You are browsing the archive for News.

One year of DPLA

Lieke Ploeger - April 18, 2014 in Featured, News

DPLA_birthday_revised_small-e1397497153433

Since its launch last year, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) has been working hard on bringing together digitized cultural heritage materials from American libraries, archives, and museums, and making these available as freely and openly as possible.

Impressive progress has been made: today, at the celebration of its first birthday, the amount of content that is available through the DPLA portal has tripled in size to nearly 7 million items from over 1300 organisations. DPLA also announced that 6 major new partners have been added as content hubs (bringing the total amount to 15). These hubs are large content holders committed to providing, maintaining and editing over 200.000 unique metadata records to the DPLA portal.

Next to continually increasing the size of its collections, DPLA also recently partnered up with Europeana and Kennisland to work on creating and standardizing clear statements on the exact rights of digital objects. The working group responsible for this process aims to release its findings in the fall of 2014.

The full press release on DPLA’s first birthday is available from this page. Congratulations to DPLA on this great achievement, and on to a successful second year!

 

 

 

US National Gallery of Art releases 35k public domain images

Lieke Ploeger - April 15, 2014 in Featured, News, Public Domain

This week the US National Gallery of Art announced that over 35.000 images are currently available as public domain through their website, NGA images. Following the start of their Open Access policy in March 2012 (which you can read more about in this blog), the NGA has been adding more and more digital images of artworks in their collections, free for everyone to search, browse, share, and download and reuse to facilitate learning, enrichment, enjoyment, and exploration.

As a natural extension of their mission, the NGA believes that “increased access to high quality images of its works of art fuels knowledge, scholarship, and innovation, inspiring uses that continually transform the way we see and understand the world of art” – a statement OpenGLAM definitely supports. This resource has now also been added to our overview of Open Collections.

John Constable (British, 1776 - 1837 ), Wivenhoe Park, Essex, 1816, oil on canvas, Widener Collection

John Constable (British, 1776 – 1837 ), Wivenhoe Park, Essex, 1816, oil on canvas, Widener Collection

Finnish Museum of Photography joins Flickr Commons

Lieke Ploeger - April 10, 2014 in Featured, News

Today the  Finnish Museum of Photography joined Flickr: The Commons, an online repository for openly licensed images, as a participating institution. The Finnish Museum of Photography is the national special museum for photography and houses diverse collections on photographic art, photographic culture, photojournalism, fashion shots, press photos and portraits, by both professionals and amateurs. The sets that have now been made available through Flickr Commons (under “no known copyright restrictions”) contain some of the oldest colour photographs called autochromes, historical photos of Finnish agriculture and more.

This release through Flickr Commons now also enables users to contribute their knowledge through comments and tags, making it accessible to millions of people around the world. The full press release is available here - more information on Flickr Commons and a list of all participating institutions can be found on this page.

flickrcommons

 

Europeana Labs Beta Site launched

Lieke Ploeger - April 2, 2014 in Featured, News

Europeana, the online portal to Europe’s digital cultural heritage, has just launched the Europeana Labs Beta Site, labs.europeana.eu. europeana_labsThrough this site, Europeana provides access to their data (over 30 million metadata records linking to millions of openly licensed media objects) and all the information you need to get started with the Europeana APIs, which allow you to search and retrieve this data for use in your own applications. The site also gives inspiring examples of applications that have been created by using these resources, as well as news on future events and hackathons around this dataset.

This beta version of the site was created based on the feedback that was received during consultation with the developer community – the full version of Europeana Labs is planned for late June.

europeanalabs2

German Digital Library launches full version

Lieke Ploeger - April 1, 2014 in Events/Workshops, Featured, News

On 31 March 2014 the German Digital Library (Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek – DDB) launched its first full version at the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin. The DDB portal gives free access to German cultural and scientific heritage: around 8 million digital objects, including books, images, sculptures, archived items, pieces of music and other audio documents, films and scores. The DDB also takes care of delivering this data to Europeana as the national aggregator for Germany. Over 2000 German institutions are now registered with the DDB network.

