Audiovisual material is a vital component of the world's heritage but it remains diffi cult to access. With the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision as one of its partners, the MuNCH project aims to investigate new methods for improving access to a wide range of audiovisual documents. MuNCH brings together three research fi elds: multimedia analysis, language technology and semantic technologies. Within the MuNCH project, we have investigated several combinations of these fi elds. We have compared text matching, ontology querying, and semantic visual querying as methods to translate a multimedia query to the vocabulary of the retrieval system. In addition, we have investigated how users make such a translation, and have used this as a benchmark to create automatic methods. We have used multimedia technology to automatically detect objects and scenes as they occur in video, and made use of language technology to exploit automatic transcriptions of speech. We have enriched the Sound and Vision thesaurus that is used to annotate the TV programmes in order to provide a user with a wider range of search results. In order to verify the results of the project against real user needs, MuNCH has participated in the creation of a logging system which monitors the usage of the Sound and Vision catalogue system. Insights in the needs of real users will be used as input for all three of MuNCH's research strands. © Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining 2009.