Here is the must-know information for some of the forthcoming Europeana partner key events. Interested? Follow the links to find out more or to register.

Whipping the herring out of town was a custom that heralded the last day of Lent, when Cork butchers celebrated the coming of Easter and the return of economic prosperity (and meat-eating) by holding a mock funeral of a herring, which symbolised abstinence. Credit: Crawford Gallery Public Domain
 

TEL promotes LOD innovations in libraries across Europe for Hackathon, London, May 14

The cooperation between Research Libraries UK (RLUK) and The European Library (TEL) allows for the ingestion of data from RLUK’s member libraries into The European Library portal. Both TEL and RLUK are currently working intensely towards a linked bibliographic data available as Linked Open Data (LOD). This set of linked bibliographic data will be made available for a Hackathon on May 14. In preparation for the Hackathon, TEL is featuring 6 LOD use cases across Europe. Read the first here. We encourage you to follow and relay the campaign from The European Library news section and to join the Hackathon. More info


The Best in Heritage call for papers, deadline April 30

The Best in Heritage features a worldwide array of best practices from the domain of museums, heritage and conservation. A post-conference symposium will be held at inter-univerity centre Dubrovnik, for which a call for papers has been issued. The theme is ´The Useful Heritage - Efficiency and excellence in the public memory sector´. Various organisations and institutions working with heritage (museums, conservation, libraries, archives etc.) continue to demonstrate a constant convergence of their practices and theories. This implies a need for a new, common science, so expert authors are invited to contribute to defining excellence and social efficiency of public memory domain. Deadline for submission is 30 April. More info

PREFORMA @ EGI Community Forum 2014, Helsinki, May 21

This session will present to the whole digital preservation community the new opportunities offered by the pre-commercial-procurement launched by PREFORMA. The aim of the call for tender, which will be published by the end of May, is the development and deployment of an open source software licensed reference implementation for file format standards. This is for memory institutions (or other organisation with a preservation task) wishing to check conformance with a specific standard.

More info

Your events

Want your event to be in our next round-up? Email the details to susan.muthalaly@europeana.eu and we'll see what we can do!

EUBrazil Cloud Connect is a new international co-operation project which is creating a joint cloud infrastructure.

This new infrastructure will enable a multi-disciplinary user community to co-operate across borders at many different levels. Ultimately, the project aims to accelerate scientific discovery and to advance knowledge on several challenges of high social impact. 

One of the innovative aspects of EUBrazil Cloud Connect is the introduction of a new business model based on the bartering of resources.

“Part of the EUBrazil Cloud Connect federation will be built with the idea to put time-dependent surplus resources in a pool where members of the federation can explore and exchange these resources and better attend the user demand when their peak loads cannot be served locally,” explains Francisco Brasileiro from the Federal University of Campina Grande, the Brazilian coordinator of EUBrazil Cloud Connect.

To learn more, please watch the video or see the project website.

An interview with Florian Berger, who works as a software developer and IT consultant at Exozet Berlin. In addition he is writing his PhD thesis on adaptive educational games.

What is Exozet Games? What is your mission?

Exozet is one of Germany’s leading independent game developers, which specialises in the development and distribution of mobile and online titles. The game development studio works hand-in-hand with leading publishers and licencing partners, both on its own products and on commissioned products for the international market. Popular Exozet games include Catan, Carcassonne, HABA Orchard and Emily the Strange. Exozet’s 140 employees are working in Berlin, Potsdam-Babelsberg and Vienna.

exozet's main office right at the top flor of the old Tempelhof airport in Berlin.Exozet's main office right at the top flor of the old Tempelhof airport in Berlin.
 

What is your role in Europeana Creative?

In the Europeana Creative project, we are developing a serious game which serves as the Natural History Education Pilot application. The game is a “hidden object adventure game” where the player takes the role of an employee of the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, and solves an old mystery on location. By playing the game, the player learns about natural history facts and research methods.

Our role is to develop game play and ideas, coordinate these with the scientists and develop the final game as a software product for commercial release.

With a view of the abandoned airfield, the exozet games unit develops mobile, casual and educational games.With a view of the abandoned air field, the Exozet games unit develops mobile, casual and educational games.
 

What is your goal for the Europeana Creative project?

Our goal is to develop an entertaining game that achieves a high degree of scientific accuracy. In this process, we strive to demonstrate that Europeana content can be used for compelling digital entertainment in ways that may not be obvious when one looks at the bare database items.

