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Coding da Vinci – Open GLAM challenge in Germany

Guest - April 3, 2014 in Events, OKF Germany, Open GLAM

The following blog is by Helene Hahn, Open GLAM coordinator at Open Knowledge Germany. It is cross-posted from the Open GLAM blog

More and more galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs) are digitizing their collections to make them accessible online and to preserve our heritage for future generations. By January 2014, over 30 million objects have been made available via Europeana – among which over 4.5 million records were contributed from German institutions.

Through the contribution of open data and content, cultural institutions provide tools for the thinkers and doers of today, no matter what sector they’re working in; in this way, cultural heritage brings not just aesthetic beauty, but also brings wider cultural and economic value beyond initial estimations.

Coding da Vinci, the first German open cultural data hackathon will take place in Berlin to bring together both cultural heritage institutions and the hacker & designer community to develop ideas and prototypes for the cultural sector and the public. It will be structured as a 10-week-challenge running from April 26th until July 6th under the motto “Let them play with your toys!”, coined by Jo Pugh of the UK National Archives. All projects will be presented online for everyone to benefit from, and prizes will be awarded to the best projects at the end of the hackathon.

The participating GLAMs have contributed a huge range of data for use in the hackathon, including highlights such as urban images (including metadata) of Berlin in the 18th and 19th centuries, scans of shadow boxes containing insects and Jewish address-books from the 1930s in Germany, and much more! In addition, the German Digital Library will provide their API to hackathon participants. We’re also very happy to say that for a limited number of participants, we can offer to cover travel and accommodation expenses – all you have to do is apply now!

All prices, challenges and datasets will soon be presented online.

This hackathon is organized by: German Digital Library, Service Centre Digitization Berlin, Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, and Wikimedia Germany.

Help Turn Voices from BBC Radio into Open Data for Wikipedia

Guest - November 14, 2013 in Open GLAM

This is a cross-posting from the OpenGLAM blog written by Michael Smethurst, development producer at the BBC – see the original post.

An invite

On Saturday, 18th January 2014 between 10am and 5pm the BBC is teaming up with the Open Knowledge Foundation’s OpenGLAM initiative, Creative Commons UK and the Wikimedia community to host an open event in the Media Cafe, New Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London (map here). Attendees will be given access to the Radio 4 permanent audio archive, the tools to take samples of voice recordings and the opportunity to upload them to Wikimedia Commons for inclusion into Wikipedia.

If you’d like to come along you can sign up for the day on EventBrite. The first 25 non-BBC sign ups will be given a free tour of Broadcasting House.

Some background

Back in 2012 Andy Mabbett, an active Wikipedian and open cultural data advocate, published a blog post requesting open-licensed, open-format recordings of the voices of Wikipedia subjects for Wikimedia Commons. The request went on to become the Voice Intro Project and [some examples can be found here](http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Voice_intro_project_-_en). In September Andy talked about the project to the Wikimedia UK blog:

The idea is to let Wikipedia readers find out what the people we write about sound like [..] It’s great that we can hear the voices of people like Gandhi and Alexander Graham Bell, but what about all the other historic figures, whose voices are lost forever? We shouldn’t let that happen when we have the technology and resources so easily available. Sure, some of our subjects are known for media appearances, but those aren’t necessarily available globally nor under an open licence.

Andy’s original post was spotted by Tristan and passed around R&D. Our first thought was, “we’ve got lots of voices”. Our second thought was, with some adjustment this could be a useful hook for institutions like the BBC and beyond with large, digitised audio archives but sparse metadata and no way to know who’s speaking in them.

Generating Linked Open Data from Open Content

As part of the ABC-IP project Yves built a speaker recognition algorithm that scales to large number of speakers, based on the LIUM speaker diarization toolkit. The software is able to recognise voice patterns and identify where the same voice box speaks across a large audio (or video) archive. Unfortunately, it doesn’t identify an actual person and doesn’t give us a name / identity for the person speaking.

The results can be seen on this episode of From Our Own Correspondent and this aggregation of episodes featuring the voice of Orla Guerin from the World Service archive (you’ll need to signed in to see). The names have been provided by users of the archive and are just strings and not identifiers for “things”.

screenshot

The BBC makes extensive use of identifiers from the Wikimedia family (Wikipedia and Wikidata) and related projects (e.g. DBpedia) so it would be better if we could associate voice boxes with Wikipedia, DBpedia or Wikidata concept identifiers. This would allow us to surface programmes about and featuring person X.

