Europeana slips back onto our screens

With somewhat less fanfare than its original launch, when thousands of budding Europeans scrambled online to enter the search time “Mona Lisa”, the European cultural heritage portal Europeana has gone online.

europeana.jpg

The portal and design seems quite impressive, and technically, there appear to be few glitches. However, the level of metadata is quite disappointing – type in Mozart or Freud and, while you get some interesting photographs or musical scores, their lineage is not immediately apparent. There are only four or five metadata fields, and nothing on the genesis of the items digitised, i.e. who took the photo of Freud.

However, this is only after a very quick play. Other items may have more extensive information. Time will tell whether this is something the general public will want to use.

Colleagues at UKOLN have been writing some interesting critiques of Europeana. Paul Walk points to a lack of clear sightedness in creating the Europeana technical infrastrutcure while Brian Kelly has looked at the German use of Wikipedia as a host for cultural heritage.

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Web 2.0, IPR and digital preservation: new JISC resources

Two new resources have been recently launched by JISC as guidance on how to deal with IPR issues in Web2.0 content and on digital preservation, including preservation of user generated content.

The free Web2Rights online diagnostic tool addresses the confusion often found when dealing with IPR in its relation to Web 2.0 within education, and provides a step-by-step user guide to ensure the protection of both their and others’ copyright in using, deploying and repurposing content.

The six minute animation below explains some of the main concepts based on three different user scenarios.

Web2IPR

The new handbook created by JISC’s PoWR project (Preservation of Web Resources) offers a wealth of tips and information for web managers, data professionals and those making decisions concerning the long-term preservation of online resources.

PoWR handbook

With such vast quantities of digital data available on or via the Internet, the PoWR handbook encourages institutions to see the requirement for coherent preservation strategies. Key issues include prioritising what to keep, how to keep it, which preservation policies to implement, the consequences of preservation decisions and how to provide sustainable access for the future.

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EU’s eContent+ programme evolves and continues

The following email arrived today, with the EU obviously doing its best to maintain its normal standards of linguistic clarity. I think it means there is some more funding for exploiting existing digitised content

The eContentplus programme will expire on 31 December 2008.

Measures to make digital content in Europe more accessible, usable and exploitable will, however, be continued after that date under the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) Policy Support Programme (“ICT PSP”), one of three specific programmes implemented through Decision No. 1639/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 2006 establishing a Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (2007-2013) (“CIP”), OJ L310, 9.11.2006, p. 15.

In 2009, such measures will cover the following themes:

Digital Libraries

EUR 25 million will be available for funding projects under the following objectives: services, aggregating or digitising content for Europeana, open access to scientific content and use of cultural heritage material for education.

A dedicated Information Day for this theme is planned to take place in late February/early March in Luxembourg.

Multilingual Web

EUR 14 million will be available for funding projects and networks under the following Objectives: Machine translation for the Multilingual Web; Multilingual Web content development and management; Best practices and standards for the Multilingual Web.

Language Technology Days, an event to inform about the conditions for participation and the rationale, scope and expected outcome of the above objectives as well as of Objective 2.2 Language based Interaction of the fourth FP7-ICT call for proposals, will take place on 14-15 January 2009 in Luxembourg. Further details are available at http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/ict/language-technologies/fp7-call4_en.html.

Public Sector Information

EUR 9.5 million will be available for funding projects under the following objectives: Legal aspects of Public Sector Information and Geographic information.

The draft ICT PSP Work Programme 2009 was agreed by the Programme Committee on 21 November 2008 and is available for downloading from the ICT PSP website at http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/ict_psp/index_en.html.

Additional information on the call and guidelines will become available shortly.

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Phase 2 of JISC-NEH Transatlantic Digitisation – Pre Announcement

   neh logo

The JISC and the US’s National Endowment for the Humanities are pleased to announce they will be funding a second round of Transatlantic Digitisation grants.

This pre-announcement is being made so that potential applicants can start developing the necessary partnerships. The call will be issued in mid December, with a closing date of the beginning of March 2009.

Funding is available for projects starting from August 2009 with a project length of 18 months. All projects must be completed by March 2011.

As with before, applications will be sought in the following areas

* New digitisation projects and pilot projects
* Addition of important material to existing digitisation projects
* Development of infrastructure to support US-English digitisation work

The maximum each project will be able to apply for is £200k / $300k, to be split between the projects partners.

JISC and NEH have also been in discussion with other international funding bodies about developing a separate competition to encourage international teams to explore the possibilities of large scale text and data mining overlarge corpora of digitised content. A call for this will be released in the New Year.

Note: JISC has just released a whole raft of funding, for a whopping £10.65, for the Digital Libraries and e-Research fields. The call is on the JISC website.

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Unlocking Audio 2: Connecting With Listeners

On 16-17 March 2009, The British Library will be hosting the conference Unlocking Audio 2: Connecting With Listeners.

Archival Sound Recording

The conference is a key event exploring the use of sound recordings online, focussing on ways that researchers and other audiences expect to discover, browse, audition and analyse archival audio resources. It will be of interest to content owners, academics & students, service providers, user groups, resource managers, system integrators, and designers and implementers of search & content analysis tools.

Keynotes speakers include Charles Leadbeater, a leading authority on innovation and creativity in organisations, and Andy Powell, Head of Development at the Eduserv Foundation.

Unlocking Audio 2 is supported by JISC and will also celebrate the successful end of the 2nd Archival Sound Recordings project, funded as part of the JISC Digitisation programme.

Important dates

Deadline for abstracts: 12:00 hours GMT on 12 December 2008
Deadline for early registration: 12:00 hours GMT on 19 December 2008
Deadline for late registration: 12:00 hours GMT on 16 February 2009

For more information, see the conference web site.

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Cartoons and war make the news

Giles cartoonJISC-funded digitisation projects have been getting a good press recently, with two recent project launches garnering coverage in a range of major media outlets.

The First World War Poetry Digital Archive at the University of Oxford was launched to coincide with the 90th anniversary of Armistice Day. Amid the wealth of first world war coverage in the media over that week, the project secured a news story in the Telegraph and a gallery of images in the Guardian.

Kent University’s British Cartoon Archive also caught the imagination of journalists – and picture editors.

A column by Libby Purves in the Times saw a huge number of visitors going to the site after Purves celebrated Giles and the archive with the words

“…when you grow tired of piffling celebrity, mealy-mouthed nannyism, alarmist pessimism and economic whining, go there for an antidote. “

The Independent previewed the archive in glowing terms and its in-house cartoonist, Dave Brown, selected his favourites, while the Guardian reports how Giles “slaughtered” Rupert Bear. The launch was also covered by the BBC and Channel 4.

Details of all the press coverage can be found on the JISC website.

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Call for Papers: Digitizing Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture

Editors Brent Nelson (University of Saskatchewan) and Melissa Terras (University College London) invite submissions for a collection of essays on “Digitizing Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture” to be published in the New Technologies in Medieval and Renaissance Studies Series edited by Ray Siemens and William Bowen.

Further information on the call is available from Dr Terras’ blog

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