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BYTE into open cultural data

Anna Donovan - March 26, 2015 in Featured, Projects

This is a guest blogpost by Anna Donovan on The Big data roadmap and cross-disciplinarY community for addressing socieTal Externalities (BYTE) project. The BYTE project is looking at open cultural data as part of the relationship between open access and big data in Europe. BYTE is also collaborating with Europeana to put open cultural data and linked metadata in focus as an exciting example of open cultural data.

byteLogoOpen cultural data, including metadata, provide us with cultural value as well as the potential to access digital works for reuse and innovation. Cultural data consisting of digitised versions of text, artefacts, sound recordings, images and objects raise unique opportunities. Forging new connections between diverse cultural artefacts, providing open access to publicly held data, encouraging private and public cooperation and encouraging the re-use of cultural data by different communities are just a few of the possibilities with open cultural data.

Europeana and OpenGLAM provide the BYTE team with exciting examples of initiatives that push open cultural data in the pursuit of these possibilities and more. Cultural data is unique in that it is not as easily converted into numbers and codes that can be “crunched” and analysed. Despite this, open cultural data initiatives and policies shed some light on the activities that are already stimulating the re-use of cultural heritage data, and providing frameworks for the facilitation of open access to big data in the cultural sector. They also indicate that considerable social, financial and operational benefits could arise from better use of data in the cultural sector. We are testing these possibilities further by conducting the case study into big data and culture, which focuses on Europeana to produce evidence-based, clear and precise questions that illuminate opportunities and problems related to big cultural data and possible solutions to be further investigated in the BYTE roadmap.

Our examination of big data and culture has led us to recommend that the cultural sector at large embrace value creation and market success by utilising cultural data currently held by public sector organisations, and by collaborating with private sector companies through the reuse of open cultural data. The predicted benefits are in addition to the current social and cultural value added to European society through open cultural data. We also aim to assist in making recommendations to diminish barriers to open cultural data, such as restrictive licensing agreements, which remain relevant to ensuring the data is genuinely open. These impacts and more were also the topic of the BYTE focus group on big data in culture, which was held in Munich on 23 March 2015. Texts, artefacts and objects are the most enduring types of data generated by human societies, and making them accessible has exciting potential.

For further information about our work with the BYTE project, please contact Anna Donovan of Trilateral Research & Consulting at: / @annadonovan_TRI.  You can also follow the BYTE project on Twitter through @BYTE_EU.

Project Mosul: Protecting Iraq’s Cultural Heritage

Marieke Guy - March 19, 2015 in eSpace, Featured

This is a guest blogpost by Dr. Marinos Ioannides, Chance Coughenour and Matthew Vincent (see author details at the bottom of the page).


Neville Chamberlain famously said “In war, whichever side may call itself the victor, there are no winners, but all are losers.” Lives are lost, homes and livelihoods are damaged and culture is erased. In the following post fellows from Project Mosul explain how they are trying to protect and rebuild Iraq’s cultural heritage and explain how you can support their work. Author details are given at the end of the post.

In Iraq, a country devastated by invasions and divided by civil war, destruction of cultural artefacts has become common-place. The last few months have seen Islamic State militants burning books from libraries, destroying ancient artefacts housed in the Mosul Museum and more recently bulldozing the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud.

While it has since transpired that many of the Mosul Museum artefacts destroyed were replicas, some of the larger objects were indeed real. This wanton destruction of cultural heritage has resulted in an outcry from the digital heritage community and beyond. The historically important city of Mosul holds artefacts of huge cultural and historical importance and the Mosul Museum is the second largest museum in Iraq after the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad. The museum was first looted during the Iraq war in 2003 and millions of pounds of sculptures and images taken. The Mosul Museum has had a rough ride and needs the support of the GLAM community.


