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Hacking, designing and tinkering open cultural heritage in Finland

Sanna Marttila - March 3, 2016 in Contest, Events/Workshops, Featured, Finnish, Hack days

The Hack4FI – Hack Your Heritage hackathon was organized for the second time in the beginning of February 2016. Nearly 100 creative minds came together for an inspirational and creative weekend. Designers, artists, storytellers, software developers and cultural heritage experts were working with concepts ranging from ‘big dada’ to sauna culture, and all the way to viable business solutions!

image00More than 30 Finnish cultural heritage institutions had made open cultural data and content available for everyone to explore and appropriate (see the datasets here). The biggest release ever in Finland of open cultural content was done for the hackathon: the service released an open API that provides a way to perform searches and access metadata from nearly 9 million cultural objects and artefacts coming from Finnish cultural and memory institutions, as well as access over 200 000 openly licensed photographs.


“In my opinion opening collections is an important part of the mission of the publicly funded art and cultural institutions” Senior Planning Officer Sanna Hirvonen, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma

The hackathon weekend was organized around 10 different tracks that were facilitated by invited experts coming from different fields. These tracks included themes such as Digital Humanities, Art & Design, Digital Fabrication and Digital Storytelling. This year Hack4FI also partnered with the CreatiFI project, which organises Creative Ring Challenge Helsinki as a horizontal track where selected teams can win up to 50.000 euros to develop their idea further if the solution has business potential and you are using at least one of the offered FIWARE enablers.

“I took the Finnish Wartime photography archive terms-of-use clause: “you may not use the photographs to mislead people” as an invitation and inspiration to my Misleader project.” Artist, Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen


After the busy weekend of hacking, designing and cultural tinkering 20 teams presented their ideas, concepts and prototypes on Sunday evening. These presentations comprised a variety of innovative, creative and even a bit crazy concepts varying from tangible information visualization and 3D objects to flash mob experience for single people and ‘big dada’, to games and virtual museums. Most of the results of the hackathon were collected to the Hack4FI Hackdash, where one can also get a better overview of the concepts and follow their progress. (

The Hack4FI competition is on!

The hackathon was the kick off event for the Hack4FI – Hack your heritage 2016 competition that is looking for innovative solutions that creatively re-use open cultural data and show a potential in creating value for the society at large. The competition welcomes designs, artworks and services in various stages e.g. concepts, prototypes or working products.

During the competition period there will be events in the partner organisations, and workshops to support and facilitate the teams to excel in the competition! To find more about the offerings please visit

In addition to the participants of the Hack4FI – Hack your heritage! hackathon all creative minds all around the world can take part in the competition with their project. The only criterion is that the submitted works should make use of open cultural data or content with a Finnish or Nordic origin (see the competition’s datasets here). The competition will be open for submissions until March 31st, 2016 (see the submission guidelines here) and the winners will be announced and awarded in the final gala on April 13th, 2016 in Helsinki, Finland.

Did you miss the fun at Hack4FI – Hack your heritage hackathon? See the short video of the weekend below:

Hack4FI – Hack your heritage from Open Knowledge Finland on Vimeo.

Current open competitions

Lieke Ploeger - February 8, 2016 in Contest, eSpace, Featured

There’s a number of interesting competitions currently open for those that want to start up creative projects reusing cultural heritage material, or those that have already successfully done so. This blog highlights five competitions that are currently open (sorted by submission deadline): if you know of any others, feel free to mail them to us, or directly to our OpenGLAM mailinglist.

First Europeana Challenge 2016: deadline 29 February

Calling all creative thinkers! From now until 29 February, Europeana are asking you to submit your designs for fantastic products and services which make the most of Europe’s rich digital cultural heritage, on the topics of First World War, Art & Design and Europe’s Music Heritage. There’s a reward of up to €25,000 euros on offer to help you start to build your product or service. For more details see

AAM Muse Awards – Open Culture: deadline 1 March

Each year, the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) organises the Muse Awards to recognize inspiring and outstanding digital media projects in the Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM) sector. Institutions or independent producers who use digital media to enhance the GLAM experience and engage audiences are invited to apply, within various categories such as Applications and APIs, Mobile applications and Multimedia installations. Especially interesting for OpenGLAM is the award category ‘Open Culture’: this award can be submitted by anyone working with open culture materials in the GLAM environment. GLAMs of any size, discipline and country are eligible to submit: the deadline for submissions is 1 March 2016.  The winners for each category will be presented at the 2016 AAM Annual Meeting. More information on the awards and the submission process is available from the AAM website.

