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This wiki space contains archival documentation of Project Bamboo, April 2008 - March 2013.

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E-PALS, European Performing Arts Library Association

Collection Date: 07 Jan 2009
Scholar #1 Info:

  • Name: Raffaella Santucci
  • Email:
  • Title: ICT Project Coordinator
  • Institution/Organization: La Sapienza, University of Rome
  • Field of Study/Creative Endeavor: Performing Arts

Collector Info (can be the same as "Scholar" above):

  • Name:Raffaella Santucci
  • Email:
  • Title: ICT Project Coordinator
  • Institution/Organization: La Sapienza, University of Rome

Notes on Methodology:

A rich audiovisual heritage exists in the field of Performing Arts: collections of films, video and audio tapes, images, sketches, notes, pertaining to shows, rehearsals, seminars, workshops, interviews.
These collections are not integrated neither valorised, while they are of great cultural value and strongly requested in that area. Theatre and Performing Arts are often international endeavours and this holds also true for the history of theatre in Europe - think of travelling companies, theatre-architects who worked internationally, festivals (Theatrtreffen Berlin, Holland Festival, Avignon, Edinburg, etc. etc.). Theatre-makers are influencing each other all the time (and have been doing so). The same theatre texts are translated and performed all over Europe - the differences that become apparent in these performances can help us to understand the differences in the cultures in which they originate/are embedded and thereby can foster understanding of each other.

It is indeed very difficult to use for performing art digital content cataloguing the traditional library identification and classification models, since vastly different interrelated types of media are present in performing arts works - video, audio, images, drawings, blueprints, texts, music scores, lyrics, 3D models, etc. Thus, there is a pressing needs to define an integrated specific metadata model and standard for performing art digital content and works. Moreover, oftentimes Performing Arts archives were born as simple repositories of recordings without effective links to digital content (this is especially true of company archives). Performing art digital content is in the 90% of case comprised of unique copies of content since each experience is unique and rarely replicated in other locations. The integration of them in a unique European Digital Library would be of great value for the valorisation of the European Culture and will be a great service for all the Performing Arts institutions. This lack of a systematic cataloguing is another reason why both users and participating institutions would greatly benefit from improved interoperability and organisation - in the form of a common metadata standard and of easy search and access.
Another very important aspect is the management of the IPR (intellectually property rights). In most cases, the European libraries and digital libraries do not have the rights to put the digital content  accessible out of their locations, and thus neither on Internet/online. In the E-PALS project has performed a large preventive analysis of the status of the performing art digital libraries in Europe identifying a set of very interesting collections that can be put online

The main focus of the E-PALS project is to satisfy the user requirements. In this case the final users are the students, teachers, and lovers of Performing Arts. To this end, a detailed collection of requirements will be performed, with the aim of satisfying their needs in terms of content, quality and functionalities to be provided. The aim is to make accessible for the final users a vast quantity of valuable content until now unavailable to the general public, by easing its fruition and integration. This content is an essential part of our European cultural heritage and spans a variety of media. The comparative approach is needed to understand the theatre of oneself as well as that of ones neighbours. To this end, E-PALS aims at overcoming the problem of accessing European performing-arts resources by pooling the archives of its partners and making them accessible online as part of the EUROPEANA, the European Digital Library (EDL) through a common, multilingual, easy-to-use interface.

The idea is to establish a best-practices, facilities and solution for searching, sharing, accessing and integrating content of the several kinds in the field of Performing Arts, that will eventually lead to the availability online of the whole content of the participating archives, for further reuse, integration and enrichment. Thus, E-PALS is going to create best practice solution for performing art digital content  and creating and is bringing a significant mass of videos, audio recordings, images and text since the beginning available online for full free fruition through searching, browsing, downloading, and streaming.


