Video databases became an active field of research during the last decade. The main objective in such systems is to provide users with capabilities to friendly search, access and playback distributed stored video data in the same way as they do for traditional distributed databases. Hence, such systems need to deal with hard issues : (a) video documents generate huge volumes of data and are time sensitive (streams must be delivered at a specific bitrate), (b) contents of video data are very hard to be automatically extracted and need to be humanly annotated. To cope with these issues, many approaches have been proposed in the literature including data models, query languages, video indexing etc. In this paper, we present SIRSALE : a set of video databases management tools that allow users to manipulate video documents and streams stored in large distributed repositories. All the proposed tools are based on generic models that can be customized for specific applications using ad-hoc adaptation modules. More precisely, SIRSALE allows users to : (a) browse video documents by structures (sequences, scenes, shots) and (b) query the video database content by using a graphical tool, adapted to the nature of the target video documents. This paper also presents an annotating interface which allows archivists to describe the content of video documents. All these tools are coupled to a video player integrating remote VCR functionalities and are based on active network technology. So, we present how dedicated active services allow an optimized video transport for video streams (with Tamanoir active nodes). We then describe experiments of using SIRSALE on an archive of news video and soccer matches. The system has been demonstrated to professionals with a positive feedback. Finally, we discuss open issues and present some perspectives.