PHOTOMEDIATIONS: A call for creative works: deadline 30 March

The editors of Photomediations: An Open Book are working with Europeana Space to curate an exhibition (both online and physical), and are calling out to the photographic community to submit works for consideration. We are looking for still and/or moving image works that creatively reuse – in the form of mashups, collages, montages, tributes or pastiches – one or more original image files taken from the Europeana repository of cultural artefacts. Selected entries and up to 10 honourable mentions will be highlighted on the exhibition website and then shown in a real-life exhibition venue. The closing date for the submissions is 30 March 2016. All successful entries will be notified by the judges by the end of April 2016. More information is available from:

British Library Labs Competition: deadline 11 April

The annual Competition is looking for transformative project ideas which use the British Library’s digital collections and data in new and exciting ways. Two Labs Competition finalists will be selected to work ‘in residence’ with the BL Labs team between May and early November 2016, where they will get expert help, access to the Library’s resources and financial support to realise their projects. Winners will receive a first prize of £3000 and runners up £1000 courtesy of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation atthe Labs Symposium on 7th November 2016 at the British Library in London where they will showcase their work. The deadline for entering is midnight British Summer Time (BST) on 11th April 2016. For more information visit

British Library Labs Awards: deadline 5 September

The annual Awards, introduced in 2015, recognises outstanding and innovative work that has been carried out using the British Library’s digital collections and data. This year, they will be commending work in four key areas:

  • Research – A project or activity which shows the development of new knowledge, research methods, or tools.
  • Commercial – An activity that delivers or develops commercial value in the context of new products, tools, or services that build on, incorporate, or enhance the Library’s digital content.
  • Artistic – An artistic or creative endeavour which inspires, stimulates, amazes and provokes.
  • Teaching / Learning – Quality learning experiences created for learners of any age and ability that use the Library’s digital content.

A prize of £500 will be awarded to the winner and £100 for the runner up for each category at the Labs Symposium on 7th November 2016 at the British Library in London, courtesy of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The deadline for entering is midnight BST on 5th September 2016.  Read more:

Grammofonskiva, Vänersborgs museum,

Grammofonskiva, Vänersborgs museum (accessed through Europeana)

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).

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

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.

GIF IT UP winners

Thomasin Sleigh - December 15, 2014 in Contest, Featured, Public Domain

GIF IT UP Banner -- 3

Over the last six weeks DigitalNZ and the Digital Public Library of America have been all about the GIFs. GIF IT UP was an open competition to find the most excellent GIFs reusing openly licensed images and video from the collections searchable on the sites of the two digital libraries. Entries were received from all over the world and the winners were judged by Adam Green, Editor of the Public Domain Review and Brian Wolly, Digital Editor of the Smithsonian magazine.

Here are all the awesome winners from each of the seven categories.


Lillie Le Dorre, from Wellington, New Zealand, wins this category with her precocious typing dog. Source material courtesy Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga.


Darren Cole, from the United States, wins this category with his moving (and smoking!) monowheel patent. Source material courtesy the National Archives and Records Administration.



Richard Naples, from Washington DC, is awarded the winner for his elegantly fluttering butterflies. Source material courtesy Smithsonian Libraries via the Biodiversity Heritage Library.



Jason Varone’s mesmerising map overlay of Brooklyn wins this category. Source material courtesy the US Government Printing Office.



Ron Leunissen in the Netherlands takes this award away with this stereoscopic image of the Penna. Cavalry at Newport News, en route to Porto Rico during the 1898 Spanish-American War. Source material courtesy Boston Public Library.



The Othmer Library in Philadelphia wins this award with their wagging WWI enlistment dog. Source material courtesy the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources via the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.

Wagging dog


Nono Burling takes away the open category award for this romantically dancing couple, created from the photographs of Eadweard Muybridge. Source material courtesy University Southern California Libraries.



Jessica Pyburn’s beautiful snowflake GIF is the winner of the People’s Choice Award for the GIF with the most Tumblr ‘notes’, 381 in total. Source material courtesy Smithsonian Institute. More information about the original photographer, known as ‘Snowflake Bentley’, can be found on the Public Domain Review here.



Looking for the rest of the GIF IT UP submissions? Check out the competition gallery here.

MUSE Awards open for submissions

Lieke Ploeger - November 6, 2014 in Contest, Featured

Each year, the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) organises the Muse Awards to recognize inspiring and outstanding digital media projects in the Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM) sector. Institutions or independent producers who use digital media to enhance the GLAM experience and engage audiences are invited to apply, within various categories such as Applications and APIs, Mobile applications and Multimedia installations.


Especially interesting for OpenGLAM is the award category ‘Open’ (which was first added last year) that celebrates and showcases projects by or for GLAMs that have made use of open data and content. The following entries are accepted:

Entries are projects created by or for* GLAMS celebrating the ever growing bounty of innovative projects created in the open environment. Projects can include both front-end and back-end innovations. Projects must demonstrate how open data/content was used and the product created.

*By or For: This award can be submitted by anyone working with open data in the GLAM environment. We encourage anyone to submit projects that contribute to our larger mission to engage and education our community and to allow our repositories of global cultural heritage more to be more accessible and equitable for reuse.