Fruition of performing-arts content in libraries is difficult:

(i ) several formats and metadata types are used to store and catalogue films, tapes, images, texts, scores produced in many languages, which makes search and access cumbersome and expensive;

(ii) for many reasons, performing-arts archives are scattered around the EU and mutually disjointed;

(iii) scattered content should be bundled together in order to achieve the added value for the user that comes from accessing a single large online repository;

(iv) performing archives need to have a proven model to work together.

E-PALS is conceived as a best-practice network for solving these problems, providing:

(1) strongly interoperable tools for automated gathering, preparation and posting of content and metadata, connecting several performing-arts libraries in a network;

(2) thousands of hours of content of outstanding importance (including Nobel winner Dario Fo), available online for the first time;

(3) highly functional, intuitive interface satisfying user needs;

(4) MPEG21-based solutions for the integration of content and metadata, compatible with a large number of metadata models and content formats;

(5) best-practice guidelines for putting content on the EDL, defining multilingual metadata, mapping metadata, and IPR/DRM;

(6) integration of user contributions for tagging and titling;

(7) a self-sustainable framework for content distribution to extend collections, based on offering copyright owners unwilling to grant free access the possibility to exploit commercially the items that they will provide - this is done with the view to enlarge the choice of content given  with materials that wouldn't be available otherwise, not even commercially.

E-PALS includes comprehensive management and dissemination activities.


Please provide some keywords that will allow us to group or cluster related stories--or aspects of stories.

1. Was this story collected for a particular Bamboo working group?  If so, please include, as keywords, the appropriate group(s).

  • Education
  • Institutional Support
  • Scholarly Networking
  • Shared Services
  • Stories: This story was created for the Tools and Content Partners
  • Tools and Content Partners

2. Suggested keywords: Does this story contain elements that could be mapped to these keywords?  If so, please indicate which ones.  Add any additional keywords in #3. (These are global keywords from this page keywords_)_

  • Aggregate
  • Annotate
  • Consider
  • Discover
  • Interact
  • Preserve
  • Share

3. Please list additional keywords here:

4. Related Stores: Are there parts of the story that related to other collected stories? Please provide title(s). 


IM-Theatre, Interactive Multimedia Theatre by Raffaella Santucci, La Sapienza, University of Rome


The Centro Teatro Ateneo of the University of Rome "La Sapienza" (CTA), where I work, holds a large Multimedia Library. This collection coalesced and sedimented in the course of more than 40 years. The invaluable heritage of XX and XXI century theatre and cinema records contained therein includes video and audio recordings, documents, photographs and texts. Many of these have been produced directly by CTA and are thus unique. They include interviews, rehearsals, shows and workshops by such masters as Gordon Craig, Eduardo De Filippo, Martha Graham, Jerzy Grotowski, Peter Brook, Dario Fo, Giorgio Strehler, Carmelo Bene, Anatolij Vassiliev, Roberto Benigni, Juri Liubimov, Alberto Sordi, Luca Ronconi, Vittorio Gassman, Julian Beck and Judith Malina, Eugenio Barba, Francesco Rosi, Ugo Pirro, Suso Cecchi D'Amico, Gian Maria Volonté, Walter Murch and many others. Besides these great figures, with whom CTA has or has had long, extended collaborations, there are interviews and documents pertaining to almost every significant actor, director or practitioner of the last 60 years in Italy.

Up to now, most of these assets have been available only to those researchers who took the trouble to come and visit CTA to watch the materials. In a spirit of open debate and free circulation of ideas, we intend to make such resources available to a wider audience, thanks to the web as well as other distribution channels.

We reasoned that other theatre institutions in Europe might share the same need and therefore it would make sense to join forces.

E -PALS, in short, is born as a pioneering project for the establishment of digital libraries pertaining to the theatre, in order to:
•    preserve footage, audio, images and text, via digitisation and restoration;
•    allow comprehensive cross-referencing searches across such collections;
•    explore new avenues in both teaching and researching theatre, by adopting or developing of new IT tools.

