How many television programmes do we have in the archive? What proportion of our material is digital? Which speakers appear most frequently?

Imagine you are in a plane, the ground rolling by beneath you. The details are hidden but the big picture is clear. You see all the important elements - city, fields, roads - and how they fit together. That is what we want to achieve with these visualisations. No video clips or individual programme transcripts, but answers that help you to picture the archive and its collections.

The Sound and Vision landscape is extremely varied, we store TV, films, music, documents and even objects. Sometimes it helps to zoom in a bit on a particular area. So, in addition to general information about the whole archive, we offer pages about specific collections, which we will periodically extend to cover more collections.

  • The current page shows statistics and visualisations over the entire archive
  • Take a closer look at TV, Radio or Music
  • Specific questions about a particular area? See what is possible with your own slice

Is the aspect you're interested in not yet included here? Or is there a particular collection you'd like to find out more about? Please contact rordelman@beeldengeluid.nl or mwigham@beeldengeluid.nl

After their flight, Clariah users can land in the Media Suite to explore individual programmes

Depending on your browser, the graphs on this page may take a few seconds to load

Sound and Vision was formed in 1997 by a merger of the company archive of the public broadcasters (Publieke Omroep), the film archive of the Netherlands Government Information Service (Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst), the Institute for Film and Science (Stichting Film en Wetenschap) and the Dutch Broadcasting Museum (Nederlands Omroepmuseum). Since then, other collections have also been acquired, for example, the Dutch Press Museum (Persmuseum) has joined Sound and Vision. As a result, the collection at Sound and Vision is incredibly diverse, its almost 2 million items consisting mainly of TV, music and radio, but also including cinema news, oral history, propaganda films, sound effects and even physical objects such as props, costumes and production equipment.

This diversity is reflected in the rainbow of carrier types for the over 5 million carriers that Sound and Vision preserves (archive items may have multiple copies on different carriers, or possess auxiliary files such as subtitles). From digital files to physical formats such as CD, Digibeta and film. 'Other' includes even more exotic formats, such as cassettes, wax rolls and laser discs.

Many of these carriers have a limited life span, and so Sound and Vision is busy with a programme of digitising the items in the archive. Some parts of the archive are harder to digitise than others; new content is born-digital, films and documents can be scanned, but physical objects are much harder.

The archive also spans a wide range of time, from a copy of a wax roll recording from Edison dating back to 1873, to the most recent TV and radio broadcasts made by public service broadcaster. Why the strange bump in the 60's? Visit the TV collection page to find out.

All this diversity in data sources, carriers and dates leads to very diverse metadata (information describing the archive items). A broadcast date is vital information for a TV programme, but meaningless for a photo or prop. Music albums have tracks, but radio programmes have segments on different topics. In addition to this, the way of entering metadata has radically changed in the lifetime of the archive, from manual entry, to imported information from broadcasters, through to automatic face and speaker recognition. In the era of manual entry (and manual recording of programmes), only selected items could be archived and described with metadata. In recent years, all archived programmes have a basic set of metadata, and automatic metadata techniques make it possible to add information at a scale that a human archivist could not handle. At the same time, automatic metadata misses the richness and context that only human understanding can currently give. All of these factors leave their traces, or 'fingerprints' on the Sound and Vision archive, and some of these fingerprints will be analysed in the discussions of specific collections.