GLAMs of any size, discipline and country are eligible to submit: the deadline for submissions is 23 February 2015 3 March 2015.  The winners for each category will be presented at the 2015 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo (26-29 April, Atlanta). More information on the awards and the submission process is available from the AAM website.


Thomasin Sleigh - October 13, 2014 in Contest, Featured, Public Domain

GIF IT UP Banner -- 3

Over the last months of 2014, the Digital Public Library of America and DigitalNZ are holding GIF IT UP, an international competition to find the best GIFs reusing public domain and openly licensed digital video, images, text, and other material available via the organisations’ search portals.

Credit: Cat Galloping (1887). The still images used in this GIF come from Eadweard Muybridge’s “Animal locomotion: an electro-photographic investigation of consecutive phases of animal movements” (1872-1885). Courtesy USC Digital Library, 2010. Item is in the public domain: GIF available under a CC-BY license.

Credit: Cat Galloping (1887). The still images used in this GIF come from Eadweard Muybridge’s “Animal locomotion: an electro-photographic investigation of consecutive phases of animal movements” (1872-1885). Courtesy USC Digital Library, 2010. Item is in the public domain: GIF available under a CC-BY license.

The GIF IT UP competition (13 October–1 December 2014) has six categories:

  1. Animals
  2. Planes, trains, and other transport
  3. Nature and the environment
  4. Your hometown, state, or province
  5. WWI, 1914–1918
  6. GIF using a stereoscopic image

GIF IT UP will be co-judged by Adam Green, Editor of the Public Domain Review and by Brian Wolly, Digital Editor of

Winners will have their work featured and celebrated online at the Public Domain Review and also on The gallery entries with the most amount of Tumblr “notes” will receive the People’s Choice Award and will appear online at the Public Domain Review and alongside the category winners.

All the details and guidelines can be found at both DigitalNZ and the DPLA (which includes the submission form) and eligible entries will be posted to the GIF IT UP Tumblr gallery.

Hack the Bells – The world’s first interdisciplinary open license contest celebrating the carillon!

Sarah Stierch - July 10, 2014 in Contest, Featured, Hack days

Image credit: Michael Pihulic (CC BY SA 4.0)

Image credit: Michael Pihulic (CC BY SA 4.0)

In this blog (cross-posted from her blog The Culture Feed) Sarah Stierch introduces the world’s first interdisciplinary open license contest celebrating the carillon: Hack the Bells, running from 1 July – 1 September.

An esteemed jury of cultural visionaries will be awarding $1,000 USD and the opportunity for the grand prize winner’s work to be exhibited and acquired by the University of California, Berkeley and the Anton Brees Carillon Library.

What makes this so groundbreaking?

One, it celebrates the peoples instrument – the carillon – a bell tower of epic proportions found in cities around the world, including the famous Campanile at the University of California’s Berkeley campus. Carillon’s ring out the time of the day on the hour, and at noon, concerts take place around the world, freely able to be heard (and felt) by anyone within the right distance, as carillonists perform original and classic works written specifically for the world’s largest instrument. (Learn more, here).

Second, all works submitted are freely licensed under Creative Common’s Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. These works will be legacy pieces – allowing others to find inspiration in their creations, the works to be forever attributed, and newly created works using the submitted works being published under the same free license forever. All compositions, recordings, and media we have provided are licensed under the same license by carillon composers & photographers. Creative freedom takes a bold stance here, and we are shouting from Sather Tower about it.

The above video features Tiffany Ng, my co-organizer, talking about carillon’s and performing.

Third, it’s interdisciplinary and international. Anyone can submit in any language and any type of creative and innovative work. The opportunities are endless: performance art, remixes, smartphone apps, paintings, poetry, short stories, video art, robots – anything! Get creative! We’re encouraging applicants to consider submissions related to: the 2014-15 Centennial of the Campanile, accessibility in the tradition of the campanile providing music for public space, and openness related to open culture and licensing.

Our jury comprises of awesome innovators. 

  • Jeff Davis – University Carillonist, University of California, Berkeley
  • Alex Freeman – Director of Special Projects, New Media Consortium
  • Lizzy Jongma – Data manager, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
  • Susan Miller – Program Manager, Consortium for Interdisciplinary Research, University of California, Berkeley
  • Greg Niemeyer – Professor of Art Practice, Director of the Berkeley Center for New Media, University of California, Berkeley

Learn more about who they are and what they do, here.

Thank you to our sponsors: Berkeley Center for New Media, Anton Brees Carillon Library, Meyer Sound, the Open Knowledge Foundation’s OpenGLAM initiative, The Guild of Carillonneurs in North America, and the Hargrove Music Library at UC Berkeley.

Submission: deadline September 1 2014 by 11:59 PST

Please visit the Hack The Bells website to learn more and submit your entries. (#hackthebells!)