As a piece of research we’re looking to investigate whether voice samples on Wikimedia/pedia could be used to generate a voice box “fingerprint” which could then be used to identify speakers across a large archive. Which would close the circle of archive audio to speaker recognition to Wikimedia voice fingerprint to Wikipedia, DBpedia or Wikidata identifier to Linked Open Data for speakers in an archive.

To do that we’d need longer (duration) and higher quality samples than suggested by the Voice Intro Project. So we’re looking to upload 30-40 second voice samples losslessly encoded as FLAC. We’ve created a few examples:

Mark Carny

Mary Robinson

Justin Welby

Any software we create to do this will be open sourced and (obviously) the voice samples will be openly licenced so other researchers and cultural institutions will be able to use the same methods to annotate audio / video with identified speakers. And hopefully contribute to the project by uploading voice samples from their own archives. By releasing small nuggets of their archives they’d be both improving Wikipedia and putting just enough in place to make the further contextualisation of their (and other) archives possible.

Details of the day

On the day we’ll be giving out access to Snippets, an R&D tool built on top of Redux. Snippets gives access to everything broadcast by the BBC since ~2007. For rights reasons we’ll only be uploading voice samples from the selection of Radio 4 news and factual programmes with permanent availability. A list of permanently available Radio 4 programmes can be found below the original post on the BBC’s website.

Before we meet up it would be good if you could have a listen to some of these programmes and identify interesting people and suitable 30-40 second samples. If you’d like to come along you can sign up to attend here. Please bring along a laptop and some headphones. Food and drink will be provided.

Working Group Community Stories

Katelyn Rogers - November 11, 2013 in Open GLAM, WG Open Product Data, Working Groups

The Open Knowledge Foundation is proud to support over 20 active and incubating working groups, domain specific groups promoting, advocating for and building openness in their respective fields. Here is what some of our working groups have been up to over the past few months!

OpenScience

Open Science:

The Open Science Working Group has welcomed three new Panton Fellows. Meet Samuel Moore, Rosie Grave and Peter Krater, three early career researchers who will spend the next year exploring and supporting the adoption of open research practices in science and other fields of research.

In addition to welcoming these incredible new fellows, the Open Science working group (in collaboration with IDRC and Open-UTC) organised two Open Science for Development workshops, one in Cape Town (see photo above) and one in London. Following from these successful workshops, the working group has been working tirelessly to produce an Open Science for Development Research Framework. At OKcon in September, the working group organised an Open & Citizen Science Hack Day, where they succeeded in attracting both OKcon attendees present in Geneva and remote participants from France, the US, the Netherlands and Germany.

Open Science is spreading across the world! More and more local open science strands are coming together as open science enthusiasts from different corners of the globe are getting together and developing projects in their local community. Now you can join an open science community in Stockholm, Brazil or one of the other local strands of the working group. If you’d like to get involved, introduce yourself on the open science mailing list and follow the group on twitter.

Open Product Data:

Open Product Data is one of the newest Open Knowledge Foundation working groups with the goal of both developing the largest open product database in the world and advocating for increased access to product data. Open product data has the potential to empower consumers, increase efficiency and drive economic growth but at the moment product data, such as a product’s barcode, is public but not open. Since joining the Open Knowledge Foundation only a month ago, our community has already developed an android application for Open Product Data and heard stories of others use our database to further their initiatives.

The working group is organising an event (in collaboration with Hub Westminster and Provenance) in London on November 26th, 2013 in order to bring together a diverse group of people interested in open product data to share what they are building and discuss future collaborations. The daytime event will be focused on the more technical aspects of open product data with discussion topics such as mapping the data source possibilities, hypothesising the future implications of open product data and brainstorming the information architecture necessary for such an endeavour. A separate evening event will bring together manufacturers, retailers and consumer groups to discuss the business model opportunities that a more open product data environment would create.

Find out more about the ambitions of the group here and remember, Open Product Data is a community project, if you want to contribute, join the group on github, say hello on the mailing list and follow everything that they are doing on twitter.

