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2 minutes to read Posted on Wednesday October 3, 2012

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

OKFest: Workshops, Hackdays and Horror Films

OKFest, organised by the Open Knowledge Foundation, is the biggest open knowledge event in the world. More than 1,000 people participated in about 150 different sessions on the whole spectrum of issues related to openness and the digital commons. The OpenGLAM initiative, part of the DM2E project, organised a 3-day topic stream dedicated to open cultural heritage data and content.

Cultural Hackday

Programmers, designers and curators joined forces at the cultural hackday to unlock the potential of Finnish cultural content and data that has been openly licensed. Representatives from the Finnish National Library, the Central Art Archive and the Kallio Archive provided datasets and APIs. As did Europeana who had just released the data for more than 20 million cultural objects under the Creative Commons public domain waiver.

Developers created prototypes including ArtMapp - a map of Helsinki enabling users to find and explore artworks by their characteristics. The team used Europeana Linked Open Data to enable users to search collections using semantic links. In practice, this means that a user searches for, for example, Leonardo da Vinci, and finds out that he was born in a small village, moved to Florence, and died in Amboise. The Linked Data component means they can also easily find other artists from that same period born in the same region. By clicking on the city on ArtMapp, other related objects appear and can be explored. The creators have built a series of slides to further explain it, and all data can be found on GitHub.

Artmapp by Rene Pare

Video artists and VJs from Aalto University took cultural data from several open repositories and remixed it into a new piece of work. It was incredible to see what they were able to produce in just a few hours. For the video 'Horror in Kallio', a team of two used short videos about the streets of Helsinki from the Kallio Archive and added effects to create a an eery feeling. Then, through Europeana, they found high quality scans of owls and insects from an 18th century collection at the Rijksmuseum and animated them. Finally, they took horror sounds from the free sound archive Jamendo and combined it all into this video. For a full description about how they created the video, see their blogpost.

Building the Cultural Commons

On the second day of OKFestival, 25 leading open cultural data evangelists and professionals from the cultural sector met for a full day of hands-on meetings dedicated to building the cultural commons and the legal and technical challenges to openness in the cultural heritage space. Among them were representatives from Europeana, Wikimedia, Creative Commons, and several leading cultural institutions such as the Danish National Gallery and the Smithsonian Institute. Issues around open licensing, digitisation and developer outreach took centre stage. The outcomes of the meeting are currently being taken forward on the OpenGLAM mailing list, so if you'd like to join the discussion, do sign up.

OpenGLAM Workshop

As part of the Digitised Manuscripts to Europeana (DM2E) project, the Open Knowledge Foundation has been running a series of Open GLAM workshops across Europe aimed at helping cultural heritage institutuions address the technical and legal challenges to opening up their content and metadata. As part of OKFestival one such workshop was run with representatives from Finnish cultural heritage institutions. For a full summary of all the presentations click here. Participants were invited to create a roadmap for getting more Finnish cultural data openly licensed and into Europeana. A Finnish ‘AvoinGLAM’ (avoin = open) working group was formed, dedicated to bringing more Finnish heritage into Europe.

Now that the week is over and everybody has got a chance to digest their experiences, it is time to get to action and create the cultural commons of the future! We look forward to reporting on our progress so keep your eyes peeled for updates on the Open GLAM blog.