From left to right: Brunhild Kurth, Vice-President of the Kultusministerkonferenz and the Saxon State Minister for Culture, Frank Frischmuth, Managing Director of the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek, Monika Grütters, State Minister for Culture and the Media, Hermann Parzinger, President of the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz and Executive Board Spokesman of Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek, Jill Cousins, Executive Director of the Europeana Foundation (© Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek,( Foto: Reynaldo Paganelli)

From left to right: Brunhild Kurth, Vice-President of the Kultusministerkonferenz and the Saxon State Minister for Culture, Frank Frischmuth, Managing Director of the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek, Monika Grütters, State Minister for Culture and the Media, Hermann Parzinger, President of the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz and Executive Board Spokesman of Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek, Jill Cousins, Executive Director of the Europeana Foundation (Photo: Reynaldo Paganelli)

Following the launch of the beta version of the DDB portal in 2012, this full version has been extended with enhanced user functionalities, such as improved search and navigation, the ability to create personalised lists of search results (Meine DDB) and increased semantic connections and cross-references between items, making it a valuable source of information.

DDB launch event, 31 March (Photo by: Rainaldo Paganelli)

DDB launch event, 31 March (Photo by: Rainaldo Paganelli)

The DDB portal does not have any access restrictions: however, since the objects are not located in the DDB itself, but in the respective institutions, these remain responsible for any copyright restrictions. The DDB is working on introducing a licensing model that allows participating institutions to select a specific license, so that in the future all material will have a clear notice stating the conditions of use or will be tagged with a Creative Commons license.

Last November, the DDB released their API to the public, making it possible for users to reuse content (licensed with CC0 metadata) on other platforms, create combinations with other data or build applications on top of it. Later this month, the DDB API will be used in the Coding Da Vinci hackathon for open cultural data (organised in cooperation with Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland, Wikimedia Deutschland and digiS – Service Center Digitization Berlin).

codingdavinciThe complete press release is available on this page: you can also watch the video footage and see pictures of the launch event here.

NYPL releases 20.000 historical maps as public domain

Lieke Ploeger - March 31, 2014 in Featured, News, Public Domain

The New York Public Library has just released a great set of over 20.000 historical maps, in high-resolution, under a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain license. This means that anyone can download them for free and reuse them in any way they want. The collection contains maps from the 16th to 19th century, mainly from the United States and New York of course, but also from other countries.

Map of Coney Island, New York, from Atlas of the entire city of Brooklyn, complete in one volume. From actual surveys and official records by G. W. Bromley & Co. 1880

Map of Coney Island, New York, from Atlas of the entire city of Brooklyn, complete in one volume. From actual surveys and official records by G. W. Bromley & Co. 1880

The maps can be viewed through the New York Public Library’s Digital Collections page. Through this website, NYPL also offers the Map Warper, an open source tool which digitally aligns historical maps with current maps (see their tutorial video below).

You can find more information about the maps in this press release: the collection has also been added to our overview of Open Collections. NYPL looks forward to seeing these maps in works of art, historical publications, movies, archaeological reports, novels, environmental remediation efforts, urban planning studies and more – all of which is now greatly facilitated by choosing this type of open licensing.

UPDATE: Also, check out The Public Domain Review‘s highlights from the collection, focusing on images of New York City. They’ve also turned one of them into a giant poster!

 

Valuable manuscripts of Frankfurt University Library online

Marko Knepper - March 27, 2014 in Featured, News, Public Domain

Illuminated page from the Paris Bible. At the beginning of the book of Genesis seven separate scenes sre presented, the seven days of creation.

Illuminated page from the Paris Bible. At the beginning of the book of Genesis seven separate scenes are presented, the seven days of creation.

The University Library in Frankfurt am Main holds an important manuscript collection, containing specimens that are unique in the world. Up until now, scientists had to take long journeys across continents to be able to see the unique items. In February 2011 the University Library started a project to digitise their collection of over 2.800 manuscripts, making it possible for anyone to scroll through these manuscripts online from anywhere in the world – without touching the fragile originals.

For the volumes, which can be up to 1200 years old, gentle handling is necessary during the scanning process. That is why a special scanner was purchased, in which the books are opened only up to an angle of 110°, and both sides are scanned simultaneously in a high resolution and true color with gentle light. The special difficulty of the project lies in the fact that on the one hand the careful handling has priority, but on the other hand we want to make the collection available online within a few years. At the moment, 350.000 pages have been scanned, with amounts to a total of 17 terabytes that will be permanently archived.