OpenGLAM:

OpenGLAM is now all over the world. 2013 has seen the growth of local OpenGLAM groups organising professional networks that take action and promote the value of open culture within a given region or country (ex US, Switzerland, Austria etc.).

The OpenGLAM Working Group is now also supported by a new set of key network partners including the Digital Public Library of America, LODLAM and the Internet Archive.

The OpenGLAM Working Group has been working hard on a set of principles, which cultural institutions can adopt and endorse in order to make their resources more open to re-use. The OpenGLAM Working Group has been collecting useful research and resources on open cultural data and specifically its measurable impact on cultural institutions. You can check the page where we are gathering together these resources and essential reading for anyone hoping to open up cultural content or data.


OpenGLAM, Open Science and Open Product Data are only three of our 20+ working groups dedicated to making their fields more open! If you would like to get involved, join one of the mailing lists or contact us directly at getinvolved {at} okfn . org and make sure to tune in next month to find out what other groups have been up to.

New Sources and Rights section on The Public Domain Review

Adam Green - August 29, 2013 in Featured, Open GLAM, Public Domain Review

Today sees the announcement of two exciting new developments on The Public Domain Review, changes which centre on better celebrating those institutions which have decided to open up their collections and helping users understand the different rights for reuse that apply to the content.

New sources section

The new sources page – http://publicdomainreview.org/sources/ – lists the major sources for material found on The Public Domain Review: both online content aggregators (websites which bring together into one place digital copies from disparate sources) and the content providers themselves (the institutions who will often hold the physical object from which the digital copy has been made).

This list is intended to be at once a celebration of the sources we use in the creation of The Public Domain Review and also a mapping of the current landscape of openly licensed collections, a map which we hope will encourage users to explore these wonderful sources for themselves. We also hope that by highlighting the wealth of institutions that have already opened up their public domain collections, those institutions that have not yet opened up might be encouraged to do so.

Each institution has its own dedicated page which lists their content featured on our site.

New attribution feature and accompanying rights and re-use section

Each collection post on The Public Domain Review now has an accompanying table clearly stating: 1) the source form which the material derives 2) if relevant, a hat-tip to any person or website through which we found the material 3) download links, and 4) information regarding rights and re-use of both the underlying work and the digital copy which we are presenting.

To accompany the “rights and re-use” part of this new feature we have a dedicated page “Rights labelling on our site” which functions to explain some of the terms encountered and, in general, give a helpful overview of the landscape regarding the complex world of rights and re-use relating to public domain works and their digital copies.

We hope that these changes will help give the recognition deserved to the institutions that have taken the bold step of openly licensing their collections, and also that those who appreciate the fruits of this labor will, with more transparency regarding rights, feel more empowered to share and re-use it. If you’re interested in issues around open licensing of cultural content and want to help us build a cultural commons for everyone to use and enjoy, visit OpenGLAM.org.



Getty Releases 4,600 Images into the Public Domain

Sam Leon - August 14, 2013 in News, Open GLAM, Public Domain


A depiction of a banquet by 17th Centruy Italian artist, Morazzone, one of the many scans now in the public domain
A depiction of a banquet by 17th Centruy Italian artist, Morazzone, one of the many scans now in the public domain

Cross-posted from the OpenGLAM Blog.

Yesterday the J. Paul Getty Trust launched its Open Content Program which saw the release of 4,600 high-resolution scans of works from the Getty Museum in Los Angeles into the public domain. This means that the digital images in this new release can be downloaded and re-used without restriction and without the need to get permission. The initial release can be browsed here.

The renowned institution has publicly committed to open up the digital images of all works they own and that are in the public domain or to which they own the rights. Getty president and CEO, Jim Cuno, said of the Open Content Program and the Getty’s commitment to openness:

>The Getty was founded to promote ‘the diffusion of artistic and general knowledge’ of the visual arts, and this new program arises directly from that mission. In a world where, increasingly, the trend is toward freer access to more and more information and resources, it only makes sense to reduce barriers to the public to fully experience our collections.

