This is a guest blog post about the Open Rubens platform written by Joris Janssens of Packed, one of the partners of the Europeana Space (eSpace) project. Open Rubens won the public prize during the Opencultuurdata.be competition 2013. PACKED is a centre of expertise in digital heritage and promotes the use of standards for the creation, preservation and online dissemination of cultural heritage content.
In 2004 the Rubenianum, a centre dedicated to the study of Rubens, developed the Rubens Online website, which holds information on all works by the Flemish baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens which have been or are present in Belgian public collections. The website is a product of its time and we could nowadays easily present the collection in some refreshing manner without much effort. Since the Rubens Online dataset was available under an open license (http://opencultuurdata.be/2013/03/26/rubenianum-rubensonline-be/) we used it create some new ways to explore this collection. You can find the result at www.openrubens.eu.
You can browse the collection through:
1) Some random images which are loaded from the dataset. If you click on an image you get a detail view of the work.
2) Since there was geographical information in the data we could show all the works on a map and if a work has been in different locations we can track these movements.
3) A timeline shows the works in the collection in a chronological order
On the detail page we added some social sharing functionality, the possibility to add tags to the images and to add comments.
Most of the images are available in a low resolution: we therefore implemented the functionality to do a Google Image search for similar images, in the hope of finding some higher resolutions. Since the works are public domain, even a larger resolution should not fall under copyright. This however could be different from country to country.
In addition to the Rubens Online dataset the detail page of a work shows some results from a search by title using the Europeana API. This however does not always provide nice results: sometimes because their just isn’t any relevant content to show, but also because searching and filtering is a bit limited – which will hopefully improve in a future version of the Europeana API.
Open Rubens was submitted for of the Opencultuurdata.be competition 2013, where it won the public price.