Photo of Ishtar temple lion from Project Mosul website. Photo in public domain. Special thanks go to the volunteers who have submitted the images: Suzanne E. Bott, Col. Mary Prophit, and Diane Siebrandt

Positive action has now been taken by the Initial Training Network for Digital Cultural Heritage (ITN-DCH), a Marie Curie Actions training project that is part of the EC Seventh Framework Programme, through the instigation of a volunteer project. Project Mosul is seeking volunteers to help virtually restore the Mosul Museum. This includes finding photos, processing data, contributing to the website and generally helping out with organising the effort to identify the museum artefacts.

espaceOther EU projects such as the Europeana Space and the 4D-CH-WORLD are joining their forces to help and support this volunteer effort of the young Marie-Curie researchers.

The main volunteer activities that support is needed for are:

  • Uploading pictures of the artefacts found in the Mosul Museum
  • Developing the Web platform
  • Mask images using photoshop
  • Spreading the word about the project
  • Getting the word out
  • Processing an artefact using automated photogrammetry to create three-dimensional models

To find out more about how you can support the volunteer activities see the Project Mosul website or join the Google Group.


Some of the artefacts already submitted

The project will run so long as it is needed until the destroyed artefacts can be completely reconstructed and re-produced by using latest novel technologies like the 3D printing. All the reconstructed objects will be available under Open Access licenses and will be ‘exhibited virtually’ on the Cloud under the project’s web portal.

Project Mosul is aligned with the scope of the Europeana Space Project. Open Knowledge is a consultant on the Europeana Space project supporting activities related to open licensing.

eu_logo-150x120Europeana Space has received funding from the European Union’s ICT Policy Support Programme as part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme, under GA n° 621037.



Dr. Marinos Ioannides, coordinator of the EU FP7-PEOPLE Marie Curie Project ITN-DCH

marinosDr. Marinos Ioannides is chair of the newly established Digital Heritage lab of the Cyprus University of Technology in Limassol, which is the fastest growing research centre on the island. After obtaining his MSc in Computer Science at the University of Stuttgart, Germany he received a fellowship from the same University in the faculty of Mechanical Engineering. He specialized in 3D Reconstruction from Digitized Data for his PhD. His 3D-Reconstruction engine was developed in cooperation with IBM Germany and is available and running in more than 32 research centers around the world. Dr. Ioannides was a member of the CY committee negotiating the accession of Cyprus to the EU. He is also a member of the EU Digital Library Europeana Network as well as representing Cyprus in the European Commission Group of Experts of the Digitization and Preservation of Cultural Heritage (CH) Content. In 2007 he was appointed for four years as the first Cypriot Seconded National Expert (SNE) at the European Commission in the DG-Research, where he was a Scientific and Policy Advisor for the setup of the EU Horizon 2020 Framework programme. He was the organizer and chair of CIPA/VAST2006, VSMM2008, EuroMed2010 and the 2012 CY-EU Council Presidency conference on CH and the EuroMed2014. He is also the holder of the Tartezos 2010 award from the Spanish and European Virtual Archaeology Association.

Fellow Chance Coughenour

chanceChance’s background ranges from archaeology and history to computer science. He received his BA in History at West Virginia University in the United States where he focused on the historiography of the British Empire in the founding of Hong Kong. Later, he obtained his MA in Archaeology and Heritage through distance learning with the University of Leicester in England. The primary objective of his MA research was focused on Classic Maya landscape archaeology and ritualistic assemblages. Recently, he completed a specialized Master’s course in Virtual Archaeology and Heritage directed by the Spanish Society of Virtual Archaeology. Over the past few years he has participated in the topographic survey and excavations of a Classic Maya commoner site with the Rio Bravo Archaeological Survey in northwestern Belize. Since 2012, he has been the Mapping Director of the project. His involvement on the FP7-PEOPLE Marie Curie ITN-DCH project is with the Institute for Photogrammetry at the University of Stuttgart in Germany. His specialisation currently is applying photogrammetric modeling techniques to cultural heritage for purposes of dissemination and conservation.

