Clipper: Enhancing Time Based Media for Research

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From the project website:

"The aim is to produce an easy to use toolset to enhance and extend the use of online time-based media by researchers and create new opportunities for data use, reuse and collaboration in a wide range of research scenarios. ... Users will be able to specify what parts of a video or audio recording to select and share in the form of ‘virtual clips’, by indicating a source, start and end time. In addition, they can associate descriptive textual annotations with each clip that are used as a basis for exploratory search across clip collections."

From Spotlight Data: Jisc RDS Software Projects

"The project allows users to create and annotate virtual 'clips' from online videos. These clips can be shared with others and the text annotations searched. Lists of clips can be made into a playlist and shared with others. Functionality includes a project dashboard, the concept of a project space is used as a ‘container’ for related clips. The toolkit features the ability to work with different collections of data (examples are provided in the prototype) and select resources from them to include into project containers from which the virtual clips and their annotations are created. This is all done via user generated metadata so that no original source data files are copied or altered
It will be used by for researchers who are analysing audio or video data and want to extract and share certain parts of the data in a non-destructive manner that keeps the original files intact and respects any access permissions. Those who have large large audio visual data sets where only certain parts are relevant, will find it particularly useful.
Key project outputs:
  1. Project team established and working well
  2. Online proof of concept released
  3. Online prototype Clipper web app released and technical architecture developed
  4. Code available on GitHub
  5. Consortium agreement for managing IPR
  6. Stakeholder workshops
  7. Legal issues for users analysed
  8. Technical standards analysed"

From a synthesis of the projects in the context of the OAIS model, by Jen Mitcham of the Filling the Digital Preservation Gap project

"The project doesn't relate directly to digital preservation but it could interface with the OAIS model at either end. Data produced from Clipper could be deposited in a digital archive (either alongside the audio or video file itself, or referencing a file held elsewhere). This scenario could occur when a researcher needs to reference or highlight a particular section to back up their research. On the other end of the spectrum, Clipper could also be a tool that the OAIS Access system encourages data consumers to utilise, for example, by highlighting it as a way of citing a particular section of a video that they are enabling access to. The good news is that the Clipper team have already been thinking about how metadata from Clipper could be stored for the long term within a digital archive alongside the media itself. The choice of html as the native file format for metadata should ensure that this data can be fairly easily managed into the future."

Further information

Hyperlinks to further information on the project


Is there potential for collaboration and/or exploiting existing/parallel work beyond the project consortiums?

Deployment as an access tool that enhances re-use of data in digital respositories would, as noted above, be a useful way of building a user base. Both repositories of AV data and web archives would be the obvious starting points. The PrestoCentre would be a useful point of contact for the former and there are a variety of innovative web archives that may be interested in the latter. The DPC would be happy to enable engagement via it's member/community channels.

Uptake and sustainability

What steps should be taken to ensure effective uptake and sustainability of the work within the digital preservation community?

This is super tool with huge potential but it’s going to be hard to make it ‘big’. It’s not uniquely a research data management output, so looking for opportunities beyond this field may be fruitful. Obvious candidates include Innovate UK (formerly Technology Strategy Board) and the Digital Catapult?

An entry for Clipper was added to the COPTR registry.

Project website sustainability checklist

A brief checklist ensuring the project work can be understood and reused by others in the future.

Task Score
Clear project summary on one page, hyperlink heavy 2
Project start/end dates 0
Clear licensing details for reuse 1
Clear contact details 2
Source code online and referenced from website 2

2=present, 1=partial, 0=missing

Key Recommendations

  • Potential to collaborate with AV/Web repositories
  • Wide applicability opens up the potential of support from other (better funded) sources
  • Suggest adding to website: clear licensing information for non-code related outputs and add project start and end dates


See all projects | About this work | Jisc Research Data Spring