The Getty joins a growing cohort of leading cultural institutions taking steps to open up their public domain holdings on the web. Recent years have seen similar releases from the Walter’s Art Museum, The British Library and the Rijksmuseum. OpenGLAM — the Working Group at the Open Knowledge Foundation dedicated to opening up cultural content and data from Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums around the world — is collecting examples of open collections on the site. If you know of ones we haven’t listed, get in touch via the public mailing list.

We were pleased to see representatives from the Getty at the launch of the US arm of the OpenGLAM Working Group back in March of this year and we hope that the experience of coming together with other institutions keen to see more of their colelctions shared online helped to bolster their support for open content.

On their website the Getty have also signalled that this is the first in a series of open content releases under their Open Content Program. Plans are in the works to release documentation from the Getty’s Conservation Institute’s field projects as well as their world famous vocabularies for describing cultural objects.

It’s fantastic to see an organisation of the Getty’s size and stature making such a move. We hope this will motivate other organisations to take such a bold and positive step towards an open cultural commons which everyone is free to enjoy and re-use. We would also urge the Getty to go further in their Open Content Program and actually start labelling the digital copies of their works available through their website with a Creative Commons Public Domain Mark to further reduced the barriers to re-use.

Network Summit

Naomi Lillie - July 19, 2013 in Network, Open GLAM, Open Government Data, Open Humanities, Open Knowledge Foundation, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups, Open Science, Our Work, Talks, Working Groups

Twice-yearly the whole community of the Open Knowledge Foundation gathers together to share with, learn from and support one another. The Summer Summit 2013 took place in Cambridge (UK) last week (10th-14th July), with staff updates on the Thursday and network representatives joining on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

It was so inspiring to hear what our network has been doing to further the Open movement recently and over the last 6 months!

We heard from Local Groups about how these groups have been effecting change in all our locations around the world:

  • Alberto for OKFN Spain has been promoting open transparency in budgets, including their own, and using the power of events to gather people;
  • OKFN Taiwan, represented by TH (who we believe travelled the furthest to be with us in person), has also been investing in many large events, including one event for developers and others attracting 2,000 people! They have also been supporting local and central governments on open data regulation;
  • Charalampos of OKFN Greece highlighted the recent support of their works by Neelie Kroes, and took us through crashmap.okfn.gr which maps accidents using data from police departments and census data along with crowd-sourced data;
  • Pierre at OKF France reported that they have been helping redesign the national open data portal, as well as developing an open data portal for children and young people which kids which may align well with School of Data;
  • OpenData.ch, the Swiss Chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation of course is hosting OKCon in September, and Hannes updated on exciting developments here. He also reported on work to lobby and support government by developing visualisations of budget proposals, developing a federal-level open data strategy and policy, and promoting a national open data portal. Thanks to their efforts, a new law was accepted on open weather data, with geodata next up;
  • David updated on OKFN Australia where there is support from government to further the strong mandate for open scientific data. The newspaper the Age has been a firm ally, making data available for expenses and submissions to political parties, and a project to map Melbourne bicycle routes was very successful;
  • Francesca of OKF Italy has been working alongside Open Streetmap and Wikimedia Italy, as well as with parliament on the Open Transport manifesto. They have also been opening up ecological data, from “spaghetti open data”;
  • OKFN Netherlands was represented by Kersti, who reported a shared sense of strength in open government data and open development, as well as in the movement Open for Change (where OKCon is listed as the top ‘Open Development Event’!);
  • Dennis, for OKF Ireland, has been pushing the local events and gathering high-profile ‘rock stars’ of the open data world as well as senior government representatives. He has also presented on open data in parliament;
  • OKF Scotland is a growing grassroots community, as conveyed by Ewan – an Open Data Day asserted the importance of connecting to established grassroots communities who are already doing interesting things with data. They are also working closely with government to release data and organised local hackdays with children and young people;
  • Bill joined us remotely to update on OKF Hong Kong, where regular meet-ups and hackdays are providing a great platform for people to gather around open knowledge. Although not able to join us in person (like Everton / Tom from OKF Brasil) Bill was keen to report that OKF Hong Kong will be represented at OKCon!
  • OKF Austria‘s update was given by Walter, who informed us that transport data is now properly openly licensed and that several local instances of the international Working Groups have been set up. Which segues nicely, as…

It wasn’t just during the planned sessions where community-building and networking occurred: despite the scorching 30°C (86°F) heat – somewhat warmer than the Winter Summit in January! – people made the most of lunchtimes and breaks to share ideas and plan.

