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2 minutes to read Posted on Friday September 18, 2020

Updated on Monday September 21, 2020

Tech
portrait of Gregory Markus

Gregory Markus

EuropeanaTech Community Manager , Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

Task Force publishes artificial intelligence in GLAMs survey results

As part of our ‘Strategy in motion’ series, Gregory Markus updates us on the EuropeanaTech AI in relation to GLAMs Task Force, which has just published the results of a survey of artificial intelligence (AI) in the digital cultural heritage domain.

The Europeana Network Association works through Task Forces, which are designed to help solve specific issues and challenges affecting the digital heritage field, and to contribute to realising the Europeana Initiative’s strategy. 

The EuropeanaTech AI in relation to GLAMs Task Force, which began on 1 December 2019 and runs until 31 January 2021, is running a horizon-scanning exercise and investigating the expected role and impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in the digital cultural heritage domain especially with regards to collections analysis and improvement. We seek to gather a clear overview of how institutions, big and small, are working with or seeking to engage with AI technologies for their collections. 

Progress in AI

The Innovation Agenda published in 2019, demonstrated a strong desire from the Europeana Network Association to improve data quality, usability and retrievability; all of which can be improved through AI-related methodologies. 

In recent years, the role of AI has grown, providing multitudes of advances that help Europeana and cultural heritage institutions at large to improve access to their collections. Europeana has been making great strides in the past year, notably with the start of the Saint George on a Bike project, which aims to improve the metadata associated with imagery from European cultural heritage.

For many institutions, the global pandemic has hastened digital access for remote users. When we began this Task Force, we, like everyone else, did not foresee such a dramatic and immediate necessity for digital, remote access to collections. 

Who is using AI already?

We ran a survey to gain an understanding of who is already working with AI or has plans to do so, the different types of projects being run, the methodologies being used, the challenges faced, the success granted and the resources applied. 

The target respondents from the survey were professionals working in museums, libraries, archives and research institutions as well as the wider industry (technology suppliers, creative industries, etc.) that work with cultural heritage data. A full Task Force report will be published in early 2021. 

Results

In total, we received over 60 responses from all around Europe and several international contributions. To encourage respondents, the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision promised to donate one goat to rural communities in need via Oxfam International for every 20 survey responses. In the end, Sound and Vision donated four goats - thanks, guys!  

Our interim report presents the initial takeaways from the survey. We found great interest in AI. Almost all respondents are interested in at least one AI topic and more than half show expertise in one of the topics. The core reason for engaging with AI for the respondents related to (meta) data quality. GLAM institutions aim to use AI for facilitating the exploitation (and to some extent, the production) of their digitised collections. These initial findings will be used to fuel further work during which the Task Force will more deeply investigate trends and outliers as well as best practices identified through the survey. 

Ultimately, through this Task Force, EuropeanaTech will have a glimpse into AI-related work within the Europeana Network Association. We will be able to share this with the community to improve knowledge transfer and awareness-raising and finally, be able to create programmes or support networks for all community members working with or hoping to engage with AI in the future. 

Should you wish to share your thoughts or add to our report feel free to contact Gregory Markus at gmarkus@beeldengeluid.nl

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