Dr. Jason Dunlop, curator of the collections Arachnida and Myriapoda at the Natural History Museum in Berlin, appears as a chatacter in the game.Dr. Jason Dunlop, curator of the collections Arachnida and Myriapoda at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, appears as a character in the game.
 

What challenges did you face so far while working on Europeana Creative?

The biggest challenge is to balance the game play ideas from our designers, the demands for accuracy from the scientific partners and the selection of available items in Europeana. Not all our ideas satisfy the standard for a learning game immediately. This is an ongoing and fruitful process, but requires quite some iterations between the project partners.

Another challenge is to bring the Europeana database content into a form that we can use in the game. Europeana provides photographs of exhibition items in a range of sizes and angles. Some images have scratches, shadows, labels or frames that require additional refinement. Plus, our game features a hand-painted look that would conflict with the photographic quality of the original Europeana content.

As a consequence, our graphic artist re-paints or overpaints almost every image that we use, creating a derived work in the process. While he keeps the image as original as possible, he carefully fits it into the overall style of the game, as well as into the lighting conditions present in the scene.

Images out of the Europeana database are not always fit for immediate use in the adventure game.Images out of the Europeana database are not always fit for immediate use in the adventure game.
 

 To fit the hand-painted style, our artist overpaints the image, while keeping its original impression.To fit the hand-painted style, our artist overpaints the image, while keeping its original impression.
 

What do you take along for the future?

Contributing to such a large project is hard work, and from time to time the coordination processes can be a little intimidating. Then again, both the input from and the insight into the very diverse work that the project partners are doing has been inspirational and definitely broadened our view. We will gladly be part of such a project again, and we will consider openly available content more in upcoming work.
 

Tell us about the pilot you are working on. What are the highlights?

The pilot builds upon “adventure game” genre that dates back to the very beginning of computer games in the 1970s, and still enjoys widespread acclaim, especially in Germany. We are developing a modern variant of such a game, running on an tablet computer and controlled via touch interaction.

Highlights of the game are a compelling story, hand-painted graphics and scientific puzzles that are informed by actual field experts from the natural history museums in Berlin (Museum für Naturkunde) and Prague (National Museum). The game enables the players to explore actual museum locations (which we from time to time have slightly reworked for dramatic effect).

Schloss Tegel, an actual location in Berlin where Famous natural scientists  Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt lived, appears as a game background - although we added a secret entrance for dramatic effect.
Schloss Tegel, an actual location in Berlin where famous natural scientists Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt lived, appears as a game background although we added a secret entrance for dramatic effect.
 

What advice do you have for developers who are considering working with Europeana content?

While Europeana already features a wealth of content, it surely is a moving target. On the one hand, re-users should carefully study the licences, as these can vary, and might impose restrictions on the manner of re-use. On the other hand, if the licence permits it, re-users should not be afraid to change and tweak content until it fits the purpose. This way the richness of Europeana can be deployed to maximum effect.

Sometimes Europeana content will not quite match the requirements, most prominently when the image resolution is too low. In such cases, it may be worthwhile to contact the original contributor and ask them to submit an improved version. Seeing their exhibit used in another context might provide them with an incentive to improve the content they contribute to Europeana further, for the benefit of potential users.

 The adventure starts at the basement of the Natural History Museum in Berlin, which is an actual location.
The adventure starts at the basement of the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, which is an actual location.

All images © exozet. All rights reserved.

Guest blog by Gregory Markus, Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.

An editathon in progress. Image by Sebastiaan ter Burg, CC BY-SA

In an effort to improve fashion knowledge on the web, Europeana Fashion has organised a series of editathons with Wikimedia volunteers and fashion institutions around Europe. The experience and knowledge gained from these events are now compiled in one handbook, The Europeana Fashion Edit-a-thon Handbook for GLAMs.

The cover of the handbook, CC BY-SA

Fashion and fashion history are undoubtedly significant cultural media. Whether we realise it or not, the clothes we choose to wear every day have historical roots and contemporary meaning. The blue jeans, the t-shirt, the sneaker or a shirt with a button-down collar all have an interesting history, which most of us seldom consider.

If someone did want to learn about fashion history, their first stop would most likely be Wikipedia. As fashion is under-represented in the online encyclopedia, their search may lead to disappointment.

Improving Fashion Knowledge Europeana Fashion aims not only to gather hundreds of thousands of digitised fashion objects, but also to increase the amount of fashion knowledge on the web and make it more visible. We try to accomplish this by organising Wikipedia edit-a-thons. An editathon is an event where people get together to edit Wikipedia, usually focusing on a specific topic.

