Frequently asked questions

Getting started

How do I start using this website?

You do not need to be a registered user to access documents available on this portal.

You can only download photos, films/videos or sound recordings and create favorites folders if you are a registered user.

If you have any questions, please contact avarchives@icrc.org.

How do I create or modify an account?

Click on the "Login" link to open a new account or connect to an existing account. When you save your details, you will receive an email requesting you to confirm the creation of that account.

Opening an account will allow you to download available content and create folders to manage your favorites.

You can modify your account using the "Manage my profile" option in the drop-down menu that appears when you press the "Login" button.

Access and use

Conditions governing the use of content

The ICRC authorizes those using the portal to download its content for personal use. For commercial use, prior authorization in writing must first be obtained from the ICRC: please contact us.

No matter how you use the portal, you undertake:
- not to prejudice the ICRC’s impartial, neutral and independent humanitarian work;
- not to alter the content of the portal, or related references, in any way whatsoever;
- to cite the source and the authors.

You may:
- use photos online up to a maximum resolution of 1200x1200 pixels;
- use sequences from films or videos in new productions;
- use audio tracks in new productions.

You may not under any circumstances:
- sell the content of this portal (photos, film/video footage, sound recordings or their descriptions);
- incorporate the content into any database (commercial or otherwise); or
- change how a film or video is edited.

What does "publication restrictions" mean?

The site and its contents (photos, films, sound files, text, images, music, data, logos, brands, software, etc.) are protected by intellectual property rights, e.g. copyright and related rights, and image and voice rights. The portal and its contents are the sole property of the ICRC and/or other right holders.

Although the majority of the content is public, some documents are – from the moment they enter the archives – confidential or for internal use only. This is to protect victims of conflict and to act in accordance with the Fundamental Principles of the ICRC. Internal documents are not available to the general public for 40 years; confidential documents, including personal data, are not available to the public for 60 years.

Two criteria govern the online publication of ICRC audiovisual archives and access to content:
- whether the documents are public access, internal or confidential (see "Level of confidentiality");
- their copyright status (see "Copyright").

Certain documents are subject to restrictions on their use.

Internal documents are not available to the public; only ICRC staff may access them.

The documents fall into different categories:

  • (Public) Publication without restrictions: The documents are public, the ICRC holds the copyright and you may download and share the content, as long as you respect the general terms of use.
  • (Public) Publication subject to restrictions: The documents are public and the ICRC holds the copyright, but there may be third parties that hold rights with respect to the content. All reasonable efforts have been made to identify third parties, but without success. You may download and share the content, as long as you respect the general terms of use.
    If you discover any suspected violations of copyright, or any other rights, please contact us immediately. The ICRC will remove any contentious archive material as quickly as possible.
  • (Public) Reserved users only: The ICRC shares rights with a third party, who has placed certain restrictions on the use of the content. You can view the file, but it may not be downloaded, and you need to contact us to find out the terms of use and obtain a digital copy – if this complies with the restrictions in place.

Can I share content?

You may share content if you cite the references: copyright and authors (photographer, film director or audio producer).

You may share an item from its full entry view, or a folder you have made public, as long as you respect the site policy for publishing content.

Private folder If the padlock icon is locked, the folder is private, and may not be shared.

Public folder If the padlock icon is open, the folder is public, and you may share the link to your folder.

As an ICRC staff member, how may I use internal documents?

Warning Internal documents are not available to the public; only ICRC staff may access them. These items appear with a warning triangle in the corner of the image.
These documents are not available to the public for a period of 40 years and are for internal use only. They may not be used for public communications or shared with third parties.

The internal documents fall into different categories:

  • (Internal) Reserved users only: ICRC staff may view and download the content but need to contact us to receive information on the terms of use.
  • (Internal) Description only: These documents fall into two sub-categories:
    - Documents that are subject to specific access restrictions.
    - Material only available in hard copy, such as rushes in the Film archives.
    To obtain a copy of the document, as well as information on the terms of use, ICRC staff should contact us.

Share internal Internal documents may be shared only with ICRC staff. You have to use the internal share button to send a link to the internal portal.

Search

How do I perform a simple search?

Simply enter your search in the search field.
You can enter more than one term, e.g. mali assistance. Returned results will include all searched terms.

Select the collection you want – photo, film/video or sound recordings – or leave the default setting to search all media.

How do I perform an advanced search?

Click on “Advanced search” to display the search fields common to all three collections.
You can choose which media you wish to search using the “All media” drop-down menu. Once you select a collection, the additional search fields for that collection will appear.
Several fields are linked to controlled lists. Once you have typed the first two letters of the chosen term, the system will propose a list of options.
You can use up to three terms in each of the search fields “Country/Region”, “Keyword” and “Person appearing”.
If you are looking for an old record, remember that a lot of our content does not have an exact date. You will therefore find more material by performing a keyword search on, for example, "First World War" or "Serbo-Bulgarian War", etc.
You can launch an advanced search from any full catalogue record by clicking on the links in the record.

