One more way AI can help us harness one of the most underutilized datasets in the world

“Satellite data may be one of the most underutilized datasets in the world. 

At Planet alone, we have six years of documented history — which means we have over 2,000 images on average for every point on earth’s landmass. This dataset at high resolution never existed before Planet came along and created it. 

What this dataset means is that you can see a lot of change…if you know where to look. 

We’re pulling down 30TB of data daily (nearly 4 million images!) off of ~200 satellites, and it would be impossible for humans to look at, consume and derive insights from all of that manually. Some days, it can literally feel like the world’s largest hidden picture puzzle. 

That’s why we crucially need artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to detect and inform us about what’s in this imagery. Given the size of our archive, it’s a veritable playground for Planeteers and our partners to train AI and ML models and to build algorithms that can extract objects and patterns – to find newly-built roads, identify collapsed or raised buildings, monitor change in forests throughout time, or track surveillance balloons over oceans – all possible today….”

Call for Participation in a new Working Group on Image Sharing Practices in Cultural Heritage – CODATA, The Committee on Data for Science and Technology

“Are you a professional working in the Cultural Heritage sector, interested in exploring how your institution or research area could improve the findability, accessibility, interoperability and reusability of the digital images you collect and create? The DRI is opening a call for participation for a short-term Working Group, which will meet over a 5 month period from January to May 2023, to review and refine a set of recommendations for aligning practices across the Cultural Heritage sector with the FAIR principles for data sharing. The DRI is particularly keen to add members to the Working Group from currently underrepresented regions: South America, Australasia and Africa, though any interested parties should get in touch.

These recommendations are being produced as part of the WorldFAIR Project, a major global collaboration between partners from thirteen countries across Africa, Australasia, Europe, and North and South America.  WorldFAIR will advance the implementation of the FAIR data principles, in particular those for Interoperability, by developing a cross-domain interoperability framework and recommendations for FAIR assessment in a set of eleven disciplines or cross-disciplinary research areas. The DRI is leading the WorldFAIR case study for Cultural Heritage….”

WorldFAIR Project (D13.1) Cultural Heritage Mapping Report: Practices and policies supporting Cultural Heritage image sharing platforms | Zenodo

Abstract:  Deliverable 13.1 for the WorldFAIR Project’s Cultural Heritage Work Package (WP13) outlines current practices guiding online digital image sharing by institutions charged with providing care and access to cultural memory, in order to identify how these practices may be adapted to promote and support the FAIR Principles for data sharing.

The report has been compiled by the Digital Repository of Ireland as a key information resource for developing the recommendations forthcoming in Deliverable 13.2. The DRI is Ireland’s national repository for the arts, humanities and social sciences. A Working Group of cultural heritage professionals has been invited to contribute feedback.

There are well-established standards and traditions driving the various approaches to image sharing in the sector, both local and global, which influence everything from the creation of digital image files, their intellectual organisation and level of description, to statements of rights governing use. Additionally, there are technological supports and infrastructures that have emerged to facilitate these practices which have significant investment and robust community support. These practices and technologies serve the existing communities of users well, primarily the needs of government, business and higher education, as well as the broader general public. Recommendations for adapting established collections delivery mechanisms to facilitate the use of cultural heritage images as research data would ideally not supersede or duplicate processes that also serve these other communities of users, and any solutions proposed in the context of the WorldFAIR Project must be made in respect of these wider contexts for image sharing.

New from WorldFAIR! Cultural Heritage Mapping Report: ‘Practices and policies supporting Cultural Heritage image sharing platforms’ – out now – CODATA, The Committee on Data for Science and Technology

“New WorldFAIR Project Deliverable 13.1 ‘Cultural Heritage Mapping Report: Practices and Policies supporting Cultural Heritage image sharing platforms’ outlines current practices guiding online digital image sharing by institutions charged with providing care and access to cultural memory, in order to identify how these practices may be adapted to promote and support the FAIR principles for data sharing.

This report looks closely at the policies and best practices endorsed by a range of professional bodies and institutions representative of Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (the ‘GLAMs’) which facilitate the acquisition and delivery, discovery, description, digitisation standards and preservation of digital image collections. The second half of the report further highlights the technical mechanisms for aggregating and exchanging images that have already produced a high degree of image interoperability in the sector with a survey of six national and international image sharing platforms: DigitalNZ, Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), Europeana, Wikimedia Commons, Internet Archive and Flickr….”

Open Buildings

“Building footprints are useful for a range of important applications, from population estimation, urban planning and humanitarian response, to environmental and climate science. This large-scale open dataset contains the outlines of buildings derived from high-resolution satellite imagery in order to support these types of uses. The project is based in Ghana, with an initial focus on the continent of Africa and new updates on South Asia and South-East Asia….”

Yale University Art Gallery digitizes its publications – Yale Daily News

“A digitization effort of more than 50 years of the Yale University Art Gallery’s scholarly publications is gradually nearing completion.