An editathon in progress. Image by Sebastiaan ter Burg, CC BY-SA

Partnering with Wikimedia and having editathons benefits all parties involved: 

  1. They help spread the word about the work Europeana Fashion is doing;
  2. They improve public knowledge about fashion history on Wikipedia;
  3. They provide contextualisation to the beautiful material Europeana Fashion puts online;
  4. They connect different communities, bring them together around a shared passion and offer professionals in the field an opportunity to network;
  5. They stimulate participating partners to reflect on ways to make their collections accessible.

The Handbook

These benefits, along with guidelines and tips on how to organise an editathon, are listed in the handbook. Loads of experiences, expertise, and research made this handbook possible. So far, Europeana Fashion has coordinated editathons at institutions in Israel, Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Sweden and Italy. Members from these participating institutions, along with Wikimedians from across Europe, assisted and reviewed the work done by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, which oversee Europeana Fashion’s collaboration with Wikimedia.

In the handbook, any GLAM (Gallery, Library, Archive, Museum) can find all the basics to host an editathon, including an overview of Wikimedia, Wikipedia and Wikimedians, ways to ensure a successful editathon, how to measure success, tips for getting content on Wikimedia, event promotion, as well as a suggested day programme, a 3-month preparation agenda, and an abundance of relevant links.

Wikimedia and GLAMs

This handbook comes at a crucial time for GLAMs and Wikimedia. Recently, there has been a surge of institutions that are looking to become more open and make their collections more accessible to the public online. The handbook is not Europeana’s first collaboration with Wikimedia. There is also the GLAMwiki Toolset Project, which strives to make it easier for institutions to batch upload content to Wikimedia Commons.

Wikimedia is perhaps the most widely known organisation in the world that strives to make information more ‘open’. In the words of founder Jimmy Wales, ‘Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge’. Europeana Fashion shares this goal with a specific focus on fashion objects, making Europeana Fashion the perfect intermediary between fashion institutions and Wikimedia, two bodies that rarely meet. The editathons offer fashion institutions the opportunity to get comfortable working with Wikimedians and vice-versa, to learn about opening up their collections and to give the public a participatory opportunity to help make cultural heritage more inclusive and raise ‘open’ awareness.

This handbook will help any GLAM (not just fashion institutions) organise a successful editathon and make Wikipedia richer. We hope that by increasing the publicity of these editathons, more GLAMs will follow suit, causing a domino effect. You can download it here.

By María Luisa Martinez-Conde, Unit for Library Coordination at the Spanish Ministry

With the objective of providing easy access to the over 31 million digital objects Europeana provides access to, about 190 public libraries in Spain have implemented the Europeana search widget and there are a growing number of libraries interested in doing the same.

The Spanish libraries actively contribute to Europeana as evidenced by the large number of content providers aggregated by Hispana, the Spanish national aggregator. It is maintained by Spain’s Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport (MECD), which channels to Europeana more than 2,1 million records. Among the Spanish libraries contributing to Europeana, public libraries make a significant contribution.

This is because many Spanish public libraries, especially provincial public libraries, hold an important part of the Spanish bibliographic heritage. They have been participating for more than 10 years in different cooperative ongoing digitisation projects carried out by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. This includes the Digital Library of Historical Newspapers that gathers more than 6,5 million pages of local newspapers, and/or regional ones as well.

For these reasons, the Spanish public libraries made a major contribution through EuropeanaLocal. This contribution has not stopped growing since then, so that more than 70% of the content channelled by Hispana, i.e. more tha 1,5 million records, come from public libraries.

Image - CC BY-SA

For implementation of the Europeana search widget, crucial support was given to the Ministry by regional library services. For instance, in the case of Asturias, a regional library, whose digital library has been part of Europeana from the beginning of the EuropeanaLocal project, it made the first implementation of the Europeana search widget. It then helped the Ministry to implement the same in 31 public libraries belonging to the network of public libraries of Asturias.

Image - CC BY-SA

One of the more recent implementations was made by the Public Library of Palma de Mallorca that holds an important collection of manuscripts and rare books. It has also been a contributor to Europeana for many years by digitising and granting access to projects of the Ministry. As users find the Europeana widget very helpful, the MECD, counting on the support of regions, expects to achieve 200 implementations in the next few weeks.

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About

The Europeana Professional Blog is for people working in the field of digital cultural heritage. For more information or to contribute, contact beth.daley@bl.uk.

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