Tim's Weblog
Tim Strehle’s links and thoughts on Web apps, software development and Digital Asset Management, since 2002.

DC-X in action: Public video archive for the German Federal Archives (Bundesarchiv), Transit Film

Last Friday, a project I’ve been involved with was officially launched: filmothek.bundesarchiv.de. It’s a Web site showing contemporary history videos from the German Federal Archives (Bundesarchiv), distributed by their partner Transit Film, implemented by our company Digital Collections (based on our Digital Asset Management system DC-X), with Web design by our partner Pier2Port.

Content is king – the most interesting thing about this is the amazing videos from post-WW2 Germany and beyond (most of them in German): The surrender of Nazi Germany (1945), John F. Kennedy in Germany (1963), the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989). I love that it’s original, unadulterated material. The videos can be viewed freely, no registration required. (Film producers can buy licenses, of course.)

At the moment, there’s about 2,300 videos in the archives. In the back end, there’s a standard DC-X installation that holds the video files (in MP4 and WebM format) and the video metadata. Most of the customization is in the importers and metadata schema. Our customers can edit metadata in the back end, which is then replicated to a front end server.

The front end, the actual Web site you’re seeing, is a fully customized HTML UI built on DC-X APIs and its Solr search integration. I had a lot of fun developing it… We intentionally kept the architecture simple, doing most of the work on the server side in PHP, with just a little bit of JavaScript where needed. This results in a search engine friendly site that also performs nicely on tablets (it’s not yet designed for smaller screens, though).

There’s lots more features to come, and even more videos will be made available – so make sure to come back to the site again in a few months!