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How Axiell’s Off-the-Shelf Film Archive Solution Supports Moving Image Collections of Any Size

Through extensive work with clients like the British Film Institute and the Swedish Film Institute, Axiell has developed an off-the-shelf collections management system for moving image collections to make our software accessible to institutions of all sizes. Our standardised film archive solution is purpose-built, affordable, and scalable.

Rene van den Heuvel

To learn more about this solution, I sat down (virtually) with Axiell’s film archive expert, Rene van den Heuvel. Here’s what he had to say.

How does our film archive solution differ from our other collections management systems?

Within our premier collections management system, Axiell Collections, we have implemented the metadata standard for the description of cinematographic works – EN 15907. Because of this implementation, the film standard is now a built-in feature of our powerful and comprehensive Axiell Collections product which can be purchased off-the-shelf, available to anyone who wants it.

Can we now serve mid-sized archives?

The off-the-shelf solution means no customisation is required for film archives to start using the system, which drastically lowers its cost, making this software far more accessible to mid-sized and smaller moving image archives. Clients can purchase the system and be up and running quickly with very little or no custom configuration.

As a bonus, with our managed hosting services, uptime can be even faster. But of course, if the customer wants to tweak the system, the flexibility of the product means we can offer light or heavy customisation per their needs. The flexibility of our system is legendary.

How much customisation can a client do on their own?

Included in the solution is a tool called Axiell Designer, which is the same tool we use to do customisations for our clients. That means an application administrator can do the same customisations that we do.

With Axiell Designer you can build a solution from scratch. It’s that powerful. Adding a few fields to the database is a relatively easy and common customisation customers do on their own. Other common customisations customers can self-manage include changing access rights and adding or modifying input/display forms.

Even though it’s off-the-shelf, can customers work with us to customise their system?

Yes absolutely. Usually clients want a few customisations included to start and then once they’re up and working in the system they are self-sufficient. Rather than using Axiell Designer themselves, it’s usually more efficient to let us make changes since we work with it every day. To keep costs down the customer doesn’t have to go overboard with customisations. They can be done a little at a time, as needed.

Does the film solution integrate with any other Axiell products?

Just because you have our off-the-shelf system doesn’t mean you’re restricted. You can still build up the system to support needs that evolve over time.

The film archive solution is fully integrated with Axiell Collections’ existing applications for archive, museum, and library collections management. It also works with any of our add-on products such as Axiell Move, Axiell Internet Server, and the soon-to-be released workflow automation tool, Axiell Flow. These products can act like building blocks and add powerful functionality to the base platform when required.

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Why would a customer purchase the full Axiell Collections system and not just the film archive application?

Film archives often have film-related collections like objects, scripts, documentation, or library materials. Our off-the-shelf film archive solution caters to those collections as well so customers can manage everything in one system in an integrated way. It’s a huge benefit to customers to be able to drill down into all the objects associated with a piece of the moving image collection and to manage all collections the same way across the system.

What do film archives like most about the system?

I think probably that it is so powerful, feature rich, based on standards, and that it’s flexible and has a really really open API. Some of our customers use our API to share data with other modules they built themselves or other portals, so the API is a key component for integrations.

Our related record view feature is powerful for film archives. As events happen to your collection – items move around, perhaps there’s a condition check or something was digitised, maybe an item was used in a viewing, loan or exhibition – all these actions or events are attached to a related item or items in the database. The related record viewer makes your database completely navigable; you can see the complete history of the item and everything is connected.

How do we support our film archive customers?

Our film archive customers regularly make suggestions in our ideas portal that we consider for the product roadmap. When we develop new features in the software, we always try to do so in a sustainable and flexible way so that all our customers, including film archives, can benefit.

We’ve renewed our support for FIAF and we have a film archive community in our customer base. Our customers become part of an international community of other users who have the same solution. In partnership with this community, Axiell organises dedicated events for film archives so that users can meet and discuss usage, sector-specific ideas and challenges. This community is also a platform for us to solicit other development requests.

Learn more about our film archive and moving image collection solution here.

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