Eric Kluitenberg

The digital Balie: Open Archives as Actual Practice

lecture given at the workshop "online-archives: perspectives on networked knowledge spaces"

Eric Kluitenberg

Eric Kluitenberg

Media Files


De Balie, centre for culture and politics in Amsterdam, has been working the last few years modestly and quietly on a digital extension of its public activities. Hampered by lack of funds and unavailability of good programmers in the hype years of the digital boom in Amsterdam, we had to move at slow speed. De Balie is a cultural space that hosts about 500 programs each year, distributed over 10 active months. This pressure of continuous programming makes free experimentation simply impossible.

Our ambition has been to create this dense programming in an on-line environment, the 'Digital Balie', which contains both live elements (web casting), as well as context materials, essays, reports and a sensible archive. We began by setting up a database driven website that gives up-to-date program information and archives it automatically. It also includes a module for our in-house book publisher. Simultaneously De Balie realised weekly webcasts of our most interesting programs in collaboration with the Digital City amsterdam.

This year we have started a new phase in this project. Based on the architecture of the Open Source Content Management System MMBase, developed by public broadcaster VPRO, we are working on a on-line publication environment for cultural organisations that will become available open source and documented, and is tested out in the severe conditions of the dense day-to-day programming of De Balie. MMBase is an object oriented system that allows enormous flexibility in the representation of the information and media objects stored in the database. Our aim is to create a system that will allow intelligent linking between objects and the creation of editorial decisions in the ordering of the material, while keeping the interface for editors as simple as possible

Parallel to this our web casting will be intensified via a link to the Netherlands research backbone Gigaport that will be installed at V2_ and the Waag Society.

Artists / Authors



Fraunhofer Institute for Media Communication MARS-Exploratory Lab



Schloss Birlinghoven, Sankt Augustin, Germany


» http://netzspannung.…hops/online-archives/


, Apr 9, 2003