Fellow Matthew Vincent

matthewMatthew Vincent, originally from the United States, is an Early Stage Researcher with the Initial Training Network for Digital Cultural Heritage, a Marie Curie Actions programme funded by the European Commission. Matthew first got a taste of archaeology during his undergraduate studies at Walla Walla University in eastern Washington State. What he thought would be a once-off experience has now become the primary career goal and life focus. While he is a dirt archaeologist and loves the experience of discovery and exploration that archaeology offers, he is also a technophile and has been since a very young age, primarily due to a nuclear engineer for a grandfather and the free access that afforded him to a school of engineering while still in grade school. Matthew is now working on ways in which archaeology and technology can be mixed together to enhance both and help preserve heritage for generations to come.

Strange Contests in the Netherlands

Harry van Biessum - March 17, 2015 in Curator's Choice, eSpace, Featured, Public Domain


Harry van Biessum, from Open Images, gives a little tour through some of the collection’s stranger films, in particular those Dutch newsreels from the 1930s which centred on reporting a wide-variety of bizarre competitions.

Competition can drive people mad and make them do strange things. Especially in times when being recorded with a movie camera was quite unique. People still make make a fool out of themselves on Youtube, true, but to make your dog smoke a cigar, is something you do when your moral compass does not point perfectly North… Or when living on a different end of the human timeline of course. Well, these videos were all shot in the 1930s, so let’s just say it’s the latter.

In 1933 the Dutch organised an event where ostriches and humans combined forces in a weird race against time. The ostrich can run at a speed of about 45 miles per hour. However, when burdened with carts and humans the maximum speed of the wonderful African bird is limited. The combination of these two non-flying species is not unheard of: In some parts of the world you actually still can ride an ostrich.

The year: 1937, when things like cigars, smoking animals and Charlie Chaplin moustaches were still accepted in public society. In those happy times a jury was formed in order to determine who was the best smoker in Den Bosch. It certainly wasn’t the man who ‘accidentally’ sucked his cigar on the wrong end.

Drivers of two 30 horse-powered cars are flooring their pedals, but the cars aren’t moving. How is that possible? The answer to this riddle can be found in the muscular arms of a strong man who is attached to both of the cars by ropes. In an attempt to prove his strength some more, he lets people hit him in the stomach whilst looking around casually, undaunted, as if flies were landing on his stomach instead.

With a typewriter and a lot of time on your hands, apparently the best thing to do is to make a piece of art, or that is what the teacher of a 1937 classroom full of young adults thought anyway. As we can see in this video the typewriter was transformed from a tool for dull letters into a tool for true artists. Pictures of camels, goalkeepers and children pass along. Typewriters were not only used for visual. In the 1950s Leroy Anderson used the typewriter to compose an orchestral piece called “The Typewriter”.

These videos have been published on Open Images, an initiative by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, in collaboration with Kennisland, that publishes open video collections (including Public Domain material). These items are free to be used and re-used in other contexts (for example by Historiek, an online history magazine). Sound and Vision is actively uploading these videos to Wikimedia Commons, the media repository of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. People writing on Wikipedia use these videos in their articles (e.g. in this article on the Ostrich), providing valuable context-information and reaching a huge audience.


Harry van Biessum holds a master degree in media studies (Utrecht University) and works for the Research and Development department at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. The main mission of the projects he works for centres around opening up digital cultural heritage, via Open Images (open video), Europeana Sounds (sound related objects in Europe), the Amateur Film Platform (Dutch non-profit films and home movies) and Digitale Collectie (the Dutch dark aggregator for digital cultural heritage objects). Furthermore he is supporter of the Long Now Foundation, an initiative that is trying to make long-term thinking more common, which can be considered as an important step for a sustainable future

To learn more about Open Images visit their visit the website, and browse their wonderful collection.

This post is part of our Curator’s Choice series, a monthly feature consisting of a guest article from a curator about a work or group of works in one of their “open” digital collections. Learn more here. See this post in all its full page width glory over at The Public Domain Review.


