Since April, The World Games archive has been open to all partners of the IWGA. Jörg Höhne, Head of Sound Department at Studio Mitte in Berlin, explains in an interview how it all started. He also gives tips on how to find what you are looking for as quickly and easily as possible.
How did the archive come about?
Jörg Höhne: We at Studio Mitte have been working with The World Games for some time now. This work has included the processing of existing video material. The IWGA wanted this material to be preserved in an archive system. At the same time, the videos should be made available to The World Games partners such as international associations, host cities or National Olympic Committees in the simplest possible way. We then had the idea of extending the archive by including photos too.
Why did you develop your own software solution?
Jörg Höhne: Potential users should have uncomplicated access to the extensive collection of material. In addition to pure archive functions, the solution should also enable the sale of digital media data directly from the archive. There are numerous solutions on the market for short- and long-term storage of large data volumes, as well as digital media asset management systems with an associated sales platform. However, these are generally designed for photos and smaller amounts of data.
Systems capable of storing videos and large amounts of data over long periods of time, whilst providing fast access at all times, are generally not adapted to special-user requirements and are very expensive to maintain.
Therefore we decided to develop our own archive and media asset management system adapted to the requirements of The World Games, one which is easy to use and inexpensive to maintain compared to other solutions.
What does the archive contain?
Jörg Höhne: Numerous video, photo and audio documents from The World Games before 2017 have been archived over the last year, as well as thousands of photos from The World Games 2017 and extensive video recordings of the competitions in Wroclaw. All video data has been stored in the same quality as it was created. Usually these are ready to be broadcast, for example MXF video files.
What were the biggest challenges in building the system?
Jörg Höhne: Besides the development of an easy-to-understand user interface, the biggest challenge was the adaptation of the archive system for archiving, preview playback and download of partially very large (50GB) video files. For this, numerous modules of the open source back-end system had to be changed or reprogrammed.
Is the archive complete?
- Höhne: The aim is to include in the archive all available material about the individual events of The World Games since the first edition in 1981. There are still numerous videos and pictures from the 2009 and 2005 Games, and a number of photos in the private archive of former Secretary General Co Koren, that have yet to be digitised. We also want to establish an archive that contains all the important written documents.
Who gets access to the material and what does it cost?
Jörg Höhne: The archived material can be viewed by anyone interested by entering the URL: https://media.theworldgames.org. On your first visit you have to register; you then receive an activation link for your account and can log in to the system.
- You now have all the functions of the media archive at your disposal. Only the download of assets is not possible; for this purpose you must send a request to the IWGA. The administrators can then release the download of assets or asset collections, temporarily or permanently, after clarification of the financial conditions. For member associations of the IWGA the download is free of charge. Commercial partners, such as TV stations, can receive the assets for a fee.
How about some numbers?
Jörg Höhne: The system currently contains around 1,650 videos and around 10,000 photos. These occupy a storage space of approx. 15 Terrabytes.
Can you give us some tips on how best to search and find?
Jörg Höhne: There are various ways to find specific media assets quickly and easily. In addition to a text-based search, filters are also available with which you can search - also in combination with the full text search. As the archive is currently being continuously expanded and the assets commented on, and there are still relatively few files (about 13,000) stored, I recommend using the Event, Sports and Asset-Type filters (Video, Images, Audio, Docs) on the main search page to create a rough result list that is easy to look through.
If too many assets are listed, these can then be reduced again using the full text search or the right filter bar, which contains additional filter criteria such as discipline, country or athlete.
The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. The 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 15-25 July 2021. 3,600 athletes from over 30 sports and 100 countries will take part in the Games.