The Collaboratory for Annotation, Indexing and Retrieval of Digitized Historical Archive Material (Collate) is intended to foster and support collaboration on research, cultural mediation and preservation of films through a distributed multimediarepository. The tool will provide web-based tools and interfaces for collaborative work and content-based access to digital repositories for film archives, researchers and end-users. This report is based on empirical analysis of three film archives inGermany, Austria and the Czech Republic, and seeks to elicit the user needs for a collaboratory in this domain. Both the collection and analysis of data have been organised according to principles of Cognitive Work Analysis (CWA) as pioneered at Risø (cf.Rasmussen, Pejtersen and Goodstein 1994). Research based work on individual film projects is, due to international distribution and multiple versions, dependent on collaboration with international colleagues who mediate access to their collections.Examining user-requests to the archives this report was able to draw on information collected by one of the archives relating to e-mail inquiries. Based on analysis of the raw data it proved possible to produce an analysis of the type of informationrequests that archives receive, the nature of the information they require and the kind of information they provide in terms of contextualising their interests. In this study there is an extra layer of complexity in that the focus is on threeinstitutions, which, though located int he same work domain, are significantly different in their organisation. The approach adopted in this report is, therefore, one that seeks to suggest implications for the implementation of a collaboratory systemaccording to the organisation of the archives.