V2_Archive website (2003 - 2010)

Website for the archive of V2_, which was accessible at archive.v2.nl from 2003 till 2010.

V2_Archive website (2003 - 2010)

V2_Archive (edit interface)

History of the V2_archive website (short)

From 2003 till 2010 a V2_archive website existed at archive.v2.nl. The V2_archive and its website were an ongoing research project. The archive used specially developed  software and MMBase. The V2_archive software was in many respects ahead of its time, for instance in its final form, the XMLServlet was able to generate fully OWL-compatible RDF as early as 2006, which was a remarkable achievement. It also implemented a number of interesting aspects, one of which was a keyword-module modeled as an ontology.

The relation-base approach of the digital archive was interesting and promising, however the system was rather difficult and cumbersome to use for editors.

After some years parts of the software 'broke'. Since late 2007 the software was not compatible anymore with newer versions of MMBase, and at least from 2009 on the server ran in fact on an obsolete architecture which meant that keeping the server online caused a (small) security issue for the V2_network.

At the end of 2010 all content was succesfully migrated to the current system. The MMBase-archive site was taken offline in February 2011. It is archived as a dvd, and is available as a disk image for interested parties.


Description of the V2_archive (2000)

Since its early history in the beginning of the 1980s, V2_Organisation has documented its programs and activities, in an increasingly structured way, by means of photographs and video registrations. V2_ has also collected texts, flyers, publications, videotapes and CD-ROMs that serve to document its own events and works that artists have presented at V2_ over the years. As a result, V2_ now hosts a large and heterogeneous archive, which covers the history of the organization and 20 years of media art. Since the mid-1990s, V2_ has been working on structural methods for the preservation and dissemination of its archive. The former is accomplished by digitalizing and describing archive content, the latter by gradually making that content publicly available on the V2_Website. These documents are archived in an unconventional data model consisting of atomic information objects connected by relations; the V2_Archive team researches the possibility to store this information in open standard formats that allow for interoperability and easy transformation: XML, RDF and RSS. An adequate description method is under continuous development; the V2_ archive maintains a hierarchical classification structure and a 800-term keyword thesaurus specific for the field of unstable media art. The archive team also conducts research into backoffice tools, web interfaces, copyright, archival interoperability and capturing and preserving unstable media artworks.


Press release V2_archive website (2003)

V2_ is proud to present its new, publicly accessible archive portal. The portal was created for research purposes and offers an experimental interface to V2_'s archive database. It is a work in progress; design and content will be enhanced and improved.

This archive portal contains information about V2_'s activities from 1993 till present. V2_'s archive team collects documentation about all people, organizations, artworks and events that have played a role in V2_'s history; this includes a collection of about 15,000 photographs and a growing number of digitalized video fragments, in addition to a large number of texts, images and links.

The new archive portal was built in continuation of the website for the DEAF03 festival http://deaf.v2.nl/, which already offered a 'sneak peek' at V2_'s archive content.

We hope this website will be useful for educational and research purposes and as a source of information for the electronic art community at large. Reactions and feedback can be sent to V2_'s archive team.


Read Me, by pike, for the archived DVD of V2_archive (2011)

The V2_archive started as a Filemaker database under Boudewijn Ridder. It was later transformed to a custom mysql/php application called v2o. Early 2000, V2_ decided to join the MMBase platform. In it's final form, the data is a 'cloud' of tiny information objects linked together with typed and valued relations.

DEAF98 (the art of the accident) was still based on the Filemaker database. DEAF2000 was the first  site presented using MMBase and JSP. It was designed by Melanie Kandelaars; Jan Wijbrand Kolman and Carlo  E. Prelz did technical support, P. van Kemenade (aka pike) built the html.

From DEAF2000 onwards, the "main" v2_ site was replaced by a "interim" design by Melanie Kandelaars, pending a new design based on MMBase. Such a design was created by Nirit Peled; the process was managed by Maarten Handstede. P. van Kemenade built it, in 100% Flash and XML, but its performance was so slow and heavy on client machines it was never launched publicly. At this point it was decided to separate the main v2_ site from an "archive site", both yet to be build.

One of the offsprings of the 'flash' effort was the ability to export XML "clusters" of data from MMBase, reflecting the types of relations that were specific to v2_'s datastructure. For that purpose, an "XMLServlet" and a "GFXServlet" were built to serve as a general backend for any V2_ webproject. A few DEAF websites have been built on this setup.

In 2003, a design for the archive site was made by Enric Gili Fort and implemented by P. van Kemenade  and Jasper op den Coul. The information collected from MMBase by the XMLServlet was transformed using XSLT/python into webpages. This is the site that is backed up here.

The complete history described above, from Filemaker to XMLServlet, was managed by Boudewijn Ridder, who left V2_ to join the Nederlands Fotomuseum shortly after.

The content was maintained by Sandra Fauconnier (aka Fokky) and Rens Fromme using first Filemaker, then the custom solution called v2o, then MMbase. After Sandra and Rens left V2_, Arie Altena took up  content management for the archive site.

The archive represents  all V2_'s activities and a couple of related collections, like the Daan van Golden archive. It contains text, images, and links to audio and video on the V2_ streaming servers. The audio and video are not part of this backup.

Over the years, some information has gotten lost and now are irretrievable; they are not in this backup.

To be continued
After launching the archive site in 2004, V2_ finally  rebuild its main website using a different technology and not using MMBase. This created a gap between the 'main' site and the 'archive' site, which wasnt solved until the main site was rebuild using Plone by Rui Guerra and Piem Wirtz in 2008. In 2010 the XML servlet's backend was used for the last time to create RDF exports of the  MMBase data to import into Plone, so the data has not been lost.

However, much of the richness of the  cloudlike structure of the archive has been sacrificed in that export to gain simplicity and ease of use. The archive backed up here is a typical example of a 2000-ish object-relational cloud-like approach to data structures, where the archive's structure is trying to mimic reality as close as possibly. The design by Enric Gili Fort clearly reflects that approach.

In practice, it was a PITA to maintain and develop applications on - but in its final form, the XMLServlet was able to generate fully OWL-compatible RDF as early as 2006, which was a remarkable achievement.

Text by Pieter van Kemenade (pike), January 2011

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