The Online Access project was conceived during the start of the pandemic in an effort to increase the accessibility of the art gallery’s publications even while its doors were closed. This has involved two years of electronically uploading each of the gallery’s prior exhibit catalogs and accompanying them with alt text to ensure an immersive experience for all its potential users….”

Revisiting the Openverse: Finding Open Images and Audio

Blurry bluish-black image of stars or lights at night seen through a transparent screen marked with smeared human is the universe creating itself as it goes” by submerged~, here slightly cropped, is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0 .

Looking for that perfect picture to illustrate your post? That catchy tune to jazz up your video? Look no further than Openverse, the huge library of free and open stock photos, images, and audio contributed to the public commons by people around the world, now available at its new domain:

Here at CC we use Openverse daily to explore the public commons and find works to reuse in our communications and projects. Powerful tools like Openverse demonstrate how open technologies and communities like WordPress can build on the rich public commons we all help create to support what we call better sharing: sharing that is inclusive, just and equitable — where everyone has wide opportunity to access content, to contribute their own creativity, and to receive recognition and rewards for their contributions.

Finding and using free and open works has never been easier: Just visit Openverse, enter some keywords, and pick your favorite from the results. You can also filter by content type, sources, aspect ratio, size, open license and public domain statuses, and more, like the search for the keywords “art” and “universe” we used to find the image in this post.

Once you’ve picked a work, Openverse provides everything you need to use it: Visit the work in its home collection and copy a well-formed attribution statement to give proper credit for your use.

Openverse was incubated here at CC as “CC Search”, moving to the WordPress community in 2021, and has continued to thrive in its new home, now cataloging over 600 million images and audio tracks, with new collections of open works being added all the time, like the recent addition of more than 15 million images from iNaturalist, the project that enables citizen scientists and researchers to document and understand global biodiversity.

Contributors in the WordPress community continue to add new features and capabilities to Openverse. Coming up next will be new tools to easily use images from Openverse directly in WordPress itself; content safety features that will enable users to blur or opt in/out from specific types of sensitive content; and improvements to search relevancy and the quality of results.

Can you help expand the Openverse?

As a creator, share your work to the commons with a CC open license or CC0 dedication to the public domain on one of sources already cataloged in Openverse.

Do you know a great collection of open works? Suggest a new source for Openverse.

Do you have communication and/or technical skills? Join the Openverse contributor team and help with things like testing new features, writing documentation, contributing code, and amplifying news from the project. Have a look at Openverse’s good first issues or their guide for new contributors.

The post Revisiting the Openverse: Finding Open Images and Audio appeared first on Creative Commons.

Watson | Impact of an Institutional Repository on Viewers’ Experiences of a Student Art Exhibition | Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication

Abstract:  Introduction: Since 2014, Boise State University’s institutional repository (IR) has included artwork from Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) exhibitions. This paper explores how the experience of viewing artwork at an in-person BFA exhibition differs from that of viewing an online representation of it, makes recommendations to increase viewer engagement with online representations of artwork, and suggests ways that online exhibitions can enhance in-person viewing. Method: The authors conducted two surveys, one of in-person exhibition attendees and one of online exhibition viewers. Fixed-answer results were analyzed quantitatively, whereas an inductive qualitative coding process was used to analyze survey comments. Results: In-person participants were more likely to view all the artwork, spend more time at the exhibition, and view individual artwork for longer. Online participants were more likely to view artists’ statements. Online survey participants who attended the in-person exhibition preferred the in-person exhibition. Discussion: Results point toward a need to increase online viewers’ engagement with exhibition artwork, many of them centered around improving the usability of the IR interface. Finally, several benefits of the online environment are noted. Conclusion: Although the online representation of the art exhibition in the IR is not a complete replacement for the in-person exhibition, it is a representation that the authors believe can positively influence a viewer’s experience of the BFA exhibition, whether they have viewed the in-person exhibition or not. Respondents’ comments in both surveys provided suggestions for improving the two exhibitions, as well as insights into how IR exhibitions enhance the in-person exhibition experience.


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,, 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.” …”

Open Inaccessibility

“When a PDF is downloaded, who can read it?

At the start of the year I discussed the social model of disability and inaccessibility in relation to open scholarship, but since then I have not done much more in a practical sense. Here’s the best explanation of the social model of disability I have seen…

Content inaccessibility came back on my radar again when I read a recent study about content accessibility improvements for arXiv. This paper calls content accessibility “the next frontier of open science.” As we see a simultaneous increase in user-generated content platforms for publishing, where there is less control over what and how things get published, I would agree and argue that accessibility will become a bigger topic quickly.

Some of my main takeaways and juxtapositions from this paper include:

There is clear content inaccessibility: only 30% of people using assistive technologies rate all research as accessible (vs. 59% of people not using assistive technologies).
HTML is preferred for accessibility, but non-disabled people prefer PDFs.
Biggest improvement areas for accessibility are (1) PDF formatting, (2) images (alt texts), (3) math accessibility (e.g., MathML for screenreaders), (4) making data in figures parseable by screen readers.
People who don’t use assistive technologies don’t know what is required of them to make accessible documents
PDF is often preferred because it is easy/easier to save to reference managers….”