The origins of the Frankfurt manuscript collection date back to 1484, when the library was founded. In time, valuable additions were made through donations, bequests and purchases. The largest increase, however, took place at the beginning of the 19th Century, when the Frankfurt monastic libraries released their books to the University Library in a period of growing secularization.

Page from the Divine Comedy. In the initial and on the lower border Dante is depicted. Below he looks at his early love Beatrice.

Page from the Divine Comedy. In the initial and on the lower border Dante is depicted. Below he looks at his early love Beatrice.

The 1000th manuscript that was scanned is “The Divine Comedy”, by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri, written in Northern Italy in the 14th century. It is one of about 600 manuscripts that deliver this famous work to posterity. “The Frankfurt manuscript was donated in 1834 by Milan-based trading merchant Heinrich Mylius, a native of Frankfurt, to the public library of his home town,” explains Dr. Bernhard Tönnies, head of the manuscript collection. Now it can be admired online as well as used scientifically.

Production of nitric, representation from the book of weapons and fireworks of the city of Frankfurt.

Production of nitric, representation from the book of weapons and fireworks of the city of Frankfurt.

Other pieces that have already been scanned include a 13th century Parisian Bible from the Cistercian Abbey of Eberbach and the “Rüst- und Feuerwerksbuch” (“Book of weapons and fireworks”) of the city of Frankfurt, which was purchased in 1500 for the library.

The detailed descriptions of the manuscripts (previously only available in the printed catalogues) have also been scanned and linked with the objects. I am happy to remark that the manuscripts and their metadata are all presented as public domain. The complete digital collection is accessible at the URL: http://sammlungen.ub.uni-frankfurt.de/msinc

The University Library of Frankfurt am Main is one of the Associated Partners in the DM2E project consortium.

Over 1 million Spanish newspaper pages labeled as public domain

Lieke Ploeger - March 26, 2014 in Featured, News, Public Domain

Yesterday Europeana, the online portal to Europe’s digital cultural heritage, announced the great news that over 1 million historical Spanish newspaper pages have been labelled as public domain. These newspapers were digitised and made available as part of the Virtual Library of Historical Newspapers project, and were added to Europeana by Hispana, a service which brings together the digital collections of Spanish GLAMs and delivers these to Europeana.

hispana_cabecera2

Since this material originates from as far back as the late 18th century and was digitised with public funding, it is clear that it belongs in the public domain. This type of open availability greatly enhances the possibilities to access and re-use the material. To see the newspapers in the Europeana portal, click here.

Europeana is currently dedicating further efforts to improving the quality and presence of rights statements of digital objects included in their portal. They aim to have a valid rights statement for all objects in July 2014 – more details on this process are available here. We look forward to welcoming more material into the public domain in the near future!

Hispana1

Spanish newspaper image, Europeana (PD)

 

Liberate the newspapers! An update on the Europeana Newspapers project

Lieke Ploeger - March 11, 2014 in Featured, News

europeana_newspapers_logo

Newspapers are one of the most sought-after sources of cultural heritage material available, since they contain a wealth of information ranging from international news events to local and family announcements. In the Europeana Newspapers project, partners from all over Europe have been working together on adding an impressive amount of newspaper content (18 million digitised newspaper pages and over 30 million records related to newspaper titles) to Europeana and The European Library. Since this is historical newspaper content from before 1940, nearly all of the material (and all of the metadata associated with it) is available as public domain, apart from a small amount of 20th century material which still falls under copyright.

An important part of the project focuses on boosting the potential use of this historical newspaper material for future research by improving the searchability of the content. When newspaper material is scanned, the first result is a simple image of the newspaper page. To enable valuable features for research (such as searching for specific articles or finding names of people) an additional refinement process is needed, in which the page is divided into sections, converted to full-text through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and certain content, such as names of people or locations, is classified through Named Entity Recognition (NER).