How to filter search results

You can filter your search results using the categories listed in the column to the left of the results.
You can apply as many filters as you like to the results of your current search.

How can I search "Series/sub-series" in the sound archives?

Adding descriptions of audio documents in the Sound archives only began in 2015, but to get an overview of the archives, which are currently being catalogued, an inventory of series and sub-series is available.
To obtain an explanatory note with details of each series, please send a request to avarchives@icrc.org.

The "Series/sub-series" field is linked to a pre-defined list of options. Once you have typed in the first two letters of the chosen term, the system will propose a list of options (auto-fill).

Thereafter, the titles of series (in bold) and sub-series to be used are:

  • Operational activity
  • Group debriefing
  • Appeal
  • Call to comply with IHL
  • Fundraising (including emergency appeals)
  • Avenue de la Paix
  • Campaign
  • 150th anniversary of the Red Cross
  • Health Care in Danger (HCiD)
  • Ceremonies and tributes
  • Diplomatic conference
  • Date-specific event
  • World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day (8 May)
  • End-of-year message
  • Development and dissemination of IHL
  • Oral history
  • Public information (declarations, comments, position papers)
  • Music
  • Radiocommunications
  • Radio broadcast
  • Test broadcast
  • Radio Intercroixrouge
  • Red Cross Broadcasting Service (RCBS) (directional and circular broadcasts)
  • Meeting of experts
  • Movement and international meetings
  • Statutory meeting
  • Standing Commission
  • Council of Delegates
  • International conference
  • Miscellaneous
  • Official visit

Favorites folders

How do I create folders?

You can save a selection of your search results. To access your selection, click the folder icon at the top of the page to the left of your user name.
When you open an account, a default folder is created. This is your target or active folder, in which you can save photos, videos/films and sound files.
To create another folder, select “Create a new folder” in the folder pane on the left side of the screen.
You may create as many folders as you need. They will be saved from one session to the next. Your folders are private. You can share them by clicking on the padlock icon to the right of the folder title.
Favorites Any new folder automatically becomes the default target folder. The target folder is marked with a star. The files you select will be added to this folder. To change the target folder, select the folder in the folder pane on the left, then click the star to the right of the folder title in the center of the page, or use the drop-down menu at the top of the page.

How do I add files to my target folder?

While you are searching, you can add files to your target folder using the “Add to folder” function.
Favorites Click on the star in the bottom right corner of the file to be added.
On your folders page, you can merge the contents of two folders by clicking on the Favorites copy Copy button (duplicates are not taken into account) to the right of the folder title.
You can quickly select or access the last ten folders used by clicking the quick selection drop-down menu at the top of the page to the left of the folder icon.

Documents available on this portal

Which languages are available on this website?

The website user interface is available in English and French.

When searching documents, please note that information from catalog records is not always translated in both languages.
Fields used in advanced search and filters are available in English and French.

Films/videos are sometimes available in several languages, but some language versions have not been digitalised.
To get a language version not available in digital format, please contact us.

Which file formats are available for download?

These file formats are available for download:
- photos: JPEG; photos are available in different sizes for download;
- videos: MP4/h264; please note that depending upon image quality, film length and your bandwith, file download may last very long;
- sound recordings: MP3.

How do I download a video file?

Process may differ according to your browser or operating system parameters.

Internet Explorer (on Windows)
• if VLC is the default video player on your computer:
1. Click on the download button. The file will be downloaded.
• If Windows Media Player is the default video player on your computer:
1. Click on the download button. The file will open in Windows Media Player.
2. To save the file from Windows Media Player, go to “File” in the menu bar then click “Save As”. If the menu bar is not displayed, type Ctrl + M.
3. Choose where to save the file and click “Save”.

Firefox Explorer (on Windows)
1. Click on the download button. The video opens in a new tab and starts playing.
2. In the new tab, right click on the image and select "Save Video As..."
3. Choose where to save the file and click “Save”.

Chrome Explorer (on Windows)
1. Click on the download button. The file will be downloaded.

If you encounter any issues when downloading a file, please contact us.

How can I get files in other formats?

If you wish to use a different format for your digital files (for example, WAVE format for audio files or MOV/ProRes for video files), please contact us.

If feasible, the ICRC will send you the files in electronic format, provided that the requested format is available and is small enough to be sent by email or FTP.
If that is not possible, the ICRC will digitise or convert the file into a different format and send it to you. However, you must first agree to be billed for this and the delivery costs.

Which videos start with a test pattern ?

Before the first image of some digitalised 16 mm films, there is a test pattern during one minute or so.
These are the films which references are V-F-CR-H-00032 (only the English version) and V-F-CR-H-00137 to V-F-CR-H-00206.


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