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Requests for information from a film archive: a case study of multimedia retrieval

Morten Hertzum (Centre for Human‐Machine Interaction, Risø National Laboratory, Roskilde, Denmark)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 1 April 2003



Multimedia retrieval is a complex and to some extent still unexplored area. Based on a full year of e‐mail requests addressed to a large film archive this study analyses what types of information needs real users have and how these needs are expressed. The findings include that the requesters make use of a broad range of need attributes in specifying their information needs. These attributes relate to the production, content, subject, context and screening of films. However, a few attributes – especially title, production year and director – account for the majority of the attribute instances. Further, as much as 43 per cent of the requests contain no information about the context that gives rise to the request. The current indexing of the archived material is restricted to production‐related attributes, and access to the material is, thus, frequently dependent on the archivists’ extensive knowledge of the archived material and films in general.



Hertzum, M. (2003), "Requests for information from a film archive: a case study of multimedia retrieval", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 59 No. 2, pp. 168-186.




Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited

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