Trove in trouble: why does it cost money to keep the resource online?

“The online database Trove may go offline in the middle of the year without additional funding.

Trove, which is owned and operated by the National Library of Australia (NLA), is a free resource which provides access to billions of digital documents, images, media and records of physical documents. It also contains millions of digitised Australian newspaper pages and issues.

Trove receives around 22 million hits per year, and is widely used by both academic researchers and members of the public.

So what does it cost to run an archive like it?…

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the NLA requires $7-$10 million per year to keep Trove running in its current form….”

Surprise machines | John Benjamins

“Although “the humanities so far has focused on literary texts, historical text records, and spatial data,” as stated by Lev Manovich in Cultural Analytics (Manovich, 2020, p.?10), the recent advancements in artificial intelligence are driving more attention to other media. For example, disciplines such as digital humanities now embrace more diverse types of corpora (Champion, 2016). Yet this shift of attention is also visible in museums, which recently took a step forward by establishing the field of experimental museology (Kenderdine et al., 2021).

This article illustrates the visualization of an extensive image collection through digital means. Following a growing interest in the digital mapping of images – proved by the various scientific articles published on the subject (Bludau et al., 2021; Crockett, 2019; Seguin, 2018), Ph.D. theses (Kräutli, 2016; Vane, 2019), software (American Museum of Natural History, 2020/2022; Diagne et al., 2018; Pietsch, 2018/2022), and presentations (Benedetti, 2022; Klinke, 2021) – this text describes an interdisciplinary experiment at the intersection of information design, experimental museology, and cultural analytics.

Surprise Machines is a data visualization that maps more than 200,000 digital images of the Harvard Art Museums (HAM) and a digital installation for museum visitors to understand the collection’s vastness. Part of a temporary exhibition organized by metaLAB (at) Harvard and entitled Curatorial A(i)gents, Surprise Machines is enriched by a choreographic interface that allows visitors to interact with the visualization through a camera capturing body gestures. The project is unique for its interdisciplinarity, looking at the prestigious collection of Harvard University through cutting-edge techniques of AI….”

Public Art Archive

“The Public Art Archive (PAA) is a free, continually growing, online and mobile database of completed public artworks throughout the U.S. and abroad. By uniting records from public art organizations and artists into one comprehensive resource, PAA aims to provide universal access to the complex stories that characterize public artworks not as static objects, but as dynamic, interconnected keepers of history, context and meaning. PAA’s mission “to make public art more public” has guided the program’s continued growth into one of the largest active databases of public art….”

Public Art Archive Launches New Website to Make Public Art Available for All

“The Public Art Archive™ (PAA) announces the launch of an expansive new website designed by digital agency Bilberrry. A project of the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF), a US Regional Arts Organization, the PAA is a singular platform for connecting with public art in any community. The site, publicartarchive.org, includes a public art documentation database with interactive maps, bringing thousands of public artworks to visitors across the country and beyond. The newly redesigned website increases accessibility and user-friendliness within the resource built to discover the history, context, and meaning behind each work.

As general interest in public art has expanded, the site’s user experience needed to evolve from a platform designed as a visual library database —where users often know what they’re looking for prior to visiting the site — to a site that feels welcoming to the general public. The new platform is entirely device-responsive, allowing users to explore collections from desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. Through intuitive search filters, grid-view map results, and premium exhibition spotlights, users can now navigate the site with an optimized visual experience. Artwork record pages have also been revamped to enhance the way media, video, audio, and PDFs are displayed, including exclusive access to artworks not on view….”

Access to the Index of Medieval Art Database Will Become Free on July 1, 2023

“We are very pleased to announce that as of July 1, 2023, a paid subscription will no longer be required for access to the Index of Medieval Art database. This transition was made possible by a generous grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the support of the Index’s parent department of Art & Archaeology at Princeton University….”

Giving students everywhere up-close access to a world of art – Harvard Gazette

“Since its inception, the database of cultural heritage images available for free online with IIIF capability has continued to grow. In 2022, the IIIF community estimated that between all their participating cultural heritage institutions, they’ve made available more than 1 billion items available.

“With IIIF, we’re investing in the cultural heritage image community,” Snydman said. “Our goal is global, universal, as open as possible. It’s not just about Harvard’s images; it’s about enabling students and faculty to interact in the very same way with images at Oxford, the Library of Congress, or the Vatican that they do with images held at Harvard. The code word for this is interoperability.”

Of the 1 billion IIIF-compatible items, about 6 million are held in Harvard’s library collections. Everything from 500-year-old maps to modern photographs are viewable in high resolution by anyone with an internet connection. Emily Dickinson’s pencil strokes can be magnified and examined, and Persian manuscripts like the one studied by Kim’s class can be compared with illustrations from the same region and period held at the Library of Congress….

“The fact that IIIF has been able to become a universal standard, and that it’s all open-source — that has exciting implications for democratized learning,” said Snydman. “Students and scholars of all ages have the opportunity to learn with images — not just in a physical classroom or library, not just during certain hours, and not just on Harvard’s campus. This is a great example of how technology can be used to minimize inequalities in education and give open access to knowledge.” …”

DPLA to make cultural treasures freely available on Wikipedia with new Sloan Foundation support | DPLA

“A $750,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to the Digital Public Library of America will fuel a multi-year effort to connect America’s cultural heritage institutions with Wikipedia, the world’s free online encyclopedia. This grant will offer an opportunity to make millions of cultural treasures from hundreds of American libraries, archives, and museums freely available online, including Renaissance manuscripts from Philadelphia’s Science History Institute; historic photos of the Pacific Northwest from Seattle Public Library; and portraits of 18th-century actors from the University of Illinois….”

