The COLLATE project

>>UPDATE July 2012: The Collate collections of more than 6.500 digitised film-censorship related documents from Austria, Czechoslovakia and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s that were offline for some years have been made available again within the EU-funded project "EFG – The European Film Gateway". All documents collected within the COLLATE project are available back online at and at<<



In September 2000 the project COLLATE (Collaboratory for Annotation, Indexing and Retrieval of Digitized Historical Archive Material) was initiated. It is the result of discussions between Fraunhofer IPSI and the Deutsches Filminstitut about a new form of access to and handling of film related documents. And finally it is an attempt to reconceptualize the relationship between archival and research work.

The project was funded by the EU as part of the IST Program and ran until the end of November 2003. Participants were the Deutsches Filminstitut – DIF (Frankfurt/Main), Filmarchiv Austria - FAA (Vienna) and Národní filmový archiv - , NFA (Prague) as well as the technology providers Fraunhofer / IPSI (Germany), and Universitá degli Studi di Bari (both Italy). Throughout the project lifetime the work within the COLLATE project has been continuously evaluated by Risø National Laboratory (Denmark).

The COLLATE idea
For the past ten years technological advances have made a big impact on our life and on our work. New technologies – especially digital technologies - have altered our handling of information enormously. COLLATE examined the conditions for using the net to solve old problems: How can archives use digital technologies to increase our mnemonic capacity? How might the new technologies support our aim to make our collections readily available to the public? And last but not least: How can we use the internet to facilitate and vitalise the interchange between archives and between archives and its scholarly users?

The two main issues of COLLATE were:

  • to implement a virtual library of film-related documents
  • to establish a virtual research centre (a so called “collaboratory”) in the domain film studies.

On the one hand the goal of COLLATE was to provide content-based access to the repository of censorship documents and censorship-related material which were hitherto scattered throughout different archives and countries – as a precondition for interchange and collaborative work. On the other hand, the project also included collaborative academic work using the web.

The content focus of the project was the analysis of film censorship in Austria, Czechoslovakia and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s. The case studies presented here are supposed to show the multiple and inspiring opportunities which develop when firstly a comprehensive collection is made available to the public and secondly an international group of researchers uses collaborative tools to analyse it.

Corresponding to this aim of "demonstrating possibilities" the COLLATE archives decided in favour of a wide range of tasks. On the first level we differentiate between the „source edition“ (joint editorial work on selected topics, serving as the background for an in-depth comparative analysis of the censorship practice in Austria, Czechoslovakia and Germany) and the „surrogate production“, that aims to demonstrate how censorship documents (and the analysis of the censorship practice) can be used to support film restoration.



SE/SP Collate: Übersicht