The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision – Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid – is the organisation which gathers the Dutch national audiovisual heritage and archives them to make them available for a broad audience from media professionals to the general public. The collection contains more than 750,000 hours of audiovisual archives from 1898 to today, which makes it one of the largest audiovisual archives in Europe. The Sound and Vision counts 1.7 million items in its database, made available for search through an online portal and extra-net.
Before 2005 the archives were only accessible through a card index upon request to the institute’s librarians. The card index was later digitized and made accessible through the Verity search engine. However the search was slow and the system would crash returning an error message if a user ran a query that would retrieve a large amount of documents. Moreover indexing also often crashed. Therefore two indexing systems were created for load balancing but they could not synchronize between each other and would not match resulting in very unpredictable results. The Sound and Vision could not improve the system either because Verity was a proprietary software.
It was only when the Institute for Sound and Vision decided to use Elasticsearch as its data store and search engine that the performance improved and all previously mentioned issues were resolved. The system became stable, the searches much faster and the indexes synchronized properly. This resulted in an overall improved user experience.
The Dutch Institute for Sound and Vision is a public institute and it is therefore expected to meet industry standards, be reliable and to be seen as innovative. The improved response time and reliability using Elasticsearch actually helped in further enhancing the good reputation of this institution.