Coding da Vinci 2015

Helene Hahn - March 16, 2015 in Contest, Events/Workshops, Featured, Hack days

More than 325.000 open cultural data files are just the beginning – Coding da Vinci sets goals for 2015 in Germany
CC-BY Coding da Vinci, Volker Agueras Gaeng

CC-BY Coding da Vinci, Volker Agueras Gaeng

Last year, Coding da Vinci (the first open cultural data hackathon in Germany) was an exciting experience for everyone involved: 150 attendees and 16 cultural heritage institutions from all over Germany jointly developed apps, visualizations and games based on open cultural data sets for both the public and the cultural sector itself. Over 325.000 media files have been contributed in total.

 From “zzZwitscherwecker” over “Old Berlin” to “Mnemosyne” – just to name a few examples – great ideas have been implemented and demonstrated the great potential of digital culture heritage.

For us, the hackathon only marked the beginning of a bigger movement towards more freely available and usable open cultural data in Germany. For 2015 we set the goal to contact more institutions and help them open up data in preparation for the hackathon.

 Whereas a classic hackathon offers its participants only a short time frame – typically a weekend – to develop software applications, Coding da Vinci runs for a total of 10 weeks. Since it was the first event of its kind, combining the formerly separate worlds of technology and cultural heritage, the organizers chose this more extensive time frame in order to provide the much-needed space to interact with and learn about each other.

At the beginning of the 10 weeks, a two-day inaugural event takes place in Berlin on the 25th & 26th of April 2015. The purpose is to  offer sufficient time for the institutions to present their data sets, and for the participants to make contact with the GLAMs in order to develop project ideas and to form teams for their realization. The teams then can use the coming 10 weeks to develop prototypes, that are presented and evaluated at a public award ceremony on the 5th of July 2015 (sprint phase).


Currently, more than 20 cultural heritage institutions are set to participate in the hackathon as data providers – among them galleries, libraries, archives, museums and even theatres. All institutions and data sets will be announced shortly on our webpage. 

All those who are eager to work with cultural data are invited to join the hackathon in Berlin: . Please register online and let us know, if you would like to apply for our travel grants.

We are looking forward to your ideas!

Coding da Vinci – Der Kultur-Hackathon is a community project of Deutsche Digitalen Bibliothek (DDB), Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland e.V. (OKF DE), Servicestelle Digitalisierung Berlin (digiS) and Wikimedia Deutschland e.V. (WMDE).

Contact: Helene Hahn Project Lead Coding da Vinci vicarious for all organizers Project Lead Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland e.V. I +49 30 57703666 2

ESpace IPR Workshop: Spaces of possibility for the creative re-use of digital cultural content

Marieke Guy - March 9, 2015 in eSpace, Featured

Last week the Europeana Space (ESpace) Project co-opted the beautiful St. Mary’s Guildhall in Coventry for a one-day workshop on Intellectual Property and related technologies.

Coventry Cathedral by Marieke Guy, CC0

Coventry Cathedral by Marieke Guy, CC0

The ESpace Project aims to create new opportunities for employment and economic growth within the creative industries sector based on Europe’s rich digital cultural resources including Europeana. espaceAs is naturally the case when looking at reuse of content, IPR and copyright issues are at the forefront of the minds of many involved. The IPR workshop was an opportunity to begin to explore some of the issues that are likely to arise during the project as pilots and tools are developed and as open content is monetised.

After Project Manager Tim Hammerton had introduced us to Coventry, with tales of Lady Godiva, peeping Tom and bombed cathedrals, Project Co-ordinator Sarah Whatley from Coventry University officially opened up the event. She highlighted that the ESpace Project brings together 29 partners from 13 European countries representing research groups, artists, broadcasters, cultural institutions, museums, collections, SMEs, technology companies and more, to develop best practice with using digital tools to enrich users’ experience of, and engagement with, Europe’s cultural heritage. The 6 pilots from the project (Europeana TV, Photography, Dance, Games, Open and Hybrid Publishing, Museums) have now begun development and dates for the forthcoming series of hackathons are emerging (the TV hackathon takes place in early May 2015 in Amsterdam).