We also heard from Working Groups about how crossing international boundaries is making a difference to Open for all of us:

  • Open Sustainability was represented by Jack who explained Cleanweb (an initiative to use clean technologies for good, engaging with ESPA to open up data) and has set up @opensusty on Twitter as a communication route for anyone wanting to connect;
  • Ben, newly involved with Open Development, explained about the group’s plans to make IATI‘s released data useful, and bringing together existing initiatives to create a data revolution;
  • Open Science, represented by Ross, has been very active with lobbying and events, with the mailing list constantly buzzing with discussions on open data, licensing and convincing others;
  • Daniel explained that Open Government Data, being one of the largest groups with 924 mailing list members, has provided an important role as being at the heart of the Open Government Data movement, as a place for people to go to for questions and – hopefully! – answers. Daniel will be stepping down, so get in touch if you would like to help lead this group; in the meantime, the Steering Committee will be helping support the group;
  • OpenGLAM has also developed an Advisory Board, said Joris. There is good global reach for Open GLAM advocacy, and people are meeting every month. Documents, case studies, slide-decks and debates are available to new joiners to get started, and the Austrian instance of the Working Group demonstrated the process works. (Joris has now sadly left Open Knowledge Foundation ‘Central’, but we are delighted he will stay on as volunteer Coordinator for this group!);
  • Public Domain, with Primavera reporting, has been working on Public Domain Calculators in partnership with the government. PD Remix launched in France in May, and Culture de l’Europe will present at OKCon;
  • Primavera also updated on Open Design, where future planning has taken priority. The Open Design Definition has been a highlight but funding would help further activity and there are plans to seek this proactively. Chuff, the Open Knowledge Foundation Mascot, was pleased to get a mention…

It should be noted that these activities and updates are brief highlights only – distilling the activities of our groups into one or two sentences each is very much unrepresentative of the amount of things we could talk about here!

We also made time for socialising at the Summit, and much fun was had with Scrabble, playing frisbee and punting – not to mention celebrating Nigel‘s birthday!




As an aside, I was going to state that “we only need an Antarctic representative and the Open Knowledge Foundation will have all seven continents in our network”; however, it appears there is no definitive number of continents or agreed land-masses! An amalgamated list is Africa (Africa/Middle East and North Africa), America (Central/North/South), Antarctica, Australia (Australia/Oceania) and Eurasia (Europe/Asia)… but, however you wish to define the global divisions (and isn’t it pleasing that it’s difficult to do so?), Antarctica is the only area the Open Knowledge Foundation is not represented! Are you reading this from an outstation at the South Pole, or know someone there, and want to contribute to open knowledge? Apply to become an Ambassador and be the person to cement the Open Knowledge Foundation as the fully global demonstration of the Open movement.

If you’re in an unrepresented area – geographic or topic – we’d love to hear from you, and if you’re in a represented area we’d love to put you in touch with others. Get Involved and connect with the Open Knowledge Foundation Network – and maybe we’ll see you at the next Summit!

Images 1, 4-7 and front page: Velichka Dimitrova. Images 2 and 3: Marieke Guy, CC-BY-NC-ND

Announcing a new series, “Curator’s Choice”

Adam Green - July 3, 2013 in Featured, Open GLAM, Public Domain, Public Domain Review

This week sees the launch of the “Curator’s Choice” series – a joint endeavour of The Public Domain Review and OpenGLAM – which aims to actively engage with and celebrate those cultural heritage institutions that have taken the exciting steps to open up their content.

This new series shall consist of a monthly guest post from a gallery, library, archive or museum curator reflecting upon a group of works in one of their open digital collections – that is, public domain material which has had no restrictions placed on it as it’s been digitised and made available online. This new series aims to be a celebratory spotlight on both the institutions making the exciting steps of openly licensing their digital collections and also the curators that work everyday with such collections – as well, of course, as being a celebration of the content itself.

The series shall be housed on both The Public Domain Review and the OpenGLAM website.

