A report in Media History outlines the problems accessing European television history, from the obvious language barriers, to archival content, meta data (and basic cataloguing), as well as IPR issues. However developments and innovations in digital and web technology, asset management and semantic technologies has increased the availability of this history.

The development of BIRTH of TV, a project to explore the early history of TV, created access to over 700 items from 5 counties in 4 languages. Building on its development and subsequent technological innovations the Video Active project provided access to 10,000 digitized programmes and information, including a multi-language thesaurus and integration of cataloguing data. The selection policy for this project, the development of the meta data and contextualisation of the data are explored in the report.

In 2009 Video Active was superseded by EUscreen – “providing online access to Europe’s television heritage” – in effect c. 30,000 items from 28 partners across Europe.