Tim Hammerton and Sarah Whatley, photo by Kelly Mostert, CC0

Tim Hammerton and Sarah Whatley, photo by Kelly Mostert, CC0

Open Licensing

The first module of the day “beyond the question of All or Some Rights Reserved – Identifying Rights Clearance and Hybrid Licensing Models for the Creative Industries” was led by Prodromos Tsiavos from LSE, PostScriptum and Associate at Avgerinos and Partners Law Firm. Prodromos gave a highly comprehensive overview of how IPR exploitation works for those wanting to use open content: covering licensing, orphan works and the chains of activities involved. He used the Greek Parthenon Frieze which forms part of the Elgin Marbles as an example. Officially people can’t take pictures of the frieze without agreement from government. However this has to be weighed up alongside a need to encourage interest in the frieze and highlight current ownership struggles. Prodromos explained that “you increase ‘value’ of cultural heritage objects by increasing access” and that “when there are licensing issues the flow stops“. Understanding IPR is so essential “when every act on the internet is related to copyright licences” and stakes are raised by money being involved. For those approaching the licensing problem in Europeana there are main two steps: knowing the licence of a digital object and knowing who is responsible for that digital object. Prodromos explained that users are left in a worse position not knowing a digital object’s licence than if the object has clearly licensing restrictions. This is primarily due to the costs incurred for searching and negotiation. To conclude Prodromos advocated for tools such as the public domain calculator that aid clarity to licenses and data visualisation tools that support enrichment of data.

Watermarking: state of the art and applications

The following 2 modules were led by the iMinds team – iMinds is a Flanders’ based digital research center with expertise in image security-related standardisation activities. The first presented by Ann Dooms and Frederik Temmermans looked at the application of watermarking. Ann explained that the need for watermarking comes from a requirement for authenticity and provenance sometimes driven by photo scandals. Watermarking is effectively “getting your name in the pixels”, a form of ‘CSI multimedia’! Examining an image more closely shows the pixels within it and variation in colour. Every pixel represented by 3 numbers RGB, offering 256 possibilities. When you photoshop an image these numbers are changed. You need to know particular key and can then read the value within. It is important to remember that watermarking changes your raw image data, not your metadata. Many in the commercial sector are interested in watermarking in an effort to curb stealing of images. Despite many viewing online images as ‘fair game’ Ann was keen to point out that “stealing images is the same as stealing chocolate“. iMinds are advocates of embedding watermarking in the workflow process, avoiding it as a laborious after thought.

Frederik Temmermans went on to explain how Linked Data approaches are being used in this area. iMinds have recently been involved with the JPSearch framework which decouples image metadata from images and provides better interoperability during image search.

Frederik Temmermans, photo by Kelly Mostert, CC0

Frederik Temmermans, photo by Kelly Mostert, CC0

Jpeg Standards

In the final module of the day Peter Schelkens also from iMinds talked about Jpeg standards and technologies for security and interoperability related to ISO, IEC and ITU-T ecosystems. Peter looked at privacy and control issues: for example sensor data is often coupled with images, which has serious implications. As part of the ESpace Project specifications to ensure the security of transaction, protection of contents (IPR), and protection of technologies (IP), and that allow applications to generate, consume, and exchange JPEG Secured bitstreams will be investigated and deployed. Peter spoke of the paradigm shift caused by computational imaging approaches, a change he sees as disruptive for the photography markets as the migration from analog to digital pictures.

