Overview International collections and English language content in the Media Suite

In this section, we offer an overview of collections embedded in the Media Suite that contain English language content, content in other languages than Dutch as well as content produced in other countries than the Netherlands. The overview offers an entry point for our international users. The page is updated regularly as we identify and add more international collections to the Media Suite. The page was last updated on the 4th of February 2021.

Film and Film-Related Collections

The Desmet Film Collection

The Desmet Film Collection is an interesting collection for international users because of the international nature of its contents. The collection contains silent films from a great variety of European countries and the US from the period 1907-1916. Because of the wide variety of different national cinemas and the uniqueness of the titles preserved in the collection, the Desmet Collection has become a widely known collection in international research on silent cinema. There are several ways to filter films from the Desmet collection so as to find films from different countries, using the Media Suite’s facets in the column on the left hand side of the interface. For instance, using the filters, it is possible to group together films based on production company, thus limiting search to specific national companies. This can be done in two ways. The first option is to use the facet Productiemaatschappij (Production Company). This facet is included by default on the left-hand side of the result list and may be expanded by clicking on the facet. Next to each production company in the overview the production company is included in parenthesis. The second option is to add country of production as an extra facet. In order to do so click on the tab “+ADD A NEW FACET” on the top of the facets overview. In the box that opens click on the field next to Fields to create facets and then choose Productieland from the drop-down menu. The facet is now added to the facets overview on the left-hand side and you can now group together items in the collection based on country of production. These two options make it possible to focus on non-Dutch silent film productions from one or more countries. Yet, it is worth pointing out that most of the intertitles of the films in the Desmet Film Collection remain in Dutch, with a few exceptions. For films that have been restored in collaboration with international partners - take for instance Filibus (Italy, 1915) - the intertitles are in English.

The Desmet Paper Collection

The approximately 127.000 documents which make up Desmet’s business archive form a highly comprehensive record of Jean Desmet’s business activities, as well as his personal interactions. The documents in the paper collection cover a time span dating back to 1875, beginning with Jean Desmet’s birth certificate, to the year of Desmet’s passing in 1956. As media historian Ivo Blom’s extensive research has shown, Desmet’s business archive is a rich resource for understanding film trade and exhibition in the Netherlands and its neighbouring countries. The documents and materials in this collection contain multiple languages. The Collection’s main language remains Dutch, but it also contains significant amounts of documents written in French, English, German, and Italian. There are handwritten and typewritten letters written in all of these languages as well as promotional materials and catalogues that Desmet received from all over Europe. All type-written documents in the Desmet Collection have been OCRed and made searchable in several languages. To search the OCRed documents of the paper collection choose “OCR” under “Enrichments” from the search field on the right hand side (see fig. 1).

Fig. 1 OCR search in the Desmet paper collection.

Broadcast Collections

Radio and television collection (Sound and Vision)

The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision offers a range of collections via the Media Suite: the radio, television, and Sound and Vision Open Images collections. For all three collections there exists a language metadata field ‘English’. However, while this is useful as a starting point for English-language research, for all three collections the metadata field yields mixed results: programmes that are partially or totally in spoken English. In the radio collections, it is mostly music programmes, which often contain interviews with English-language artists. The Media Suite also offers access to the ‘international news exchange’ which are integral broadcasts of live speeches (eg Donald Trump, Theresa May).

Newspaper Collections

Newspaper collection (National Library of the Netherlands)

In the current version of Delpher, of which the data is included in the Media Suite, it is not possible to search the digitized Royal Library newspaper collections for English-language content. Alternative search strategies for English-language content can be done by filtering “United States” as “country of publication”. Using this strategy will yield a mix of English-language results with some interesting examples of immigrant newspapers that feature bilingual content. Using these search queries the following newspaper of Dutch-American immigration (published under various titles) appears:

Oral History Collections

Bystander Memories

No. of interviews: 59 Metadata language: Dutch, some also English Data Language: Access: Request permission

The Bystander Memories project contains around 59 interviews with Dutch non-Jewish eye witnesses of the Holocaust. All interviews have Dutch metadata, though approximately half come with an English translation of the description. The metadata of this collection is messy and inconsistent, which in combination with the strict access rights makes it hard to quickly explore its contents, but it appears that none of the interviews themselves are in English. Almost all the interviews have at least some data within the contextual files uploaded to DANS-Easy, however.

Croatian Memories

No. of interviews: 21 Metadata language: English Data Language: Croation with English translation Access: Request permission

Croatian Memories are interviews with Croatians about violent times in their country: WWII, the Yugoslav period and the war of the 90s. The interviews are marked as needing granted permission, but when you go to the description of the item on DANS, they will all link you to a playback on the dedicated Croatian Memories website. So, English-speaking researchers can find these interviews in the Media Suite, but have to use a workaround outside of the Media Suite to access them.

Data from the Center for Intercultural Dialogue and Translation (CIDT) and Stichting Arab-West Foundation (AWF)

No. of interviews: not specified Metadata language: English Data Language: English, Arabic, Dutch, perhaps more Access: Request permission

The data from this collection consists of the reporting of Dutch sociologist Cornelis Hulsman, reporting supervised by him, full-transcript interviews, audio recordings and summaries of these audio recordings. It is a large collection on a wide range of topics, mostly relating to religion, Muslim-Christian relations, and journalism in the Middle East. As one entry in the Media Suite often corresponds to multiple audio files on one subject, it is unclear how many interviews this collection consists of in total.

Long Shadow of Sobibor

No. of interviews: unclear Metadata language: Dutch, English Data Language: Mostly Dutch, some others, some with English translation of transcript. All come with English summary. Access: Open

The Long Shadow of Sobibor project contains a series of interviews with 9 survivors of the Sobibor revolt of 1943 and 22 next of kin. Some interviews are in Dutch, some in other languages. In most cases, at least some of the data is given or summarized in Dutch. For the ones where this is not the case, the description of the entry ends with “This interview is only available in Dutch”.

Sobibor Interviews 1983-1984

No. of interviews: 15 Metadata language: English. Data Language: Subtitled in English, summary/profiles in Dutch. Access: Open

“This project consists of fifteen interviews: thirteen interviews with survivors of the uprising on 14 October 1943 in the Sobibor extermination camp, one interview with two Polish locals and one with a survivor of the uprising in the crematorium of Auschwitz-Birkenau.” These interviews do not come with transcripts, but are openly accessible and subtitled in English. Unfortunately, the subtitles are hardcoded, so there is no way of searching within them or using them separately from the video material. Every interview also contains a summary or profile of the person being interviewed, but these are in Dutch. Perhaps here, a non-Dutch speaker could use automatic translation such as DeepL Translator to orientate themselves before watching the interview.