The inaugural post is from the British Library’s Phil Hatfield and Andrew Gray who take a look at the fascinating array of photographs in the British Library’s Canadian Colonial Copyright Collection – see it here on The Public Domain Review and here on OpenGLAM.

Here’s a sneak preview of just a few of the gems from the collection.

‘The Wrestlers’, deposited in 1905 by R. H. Trueman [copyright number 15767]. We all hope the bear was trained… – Source

Part of a series of stereoscopic photographs telling the story of Mr. Turtledove’s fancy for the French cook. Deposited in 1906 by Arthur Lawrence Merrill [copyright number 17212] – Source

Part of a photographic series on performing animals, deposited by John A. Brown in 1920 – Source

Next month’s piece shall be from the Rijksmuseum. You can follow new additions to the series through this RSS feed.

Announcing the Open Humanities Award Winners

Sam Leon - May 8, 2013 in Featured, Open GLAM, Open Humanities

awards-logo

Earlier this year, as part of the DM2E project, we put out a call to humanities academics and technologists to see if they could come up with innovative ideas for small technology projects that would further humanities research by using open content, open data and/or open source.

We’re very pleased to announce that the winners are Dr Bernhard Haslhofer (University of Vienna) and Dr Robyn Adams (Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, University College London). Both winners will receive financial support to help them undertake the work they proposed and will be blogging about the progress of their project. You can follow their progress via the DM2E blog.


Award 1: Semantic tagging for old maps… and other things

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 11.02.15

The first Award goes to Dr Bernhard Haslhofer of Vienna University. His project will involve building on an open source web application he has been working on called Maphub.

Dr Haslhofer told us a little bit about the inspiration for his project:

“People love old maps” is a statement that we heard a lot from curators in libraries. This combined with the assumption that many people also have knowledge to share or stories to tell about historical maps, was our motivation to build Maphub.

In essence Maphub is an open source Web application that, first of all, pulls out digitized historical maps from closed environments, adds zooming functionality, and assigns Web URIs so that people can talk about them online. It also supports two main use cases:

(i) georeferencing maps by linking points on the map to Geonames locations;
(ii) commenting on maps or map regions by creating annotations. While users are entering their comments, Maphub analyzes the entered text on the fly and suggests so-called semantic tags, which the user accepts or rejects.

Semantic tags appear like “normal” tags on the user interface, but are in fact links to DBpedia resources. In that way, the user links her annotations and therefore also the underlying historical map with resources from two open data sources. Besides consuming open data during the annotation authoring process, Maphub also contributes collected knowledge back as open data by exposing all annotations following the W3C Open Annotation specification. In that way, Maphub supports people in a loop of using and producing open data in the context of historical maps.

Dr Haslhofer looks forward to seeing how collaborations will blossom between these various web annotation systems:

We believe that people also love other things on the Web and that Web annotation tools should support semantic tagging as well. Therefore, we will make it available as a plugin for Annotorious. Annotorious is a JavaScript image annotation library that can be used in any Website, and is also compatible with the Open Knowledge’s Foundations’s Annotator.

Annotorious and Maphub have common origins and the Open Humanities will support us in unifing parallel development streams into a single, reusable annotation tool that works for digitized maps but also for other media. We will also conduct another user study to inform the design of that function for other application contexts.


Award 2: Joined Up Early Modern Diplomacy: Linked Data from the Correspondence of Thomas Bodley

Thomas_Bodley

The second award goes to Dr Robyn Adams of the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, University College London. The project will re-purpose the open resource that Dr Adams has been building with a team of others: the Diplomatic Correspondence of Thomas Bodley.

The project will use ‘additional’ information that was encoded into the digitisation of early modern letters that took place at the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters. In the initial incarnation of the project this data which included biographical and geographical information contained within letters was not used (although it was encoded).

Dr Adams told us a little bit about what she plans on doing with the money from the Awards:

With the prize funding from the Open Humanities Awards, we propose to mine the data that was
generated but not fully used in the first phase of the project. This data is a rich source of
biographical and geographical information, the visualization of which evokes
the complex and diverse texture of the late sixteenth-century European
diplomatic and military landscape. Bodley’s position in The Hague as the only
English representative on the Dutch Council of State put him at the centre of a
heterogeneous nexus of correspondents a time long before the Republic of
Letters burgeoned in the subsequent century.