Main participants are:


Ferruccio Marotti, Giovanni Ragone, Luca Ruzza, Raffaella Santucci, Luca Giberti, Nicola Giosmin, Federica Grigoletto


Paolo Nesi, Pierfrancesco Bellini, Michela Paolucci


Maurizio Campanai

Other Comments:

E-PALS was conceived as part of the overall effort that the European Union (EU) is undertaking for the preservation and fruition of its cultural heritage, through the creation of digital libraries.

The fundamental challenges presented by EU revolve around the creation of Digital Libraries.

In the section related to the preservation  of  the European cultural heritage it states: 

a) Scalable systems and services for preserving digital content: handling the whole workflow for different types of digital resources, guaranteeing their long term integrity and authenticity. Research should demonstrate the feasibility of systems and services proposed and assess their use by organisations in large scale testbeds (e.g. science, business and financial records, public records, multimedia/audiovisual and Performing Arts).
b) Advanced preservation scenarios: methods, models and tools for managing digital memory, focusing on challenging preservation problems which cannot be adequately handled by current models. These should result in:
- b1/ Methods and tools for preserving complex objects, addressing the life-cycle of composite digital information instances (e.g. multiple embedded structures, action able objects, distributed and interlinked resources and ontologies, transient information and ephemeral data).
- b2/ Intelligent digital curation and preservation systems able to learn, reason and act autonomously, integrating tools and methods to support the complex decision making processes for appraisal, selection and management of diverse collections of digital resources. The system should ensure that the representation of the objects and their embedded semantic knowledge in order to support their future re-use. Appropriate verification scenarios should be an integral component of the work.
c) Innovative solutions for assembling multimedia digital libraries for collaborative use in specific contexts and communities, enhancing scholarly understanding and experiences of digital cultural heritage. This includes work on the dynamic aggregation of cross-media resources across existing institutional digital libraries and repositories. Research should address scalability, interoperability and distributed architectures, aggregation and semantic search tools. Validation should address researchers and cultural heritage professionals but be open to wider audiences.
d) Adaptive cultural experiences exploring the potential of ICT for creating personalised views of various forms of cultural expression, reflecting individual narrative tendencies (i.e. adapt to the background and cognitive context of the user) and offering meaningful guidance about the interpretation of cultural works.
e) Interdisciplinary research networks bridging technological domains (e.g. computing models, knowledge representation, visualisation and graphics), information and archival sciences, and social and cognitive sciences to advance the state-of-the-art in well identified and focused application areas (e.g. digital preservation).
f) Promoting the uptake of EC-funded research enabling the deployment of new ICT-based cultural and memory preservation services, leveraging the impact of associated national initiatives; roadmapping and identification of future 'Grand Challenges'; establishment of a pan-European network of 'living memory centres' for validations, demonstrations and showcases.

In addition, two years ago the European Commision has funded the well-known initiative EUROPEANA - European Digital Library (EDL) []:

a 2-year project that began in July 2007. It will produce a prototype website giving users direct access to some 2 million digital objects, including film material, photos, paintings, sounds, maps, manuscripts, books, newspapers and archival papers. The prototype will be launched in November 2008 by Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media.
The digital content will be selected from that which is already digitised and available in Europe's museums, libraries, archives and audio-visual collections. The prototype aims to have representative content from all four of these cultural heritage domains, and also to have a broad range of content from across Europe.
 The intention is that by 2010 the Europeana portal will give everybody direct access to well over 6 million digital sounds, pictures, books, archival records and films.
Overseeing the project is the EDL Foundation, which includes key European cultural heritage associations from the four domains. The Foundation's statutes commit members to:
c)    Providing access to Europe's cultural and scientific heritage though a cross-domain portal
ci)    Co-operating in the delivery and sustainability of the joint portal
cii)    Stimulating initiatives to bring together existing digital content
ciii)    Supporting digitisation of Europe's cultural and scientific heritage