CFP: Digital Heritage: Museum Data, Digitization and Digital Infrastructure ? dh+lib

“Digital Humanities scholar and digital heritage practitioner, Dr. Anne Luther (Digital Benin), is proposing a book project with Routledge and seeks proposals for book chapters that address the following:

History of Digitization in Museum: history of cataloging, history of digitization and computers in museums, today’s practices.

Digital Infrastructure: foundational texts that build an overview on internal and public infrastructure (who is interacting with data in museums [practitioners], what are data in museums [standards, vocabularies, thesaurus, data structures], what are databases [differences, uses, technical possibilities, use] how do museums publish data online [infrastructure, standardization, LOI, Wiki, online catalogues etc.], what are differences between internal data use and online publication [technical, social, monetary].

Ownership: copyright, access, authorship and the digital divide

Practice and Education: case studies in- and outside the museum

Impact and Change: case studies on restitution, accessibility and change in museum policies, practices, authorship and ownership

Short proposals of 500 words can be submitted until 31 January 2023 to contact[at]anneluther.info.”

Effie Frances Kapsalis’s Obituary

“Internationally recognized as an expert in open knowledge systems and equitable access, Effie began her career during the web boom in the nineties. In 2005 she found her niche doing digital work for museums. A passion for inclusiveness and outreach drove her work at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., where she was a longtime employee.

Effie led the efforts to develop the Smithsonian’s Open Access Initiative, which put millions of images from the collection into the public domain. She was a significant collaborator on the One Smithsonian digital strategy, and was one of the institution’s greatest collaborators, bringing together partners from the Smithsonian museums and museums around the world….”

Vienna’s Albertina Museum goes open access | Europeana Pro

“In summer 2022, Vienna’s Albertina Museum put thousands of its digitised images into the public domain, many of which are available through the Europeana website. Douglas McCarthy interviews Martina Pichler to learn about the new open access policy and its benefits….”

 

EU Public repository of Public Domain and openly licensed works

“It will be essential to easily identify works which are not protected by copyright anymore (public domain works) or which can be used freely under open licences. This can be achieved by developing databases that can allow the identification and reference of Public Domain and openly licensed works. Such databases could have an added value by increasing opportunities for the re-use of public domain cultural heritage beyond the scope of Article 17, by making those works and their public domain status more readily available….

This Pilot Project would consist in a feasibility study, to confirm that there is an actual market failure and to confirm the risk of over-blocking such public domain works, as well as to determine the technical needs, including from platforms, and ensure the buy-in from stakeholders. The project would also develop a prototype database that could be used, referenced and augmented by platforms, content providers, institutions of the GLAM sector (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) or other non-forprofit organisations working with public domain or freely licensed content. Such public repositories of freely reusable works could help to unlock the societal value of these works, and thereby truly enable access to and promotion of culture, and the access to cultural heritage….”

Venkat Srinivasan: We need to push ahead for efforts in nurturing archives

“In 2009-2010, I was actively thinking about and doing scientific work during the day, conducting interviews after hours and over lunch, and doing my own writing over evenings and weekends. In hindsight, it was a formative period for me and led me to thinking critically about the form and content of archives going forward. I started to develop some basic ideas for the structure of an archive with interconnections to oral history interviews, publicly accessible information, and some methods to democratise description of historical objects. Of course, these are ideas that see parallels across generations, and one is merely building on others’ work. Again, I had luck on my side and was able to connect with the oral historian and archivist, Indira Chowdhury, in ~2012 and she was the one who very kindly connected me to NCBS, where I am now based. I was new to archiving then, and found the archiving community to be extraordinarily welcoming. I am so grateful that archivists from across the world shared ideas and material and really trained me in the past decade….”

The State of Wikidata and Cultural Heritage: 10 Years In | Wiki Education

Wiki Education is hosting webinars all of October to celebrate Wikidata’s 10th birthday. Below is a summary of our first event. Watch Tuesday’s webinar in full on our Youtube. Sign up for our next three events here.

Never before has the world had a tool like Wikidata. The semantic database behind Wikipedia and virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa is only ten years old this month, and yet with almost 1 billion unique items, it’s the biggest open database ever. Wiki Education’s “Wikidata Will” Kent gathered key players in the Wikidataverse to reflect on the last ten years and set our sights on the next ten. Kelly Doyle, the Open Knowledge Coordinator for the Smithsonian Institution; Andrew Lih, Wikimedian at Large with Smithsonian Institution and Wikimedia strategist with the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Lane Rasberry, Wikimedian in Residence at University of Virginia’s Data Science Institute discussed the “little database that could” (not so little anymore!).

[…]

 

Open and Engaged 2022: Climate research in GLAM, digital infrastructure and skills to open collections – Digital scholarship blog

“As part of International Open Access Week, the British Library is delighted to host its annual Open and Engaged event online on 24 October, Monday from 13:00 to 16:30 BST.

Since 2018 the British Library has organised the Open and Engaged Conference to coincide with International Open Access Week.

In line with this year’s #OAWeek theme: Open for Climate Justice; Open and Engaged will address intersections between cultural heritage and climate research through use of collections, digital infrastructures and skills.

A range of speakers from cultural heritage and higher education institutions will answer these questions to shed a light on the theme:

What is the role of library collections, historical datasets to understand the impact of climate change?
How to use digital infrastructure for more equitable knowledge sharing?
What roles and skills are needed to make research from heritage organisations openly available?…”