Generous + Fluid Interfaces; Situated + Experiential Entry Points; Computational Sensing + Algorithmic Metadata; and Participatory Sense-Making + Storytelling. Each theme offers distinct benefits in terms of user engagement, accessibility, contextualization, and storytelling. Challenges of complexity, accessibility, and compatibility are also discussed. This research endeavors to redefine the potential of the interaction paradigm and offer a rich set of pathways, where digital AV archives transcend conventional search methods to offer immersive, dynamic, user-centric experiences. By integrating exploratory interfaces, cultural heritage institutions can unlock the full potential of their collections, making them more engaging and accessible to a broader audience.

Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision

Piet, N. (2023). Beyond Search. Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision. doi:10.18146/avra2