On Tuesday, December 10, 2013 VIAA digitised the very first tape of the more than 180,000 carriers of this first digitisation wave in the presence of the press. This start drew attention to the importance of digitising and preserving audiovisual heritage . The event is also the symbolic beginning of an ambitious digitisation project which was long due, because Flanders had a lot of catching-up to do in this area.
A summary of the important facts and figures: Flanders has 662,000 carriers awaiting digitisation, and during this first wave 181,500 of them will be digitised. The digitisation of 105,000 audio tapes is estimated to take about four years, 62,000 Betacam SP cassettes two years , 7,000 and 7,500 audiocassettes U-Matic tapes each take about half a year to complete. Meanwhile projects will be launched gradually for other types of carriers that need digitisation. During this first wave 35 broadcasters, cultural heritage institutions and VIAA join forces . A selection of the archive material - once it is digitised – will be accessible for education, research and through public libraries .
Because of this launch four archives that are involved - VRT , Amsab Institute of Social History , Brussels and TV KADOC - KU Leuven – testified about their rich archives , and the importance of digitisation of our audiovisual heritage. Founding Ministers Lieten and Schauvliege expressed their satisfaction that this mass digitisation finally had begun.
“I founded the Flemish Institute for Archiving because I think it's very important that our audiovisual heritage is preserved. Also what is created today and tomorrow, should remain available for both the cultural and media sector and the public. Today is the first visible step of VIAA towards the preservation of our rich culture in a sustainable way. The next step is to make it available for education. I wish VIAA and all organisations involved a good start!”
Flemish Minister of Media en Innovation
“As a new digital platform VIAA will give our audiovisual cultural heritage a new life. I am glad that this unadulterated project for the future finally starts. Through digitisation, we will be able to experience our heritage, use and deploy for various purposes in a contemporary way: for scientific research , study and education, but also for creating experiences and for the development of new cultural projects.”
Flemish Minister of Culture