The project will interrogate three data fields within the larger data set of Bodley’s diplomatic
correspondence in order to generate visualizations; the network of correspondents
and recipients, and the people and places mentioned within the letters. These
visualizations will be incorporated into the project website, where they will
enhance and extend the knowledge derived from the existing corpus of
correspondence. The visualizations, which will have scope to be playful while
drawn from scrupulous scholarship, will offer an alternative pathway for
scholars and the interested public to understand that in this period
especially, the political, university and kinship networks were fundamental to
advancement and prosperity.

“In mapping the relational activity between data sets,” Dr Adams went on, “I hope to further illuminate and reanimate Bodley’s position within the Elizabethan compass. Furthermore, I hope to demonstrate that fruitful routes of enquiry can result if scholars commit to going the extra mile to encode and record data in their research that may not have immediate relevance to their own studies.”


We offer our heartiest congratulations to the both Dr Haslhofer and Dr Adams both of whom will be presenting their work at the forthcoming Web as Literature conference at the British Library and this year’s OKCon in Geneva. Follow the progress of the Awards recipients via the DM2E project website.

Open Data Fellowship with Metropolitan New York Library Council Announced

Sam Leon - April 24, 2013 in Open GLAM

logo (1)

Exciting news: The Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) in collaboration with the Open Knowledge Foundation’s OpenGLAM initiative and Wikimedia NYC have today unveiled the first ever Open Data Fellowship for cultural heritage institutions starting this summer. The paid 8-week placement will combine two roles:

  • Facilitator for institutions interested in pursuing broader open data initiatives
  • Wikipedian-in-Residence for member institutions in the METRO consortium

Position Details

Open Cultural Data role

New Open GLAM Logo

  • Assist membership and collaboration with existing open cultural data initiatives from around the OpenGLAM Network
  • Research and use open source tools for working with open cultural data for possible uptake by the library
  • Develop guides and manuals for GLAMS for working opening up data
  • Contribute to an emerging multi-institutional linked open data project as needed

Wikipedian-in-Residence role

wiki120.jpg

  • Assist METRO membership in their understanding and use of Wikipedia
  • Provide training and guidance on Wikipedia/Wikimedia use and WikiProjects
  • Assist membership with releasing collection content into Wikimedia (or other) Commons
  • Organize and host at least one Wikipedia-related special event or workshop

Fellow is expected to document their experience through METRO, OpenGLAM, GLAM-Wiki, or other community channels.

Position Requirements

  • Must have experience creating or editing Wikipedia content, contributing to Wikimedia (or other) Commons, and/or using other open data platforms
  • Student (graduate or undergrad) preferred, but any qualified candidates will be considered
  • Experience working in GLAMs or other cultural heritage institutions is preferred
  • Some experience in user training or creating instructional resources is preferred
  • Must be a US citizen

About the Position

  • Stipend: $5000 for a full-time, 8-week term working a 35-hour week
  • Position Term: 8 weeks, start and end date flexible, but primarily during summer
  • Located: At METRO (57 E. 11th St. NYC); some possible work at member organizations (within New York City’s five boroughs and Westchester county)

How to Apply

Submit a cover letter (including your Wikipedia experience, username, and other skills you bring to the position) along with your resume and two references along with their contact information. Email the above in PDF format to info@metro.org. Applications accepted through May 15, 2013. Questions may be directed to Jefferson Bailey, jbailey@metro.org.

What We Hope the Digital Public Library of America Will Become

Jonathan Gray - April 17, 2013 in Bibliographic, Featured, Free Culture, Open Content, Open GLAM, Open Humanities, Policy, Public Domain

Tomorrow is the official launch date for the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

If you’ve been following it, you’ll know that it has the long term aim of realising “a large-scale digital public library that will make the cultural and scientific record available to all”.

More specifically, Robert Darnton, Director of the Harvard University Library and one of the DPLA’s leading advocates to date, recently wrote in the New York Review of Books, that the DPLA aims to:

make the holdings of America’s research libraries, archives, and museums available to all Americans—and eventually to everyone in the world—online and free of charge

What will this practically mean? How will the DPLA translate this broad mission into action? And to what extent will they be aligned with other initiatives to encourage cultural heritage institutions to open up their holdings, like our own OpenGLAM or Wikimedia’s GLAM-WIKI?