Break-out Groups

Post plenaries we were given the opportunity to discuss some of the challenges that had emerged through the course of the day and opportunities to think about how we could add IPR activities to existing workflow. A number of the break-out groups pointed out that while Cultural Heritage Institutions may not necessarily want to police the use of their images many are interested in tracking content and monitoring reuse. There was some enthusiasm for the idea of a ‘Google analytics for image reuse’. During discussions some interesting case studies were highlighted:

  • In the Netherlands there has been much discussion about the Reclaim app, a tool which allows you to place a watermark on your photos to make them less attractive for possible reuse. The tool specifically targets Facebook and their terms and conditions, which allow them to use Facebook content for commercial use in a different country of origin. The reclaim app has faced serious opposition from Facebook and the watermarking process is reversed.
  • In some countries there has been use of watermarking for medical photographs when used as part of insurance claims. This is due to issues of claimants manipulating photographs so they can be used as evidence during a claim.
  • The British Library have put effort into monitoring reuse of their images. Peter Balman has tracked the 1 million Flickr images and gauging their impact using various techniques for the ‘Visibility’ project funded by the Technology Strategy Board. Methods include Googling using image search, using TinEye reverse image search, looking at the taxonomy of website using dmoz, searching for information on the domain the images are on using, detecting the language using Alchemy language API, Dbpedia for more info about the URL.
  • In late 2014 Yahoo (owners of Flickr) sold canvas prints of photos licenced openly. These photos were under CC-BY allowing for commercial use of the images however it became clear that many photographers didn’t understand the implications of the licence they were using. The situation provided an opportunity for further discussion and education but actually caused a media panic. Note that Flickr capture a lot of data when images are uploaded however much of this data is stripped out and stored internally (so users can’t access it).

Discussions also surfaced some interesting tools including: which provides a way to search that collection by a perceptual hash, which matches an image even if it’s been moved away from Commons, resized, and had its format changed. Culture Cam is a web cam based similarity search tool with the aim of stimulating creative people to access and reuse Europeana content in a fun and playful way.

Free resources from Ruth Gibson and Bruno Martelli exhibition shared at the ESpace IPR workshop, by Marieke Guy, CC0

Free resources from Ruth Gibson and Bruno Martelli exhibition shared at the ESpace IPR workshop, by Marieke Guy, CC0


The main conclusion from the break-outs was that there is a need for further clarity regarding IPR and privacy. Many users are unsure of the expectations of different situations and the ESpace Project has a role to play in sharing more explicit ‘rules’ and guidance related to sharing content (here social rules, ideas on boundaries and case-studies were seen to be useful). It was suggested that a tool that it might be pertinent for ESpace pilots or hackathons to develop is an app which shows what data is being collected when an image is uploaded or used.

The ESpace IPR workshop offered some really interesting talks and was a great networking event. As Charlotte Waelde, Professor of Intellectual Property Law at University Of Exeter and Rights management lead for the ESpace Project, finished the day by saying – it had allowed project partners and others outside of the project to consider the tensions the monetisation of Cultural Heritage content is likely to surface and to begin to develop contingency plans for dealing with such challenges.

Open Knowledge is a consultant on the Europeana Space project supporting activities related to open licensing.

eu_logo-150x120Europeana Space has received funding from the European Union’s ICT Policy Support Programme as part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme, under GA n° 621037.


Open Licensing: What Is It, Why Do It?

Lieke Ploeger - March 6, 2015 in Featured


On 5 March 2015, the AAM’s Media & Technology Professional Network and the New Media Consortium organised a webinar on open licensing for GLAMs (galleries, libraries, archives, museums). A panel of experts (including Michael Edson and Sarah Stierch from our OpenGLAM Advisory Board and Working Group respectively) discussed different ways for galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAMs) of all sizes to openly license their collections, as well as the potential benefits and challenges for implementing open licensing.

For those who missed the session, the full recording is included below. You can also find a summary by Amelia Wong on Storify, and a useful Resources list with more background information on this page. Thanks to all who participated in providing this great session!

