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E2411e – Release of a Video Related to the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in Partnership with a Local Television Station

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Current Awareness-E No.418

19 August, 2021

Release of a Video Related to the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in Partnership with a Local Television Station


On January 14, 2021, on the 26th anniversary of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, Kobe University Library (hereafter “the Library”) released a video titled “The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake” in the digital archive of the Library’s Earthquake Disaster Materials Collection (see CA1853). The video was filmed and produced by a local TV station Sun Television on June 29, 1995. This article describes the background to the release of the video and discusses future issues.

The process began when Sun Television consulted the Director of Research Center for Urban Safety and Security of Kobe University about preserving coverage videos at the time of the earthquake and making them available to be utilized for social purposes such as disaster prevention education. In response, the Director requested the Community Outreach Center of the Graduate School of Humanities and the Library to join the discussion. The three parties held a meeting with Sun Television in September 2020 and agreed to accept, preserve, and release the videos as part of the Earthquake Disaster Materials Collection.

Appearing in these videos were people affected by the disaster. Undisclosed and unedited coverage videos were also planned to be received. As such, in releasing the videos, we decided to consult and refer to the “Draft Guideline for Portrait Rights (Version 3)” (hereafter “Guideline for Portrait Rights”) published by the Japan Society for Digital Archives.

The Guideline for Portrait Rights proposes a procedure to judge the appropriateness of photographs for disclosure. In case a person appearing in the photo, who has not given a consent for its release, is identifiable by acquaintances, total scores are to be calculated for pre-established items such as the social status of the person, the way the photo was taken, location, and the number of years elapsed since shooting. These scores are used to calculate an estimated mental impact on the person, should the photo be released. The Guideline also stipulates methods of release including limiting the scope of disclosure, disclosure only to those with advance application, and disclosure with restriction such as masking of people.

In order to calculate scores for the two videos received from Sun Television, two faculty members from the Community Outreach Center went through them to identify segments that required judgment. They watched the relevant segments two more times.

Resulting scores as well as its breakdowns were then shared with the Community Outreach Center, the Library, and Sun Television, and the three parties held a discussion. One video whose total score turned out to be over zero was judged eligible for unrestricted release and was made public through the digital archive of the Earthquake Disaster Materials Collection.

We plan to receive additional earthquake related videos from Sun Television. Some videos have already been received and are gradually going through the same process described above. With the official version of the Guideline for Portrait Rights released on April 19, 2021, our procedure to confirm scores have followed this latest version since then.

As we proceeded towards the release of the videos, some issues were identified.

One is a possible fluctuation in determining the scores. Judgments differed by the person watching the video. Even the same person may make a different judgment if watching the video on a separate day.

Here is an example. The Guideline for Portrait Rights proposes adding five points for the item on subjects who appear in a photograph if one is “participating as work or as a party involved.” Should five points be applied to a video capturing local residents (subjects not in work) helping firefighters (subjects on duty) in a rescue operation? When multiple people in different positions are captured on the screen, judgment about who to prioritize may well differ by those who watch the video.

The faculty members in charge of calculating the scores pointed out that in order to minimize judgmental fluctuation, multiple people should be involved in the process or one should go through a certain amount of video all at once. It was also confirmed that for segments requiring difficult judgment even by following the Guideline, the three parties (Community Outreach Center, the Library, and Sun Television) should share standards and discuss in proceeding with the decision-making process. As an example, the three parties confirmed that a hospital stated in the item “Location of filming” includes not only the building, but also the entrance as well as parking.

Another issue is found in dealing with videos that include images from other broadcasting stations or radio sounds. One of the two videos that we calculated scores for a release in January this year was not made public because it contained sounds from another radio station. It also included several segments that required difficult judgment in confirming the scores. This video was to be re-examined with the possibility of further editing at Sun Television.

As a result of score calculating process, some videos were judged difficult to be released to the public in the digital archive. Those videos are made available only within the Library or provided with restriction for limited purposes such as research (in principle, undisclosed). However, because the Earthquake Disaster Materials Collection has only dealt with resources to be made public, there was no policy established on materials with limited or closed access. There is a need to examine a policy to collect and manage materials that cannot be released openly.

On July 2, 2021, Kobe University and Sun Television signed a partnership agreement and announced its intention to collaborate and cooperate in regional revitalization as well as disaster prevention and mitigation. At the signing ceremony, preservation, and release of an earthquake related video was introduced as a collaborative effort taking place prior to the agreement. Also expressed was the expectation in contributing to disaster prevention learning and research by students and faculty. In order to live up fully to the significance of the agreement and the given expectations, the Library will continue to work closely with the Community Outreach Center and Sun Television to proceed with further release of videos related to the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake.

Written by Iba Akiko
Kobe University Library
Translated by Okada Aya

*Notes are not translated and remain in Japanese language.

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