A newspaper separated into articles through techniques such as Optical Layout Recognition (OLR)

A newspaper separated into articles through techniques such as Optical Layout Recognition (OLR)

Europeana Newspapers will deliver such full-text material for 10 million newspaper pages from various libraries throughout Europe through a new content browser of The European Library. The prototype of this was released in early 2014: a beta version with improved functionality will be released later this year. Unfortunately it is not easy to transform these historic newspapers from a scanned image into 100% correct text: newspapers were often printed in unusual fonts, on bad quality paper or were damaged in various ways throughout the years, all of which makes it more difficult for the OCR software to recognise the text correctly. In the future, The European Library hopes to give users the ability to submit corrections to the OCR text. An overview of the newspaper content that is currently available is here; more material will be added throughout 2014.

search-historic-newspapers-jpg

With so many different libraries and such a large amount of content involved, there have been a number of discussions around how to best provide access to the material: whether to expose the full-text with OCR errors to the user, how to deal with the different image and metadata formats and how to solve the sheer challenge of storing these often huge files (a master file of a newspaper image ranges between 10-50 Mb – more about the solution to this problem in this blog). The project now expects to deliver the full-text content without any copyright restrictions, which is great news for OpenGLAM.

The ability to freely use this valuable data will open up a wealth of possibilities for future research in areas such as text mining, information retrieval and language technology. Users will be able to search through the entire collection by keyword and are able to compare newspaper coverage on a specific historic event from different European countries. The project has been running a great series of blogs interviewing researchers about their work with historic newspapers, giving a first idea of the value this material has for a wide variety of research topics, such as how job ads provide information on the careers of men and women in the 19th and 20th centuries or how jokes and slang moved between America and Britain in the 1800s.

The availability of such a large corpus of digital newspaper content from libraries throughout Europe is a great step forwards. It is however only a fraction of the total material available, the majority of which is not even digitised yet: a 2012 survey held by the project found that only 26% of libraries had digitised more than 10% of their collection. An interesting paper on this, with the title Representation and Absence in Digital Resources: The Case of Europeana Newspapers will be presented at the next Digital Humanities (DH2014) conference in July.

If you want to find out more about the results of the project you can join the final event ‘Newspapers in Europe and the Digital Agenda for Europe’ at The British Library on 29-30 September 2014. This event is specifically aimed at policy makers and cultural heritage professionals and has a mission that OpenGLAM definitely supports: Liberate the newspapers!

OpenGLAM structure and Working Group

Joris Pekel - February 27, 2014 in Featured, Front Page, News, Working Group

The OpenGLAM initiative has been around now for more than two years. In this period we have advocated for more open data in the cultural heritage sector in a variety of ways. In this blog post I want to give you an overview of the structure of OpenGLAM and of our different activities we organise with the network.

openglam logo

OpenGLAM was set up as an initiative of the Open Knowledge Foundation. The aim of the initiative was to bring together people from a variety of different organisations, institutions and networks that share a similar set of principles and aims. We therefore work together with representatives from the Wikimedia Foundation, Creative Commons, the Internet Archive, people working at museums and libraries, open data advocates and much more.

The public side of OpenGLAM mainly lives on our blog and Twitter account. More in depth discussions are taking place on the public Mailing List. On the website we try to provide as much information as possible around the topic of open data in the cultural sector by showing best practices of open institutions in the Open Collections sections, explain what it means to be an ‘Open GLAM’ with the OpenGLAM Principles and provide Documentation for further reading.

Besides this more public side, we also have an Advisory Board with high profile thinkers in the open cultural heritage domain. They help us decide on our course and address important issues such as the recent discussion about adding open Creative Commons licenses to Public Domain material.

Finally we have a Working Group which consists out of active volunteers from a variety of domains. The Working Group has become the core of the OpenGLAM initiative and meets virtually on a monthly basis to discuss relevant topics, share news and updates and take actions that benefit the adoption of open data in the cultural sector. This has for example resulted in two successful cultural heritage topic streams at the annual conferences organised by the Open Knowledge Foundation, active discussions with a variety of cultural institutions on why and how to open up their data, and recently the OpenGLAM benchmark survey was started that aims to get more data about the adoption of open data principles in the heritage sector around the world.

The Working Group has established itself in several local Open Knowledge Foundation local groups, as well as OpenGLAM ambassadors to serve as the local point of contact in their area. The full list of local groups and ambassadors can be found here. All our meeting notes are made available to the public so if you want to get an idea abut what is being discussed have a look here.

We always invite new people to join the Working Group and help spread the word. Don’t worry if you are new to the field, we gladly bring you up to speed. More information about joining the OpenGLAM working group can be found in this document. If you want more information about the OpenGLAM initiative, the Working Group, or join us, please get in touch!