First Swiss Open Cultural Data Hackathon

Beat Estermann - March 4, 2015 in Featured, Hack days

The First Swiss Open Cultural Data Hackathon which took place on 27 / 28 February 2015 at the Swiss National Library in Bern was a great success: Some 100 software developers, artists, designers, researchers, Wikipedians and members of the heritage sector gathered to re-use more than 30 open data sets. The data and content provided by over 20 different institutions was re-used in a wide range of fields: for research purposes in the Digital Humanities and related areas, for the transmission of free knowledge in the context of Wikipedia/Wikimedia, for a variety of web-apps, and for artistic remixes. The hackathon was also an excellent means for heritage institutions to enter into dialogue with software developers, researchers, Wikipedians, and to put cultural data and digitized collections to wider use. And, last but not least, the hackathon was about sharing know-how, insights, software code, and techniques in an open-minded and playful environment among participants of varying backgrounds.

CH-NB-Swiss Open Cultural Hackathon 2015-Picture-031

The artefacts developed during the hackathon have been documented on the hackathon wiki; here some examples:

"Picture This"

Carl Durheim’s police photographs of stateless persons from the mid-19th century inspired several projects. One of them is “Picture This”, which consists of a “smart” frame showing a police photograph. By looking at the picture, spectators trigger a face detection algorithm that analyses both the onlooker and the stateless person’s gender and age as well as the mood of the person on the portrait. Information about the person on the photograph appears. Thus, spectators become part of the system judging the homeless person, and the person on the picture is once again at the mercy of the onlooker.

The Project “Schweizer Kleinmeister – An Unexpected Journey” shows a large image collection in an interactive 3D-visualisation: Some 2300 prints and drawings by the so-called “Schweizer Kleinmeister” (Swiss 18th century masters) from the Gugelmann Collection of the Swiss National Library form a cloud in the virtual space. The images are grouped according to specific parameters that are automatically calculated by image analysis and based on metadata. The goal is to provide a fast and intuitive access to the entire collection. Based on the criterion of analysis chosen (e.g. techniques or image features) the images are projected onto 3D space, where they can be explored.

There are many other things you may want to explore:

This blog was cross-posted from the Swiss OpenGLAM  local group website, OpenGLAM.CH

OpenGLAM-related events: March/April highlights

Lieke Ploeger - March 2, 2015 in Events/Workshops, Featured

On the OpenGLAM homepage, we maintain a calendar of events to notify everyone in our network of relevant events related to opening up cultural heritage. This post highlights events taking place in March and April: if you know of an event that should be in our calendar, please notify us by adding it here!


5 March: Webinar Open Licensing: What Is It, Why Do It? (online)

In this free one-hour webinar, a panel of experts will host a roundtable discussion on the different ways for galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAMs) of all sizes to openly license their collections, as well as the potential benefits and challenges for implementing open licensing. Digital strategist Michael Edson of the Smithsonian Institution and OpenGLAM Advisory Board member will moderate the discussion: OpenGLAM working group member Sarah Stierch is on the expert panel as well. More information and registration is poossible through this page.

9 March: Early English Books Hackfest (Oxford, UK)

Following the release of 25,000 texts from the Early English Books Online project into the public domain (read more), the Bodleian Libraries are hosting a hackday around this impressive text corpus. Students, researchers from all disciplines, and members of the public with an interest in the intersection between technology, history and literature are invited to work together to develop a project using the texts and the data they may generate. The EEBO-TCP corpus consist of over two million pages and nearly a billion words from the period 1473-1700, with texts across all academic disciplines, including literature, history, philosophy, linguistics, theology, music, fine arts, education, mathematics and science. More information on the event is available here.


10-12 April: GLAM-WIKI 2015 (The Hague, The Netherlands)

GLAM WIKI 2015 is a conference about projects by Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAMs) in collaboration with Wikimedia projects and/or that have another open knowledge component. Professionals and volunteers are very welcome. The goals of the conference are:

  1. To share lessons learned and best practices on this subject.
  2. To inspire and motivate participants to join existing or to start up new projects that support the mission of the Wikimedia movement.
  3. To increase awareness of the importance of freely accessible cultural heritage and to put currently available content in the spotlight.

