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5th Anniversary of the TIB AV-Portal: Using Video Analysis to Explore Science

5 years ago, the AV-Portal of our network partner the Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB) was launched. The goal of the TIB AV-Portal is the professional hosting and semantic indexing of scientific videos for research purposes, especially in the fields of technology and natural sciences. We invited Magret Plank, the head of Lab for Non-Textual Materials at the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB) in Hannover to tell us about . 

We developed the AV-Portal from 2011 to 2014 in cooperation with the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) and launched it in spring 2014. The portal currently provides more than 20.000 curated scientific videos, mainly from the fields of technology, architecture, chemistry, computer science, mathematics and physics. These include computer visualizations, instructional videos, simulations, experiments, interviews, video abstracts, video supplements as well as recordings of conferences and lectures. A large part of the collection comprises historical films by the former IWF Wissen und Medien gGmbH, which we acquired in 2012 including all rights.  Almost 60% of the videos are in English, 30% in German and 10% without spoken text.

TIB AV-Portal, a reliable infrastructure for  scientific videos (

Among the first 2000 films on the AV-Portal were instructional videos from the field of mathematics and informatics, videos from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) on Mars Mission and  historical films from the former Institute for Scientific Film (IWF) on traditional European craftsmanship like woodworking, beekeeping and shoemaking as well as portraits of personalities from the fields of science, politics and culture like Max Pechstein, Oskar Kokoschka, Paul Hindemith and Konrad Lorenz. Sicnce then, the number of videos has increased tenfold and every day over a thousand visitors use the analysis tools and search functions of the AV-Portal to research the stock of more than 20,000 videos from science and technology. The number of authors and cooperation partners has risen sharply in recent years.

Against this background, the AV-Portal offers a reliable, legally compliant and open infrastructure for hosting scientific videos, most of which are available under Creative Commons licences. Special characteristics of the portal are the long-term archiving of all videos and the use of Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) and Media Fragment Identifiers (MFID), which ensure long-term availability and findability on the one hand and the referencing of videos on the other. In addition, the AV-Portal contains various automated video analysis methods and special features, through which scientific videos can be explored in more detail:

  • Time segmentation of the videos (recognition of setting changes); 
  • keyframe-based text recognition (video OCR); 
  • speech recognition for the creation of audio transcripts; 
  • annotation with predefined visual concepts; 
  • semantic analysis and differentiated indexing of the video contents with approx. 65,000 subject-specific keywords of the Integrated Authority File (GND). 
  • cross-lingual mapping (German-English)

With the support of these analysis procedures and technologies, information and scientific content can be better explored. Using semantic and explorative search functions (“facet search”), videos can be searched by content and relevant video segments can be identified precisely. In order to enable third parties to re-use the extensive metadata stocks of the AV portal, all bibliographic metadata as well as the automatically generated time-based metadata of the AV portal from voice, text and image recognition, which are under Open Access License Creative Commons 1.0 (CC0), are made available for re-use as linked open data in standard RDF format (Resource Description Framework). In addition to DOI, the data stock is enriched with further identifiers such as ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID), ISIL (International Standard Identifier for Libraries and Related Organisations) or GND-ID (Integrated Authority File) in order to increase the visibility and interoperability of the data stocks.


Much has changed in the last five years. Since 2016, the portal has shone in the new TIB CI, the number of users has more than doubled every year and new functionalities have been added, such as the display of series. Our team works daily on further developments, like whitelabeling so that third parties in the future can use an instance of the portal in their own CI.

Moreover, we have set up a conference recording service, which offers a comprehensive package from recording and live streaming to pre- and post-production as well as publication in accordance with scientific standards in the AV-Portal or other portals. It is, of course, the content that brings the portal to life: the videos and, of course, those who produce and publish them (free of charge) on the AV-Portal. We are looking forward to successful cooperations in the future and invite all educators and scientists to use the AV-Portal as a reliable infrastructure for their videos and supplementary materials, so that the next five years will be as successful as the past five years. If you are interested in a cooperation, please contact us. 

TIB – Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology

The TIB is the German National Library of Science and Technology provides national and international researchers with literature and information. Its remit is to preserve the recorded knowledge and to provide the latest information for research and industry. This also includes objects such as audiovisual media, 3D models and research data.

TIB conducts applied research and development to optimise its services. In cooperation with research facilities, emphasis is placed on the topics of visual search, the visualisation of data, future internet and semantic web. By allocating DOI names (digital object identifiers), TIB safeguards the quality, long-term availability and referencability of research data and AV media. With the AV Portal, the TIB has developed a platform for scientific audiovisual material that allows free access to high-quality scientific videos.