Here are a few of our thoughts on what we hope the DPLA will become.

A force for open metadata

The DPLA is initially focusing its efforts on making existing digital collections from across the US searchable and browsable from a single website.

Much like Europe’s digital library, Europeana, this will involve collecting information about works from a variety of institutions and linking to digital copies of these works that are spread across the web. A super-catalogue, if you will, that includes information about and links to copies of all the things in all the other catalogues.

Happily, we’ve already heard that the DPLA is releasing all of this data about cultural works that they will be collecting using the CC0 legal tool – meaning that anyone can use, share or build on this information without restriction.

We hope they continue to proactively encourage institutions to explicitly open up metadata about their works, and to release this as machine-readable raw data.

Back in 2007, we – along with the late Aaron Swartz – urged the Library of Congress to play a leading role in opening up information about cultural works. So we’re pleased that it looks like DPLA could take on the mantle.

But what about the digital copies themselves?

A force for an open digital public domain

The DPLA has spoken about using fair use provisions to increase access to copyrighted materials, and has even intimated that they might want to try to change or challenge the state of the law to grant further exceptions or limitations to copyright for educational or noncommercial purposes (trying to succeed where Google Books failed). All of this is highly laudable.

But what about works which have fallen out of copyright and entered the public domain?

Just as they are doing with metadata about works, we hope that the DPLA takes a principled approach to digital copies of works which have entered the public domain, encouraging institutions to publish these without legal or technical restrictions.

We hope they become proactive evangelists for a digital public domain which is open as in the Open Definition, meaning that digital copies of books, paintings, recordings, films and other artefacts are free for anyone to use and share – without restrictive clickwrap agreements, digital rights management technologies or digital watermarks to impose ownership and inhibit further use or sharing.

The Europeana Public Domain Charter, in part based on and inspired by the Public Domain Manifesto, might serve as a model here. In particular, the DPLA might take inspiration from the following sections:

What is in the Public Domain needs to remain in the Public Domain. Exclusive control over Public Domain works cannot be re-established by claiming exclusive rights in technical reproductions of the works, or by using technical and or contractual measures to limit access to technical reproductions of such works. Works that are in the Public Domain in analogue form continue to be in the Public Domain once they have been digitised.

The lawful user of a digital copy of a Public Domain work should be free to (re-) use, copy and modify the work. Public Domain status of a work guarantees the right to re-use, modify and make reproductions and this must not be limited through technical and or contractual measures. When a work has entered the Public Domain there is no longer a legal basis to impose restrictions on the use of that work.

The DPLA could create their own principles or recommendations for the digital publication of public domain works (perhaps recommending legal tools like the Creative Commons Public Domain Mark) as well as ensuring that new content that they digitise is explicitly marked as open.

Speaking at our OpenGLAM US launch last month, Emily Gore, the DPLA’s Director for Content, said that this is definitely something that they’d be thinking about over the coming months. We hope they adopt a strong and principled position in favour of openness, and help to raise awareness amongst institutions and the general public about the importance of a digital public domain which is open for everyone.

A force for collaboration around the cultural commons

Open knowledge isn’t just about stuff being able to freely move around on networks of computers and devices. It is also about people.

We think there is a significant opportunity to involve students, scholars, artists, developers, designers and the general public in the curation and re-presentation of our cultural and historical past.

Rather than just having vast pools of information about works from US collections – wouldn’t it be great if there were hand picked anthologies of works by Emerson or Dickinson curated by leading scholars? Or collections of songs or paintings relating to a specific region, chosen by knowledgable local historians who know about allusions and references that others might miss?

An ‘open by default’ approach would enable use and engagement with digital content that breathes a life into it that it might not otherwise have – from new useful and interesting websites, mobile applications or digital humanities projects, to creative remixing or screenings of out of copyright films with new live soundtracks (like Air’s magical reworking of Georges Méliès’s 1902 film Le Voyage Dans La Lune).

We hope that the DPLA takes a proactive approach to encouraging the use of the digital material that it federates, to ensure that it is as impactful and valuable to as many people as possible.

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