An overview of all submitted proposal to the event is available here: submissions include an update from the OpenGLAM Benchmark Survey (link), a talk on How to Guerilla GLAM by OpenGLAM Working Group member Subhashish Panigrahi (link) and a case study on how a mid-size institution can benefit from opening their collection by OpenGLAM working group coordinator Joris Pekel (link).


17-18 April: DPLAFest 2015 (Indianapolis, USA)

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) brings together digitized cultural heritage materials from American libraries, archives, and museums, and makes these available as freely and openly as possible. To mark the second birthday of DPLA, the DPLAfest 2015 invites  teachers and students, librarians, archivists, museum professionals, developers and technologists, publishers and authors, genealogists, and members of the public to discuss everything from technology and development, to (e)books, law, genealogy, and education. The event will be a mix of interactive workshops, hands-on activities, hackathons, discussions with community leaders and practitioners, and more: registration is possible through the DPLA website.

26-29 April: 2015 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo (Atlanta, USA)

The theme of this year’s American Alliance of Museums annual meeting is ‘The Social Value of Museums: Inspiring Change’, inviting participants to consider how museums can embody their increased social value and engagement through their educational mission, their programs and collections, their community presence and their public service. In addition, during this event the winners of the MUSE awards, the annual competition recognizing outstanding achievement in Galleries, Libraries, Archives or Museums (GLAM) will be presented, featuring a dedicated Open category for projects using open data and content.

This is just a selection of events: you can find our complete calendar of events on the OpenGLAM homepage!

Rijksstudio Award 2015

Lieke Ploeger - February 25, 2015 in Contest, Featured

The Dutch Rijksmuseum is one of the pioneers when it comes to sharing open cultural heritage data online. Since 2011, they have been releasing high-quality images of the artworks in their collection (including famous paintings by Rembrandt and Vermeer) through Rijksstudio: currently there are 200.000 works available that users can share, download and reuse to make their own artworks.

Following a successful competiton last year, the Rijksmuseum is now organising the second round of the Rijksstudio Award Make your own Masterpiece, inviting everyone to create a design using Rijksstudio. Every form of art is allowed – design, fine art, applied art, photography, video – and the ten winners will be exhibited in the Rijksmuseum. The deadline for entries is 15 March 2015: more information is available from this page.

If you are looking for inspiration to enter the competition, check out the video below or the winners of last year’s round!

Rijksstudio Award 2015 – Make your own Masterpiece from Rijksmuseum on Vimeo.

UN recommends open licensing for promoting cultural participation

Lieke Ploeger - February 19, 2015 in Featured, News

220px-UN_emblem_blue.svgIn a recent United Nations report ‘Copyright policy and the right to science and culture’, the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Farida Shaheed, encourages the use of open licenses for the promotion of cultural and scientific participation. The report discusses copyright law and policy in relation to the human right to science and culture and was written following a round of expert meetings and consultations with stakeholders.

In the section on Copyright policy and cultural participation, the Special Rapporteur proposes to expand copyright exceptions and limitations (also on an international scale) and, most importantly for OpenGLAM, stresses the importance of open licensing as an essential copyright tool for expanding cultural participation and building a ‘cultural commons’ in which everyone can access, share and recombine cultural works. From the conclusion:

The human rights perspective focuses attention on important themes that may be lost when copyright is treated primarily in terms of trade: the social function and human dimension of intellectual property, the public interests at stake, the importance of transparency and public participation in policymaking, the need to design copyright rules to genuinely benefit human authors, the importance of broad diffusion and cultural freedom, the importance of not-for-profit cultural production and innovation, and the special consideration for the impact of copyright law upon marginalised or vulnerable groups.

Some relevant passages around open licensing are marked in the image below (with thanks to @mpedson):


The report was sent to the Human Right Council as input for their session in March 2015: the full version is available here.