VIAA’s aim is to keep a comprehensive record of images and sounds from Flanders, and make them accessible to everyone. These images and sounds are not only digitised from analogue carriers such as tapes, cassettes and films; they can also be created digitally as their original format. This means we need a digital and sustainable system for storing new material that has been produced digitally, or material that has already been digitised by our partners over recent years – for example in a digitisation project for photo collections. Following an extensive preparatory process with various pilot projects, VIAA is continuing to roll out its operations for these content partners’ digital collections.
There’s huge demand for the sustainable storage of digital collections. This became apparent from various surveys we conducted with our content partners, and was the incentive we needed to digitally map out in detail all the challenges that such a digital influx brings with it. Since 2016, we’ve set up various pilot projects with our content partners, including: the Museum of Industry, Huis van Alijn, Flemish Parliament, K.erf, Lukasweb, Rosas, Ultima Vez, VRT and Focus-WTV. These pilot projects have greatly improved our understanding of how our content partners currently store their digital collections. We’ve also been able to use these pilot projects to set up a structured process for transferring material to VIAA.
The Museum of Industry – known as MIAT (the Museum of Industry, Work and Textiles) until September 2018 – launched a new digital strategy together with its new name. This included the digital recording of images and sounds from their collection. The Museum of Industry used VIAA’s APIs to produce material for their own platforms and provide access to these special images and sounds.
We’ve used what we learned from the various pilot projects to develop a new project approach in which different projects run simultaneously. We're going to take in some of our partners’ digital collections in a structured and scaled way. An initial training process for this started earlier this spring, and an open invitation for our content partners to register will be sent out this summer.