Greek Heritage Accessible for Persons with Disabilities

EUscreen partner ERT Archives, from Greece, have taken an important step in making the Hellenic radio and television heritage accessible to all Greek-speaking people. State-of-the art technology now provides access to digital content to people with disabilities. On the website www.ert-archives.gr, ERT Archives developed and implemented innovative software that takes away all restrictions to enjoy valuable audiovisual content online.

The service’s web pages were designed with disabled people in mind and follow international standards for access. It uses special software that puts together the media files for the Web and  also makes use of a media player that supports functionalities specifically developed for the visually or hearing impaired. These include big and clearly distinct control buttons, control of basic functions via the keyboard, audio descriptions, etc.

In this pilot stage, ERT Archives makes television programmes of the digital channel prisma+ available to everyone with special access services for disabled people. These programs were produced by ERT within the framework of the Digital Convergence operational programme of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF), 2007-2013, which was co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. ERT Archives aim to extend the use of these new services to content already available through the website as part of its policy, which is also supported by other NSRF-funded projects.

Link: www.ert-archives.gr

 

Digital Agenda: awards for creative reuse of open data

Press release from the European Commission

European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes awarded prizes to the winners of the Open Data Challenge and Hack4Europe! competitions at the Digital Agenda Assembly being held in Brussels on 16th and 17th June 2011. Companies, designers, programmers, developers, journalists, researchers and the general public from across Europe participated in the two open data competitions, trying out their ideas for creative reuse of information held by the public sector and open cultural data. European public bodies produce thousands of datasets every year – from how our tax money is spent to the quality of the air we breathe. This data can be reused in products such as car navigation systems, weather forecasts, and travel information apps.

Open data re-use is a key element of the Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200). To make public data widely accessible and available in Europe, the Commission intends to revise the Public Service Information (PSI) Directive in 2011 to fully unlock the economic potential of re-using PSI.Ms Kroes said: “I am amazed by the creative ways I have seen today for public data collected by public administrations, the collections digitised by our cultural Institutions (libraries, archives, museums) to be put to good use. Public data at large is a valuable source for innovation, as today’s winners clearly show.”

The Open Data Challenge and Hack4Europe! competitions were organised in support of the Commission’s policy to facilitate the wider deployment and more effective use of digital technologies. The re-use of public sector information (PSI) and open data will be a key driver to develop content markets in Europe, which not only generate new business opportunities and jobs but also provide consumers with more choice and more value for money. The market turnover of public data that is reused (for free or for a fee) is estimated at least €27 billion in the EU every year.

The Open Data Challenge

Organised by the Open Knowledge Foundation and the Open Forum Academy under the auspices of the Share-PSI initiative, the Open Data Challenge invited designers, developers, journalists, researchers and the general public to come up with useful, valuable or interesting uses for open public data. It attracted 430 entries from across the EU. Entries were invited in four categories for prize money totalling €20 000. The categories were fully blown apps, ideas, visualisations and liberated public sector datasets. The winners were selected by open data experts, including the inventor of the worldwide web Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

Winners of the Open Data Challenge

Applications: Eva Vozarova of the Fair-play Alliance, Slovakia has developed an app to add transparency to the public procurement process of government contracts

Ideas: Jonas Gebhardt of the University of Potsdam, Germany has developed a mobile application which can help citizens learn more about urban planning in their area

Visualisations: Oliver O’Brien of University College London, UK has developed an app to visualise the current state of bike-share systems in over 30 cities around the world

Public sector datasets: Codrina Maria Ilie of the National Institute for Research and Development in Environmental Protection, Romania has developed an app that collects thousands of old historical geo-referenced maps.

Hack4Europe!

Hack4Europe! was organised by the Europeana Foundation and its partners Collections Trust, Museu Picasso, Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Centre and Swedish National Heritage Board as a series of hack days in London, Barcelona, Poznan and Stockholm running from 6 to12 June. It provided the opportunity to explore the potential of open cultural data for social and economic growth in Europe in an exciting environment. There were 60 participants from the creative industries. These included mainly SMEs like web design agencies, applications developers, software firms and other digital businesses. They were joined not only by developers from the cultural heritage sector, keen to create new ways to engage people with online cultural resources, but also by some larger players like the Google Technical Group and the Yahoo Research group in Spain.

Winners of Hack4Europe! 

UK: Michael Selway of System Simulation Ltd. who developed an app to obtain improved search results from Europeana using an Android touch screen. 

Spain: Eduardo Graells and Luca Chiarandini of Universitat Pompeu Fabra/Yahoo! Research Barcelona who created a “Timebook” for historical figures. The app integrates content from Europeana and DBpedia and presents it in an easy to use format with, for instance, posts for famous quotes, friends status for influential persons and photos of paintings. 

Poland: Jakub Jurkiewicz of iTraff Technology. Using Europeana dataset, this winner developed an app that processes a photo taken of any painting in a museum to give a description of the painting in a matter of seconds, translated into any EU language or even read out loud. 

Sweden: Martin Duveborg of the Swedish National Heritage Board who developed a fully functional geo-location aware search of Europeana for Android. Users can take photos and associate them with existing Europeana objects. Through an inbuilt function to overlay new pictures with Europeana pictures, a seamless “Then-Now” effect is created. The new photos are uploaded with the current GPS position so the app can also function as a geo-tagger tool for Europeana.What is the Commission doing to promote the use of Public Sector Information?

Promoting the re-use of Public Sector Information is a collective effort and the Commission itself is well aware it can do more to put its own data online. Recently, the European Commission published a Digital Scoreboard (see IP/11/663) to show the progress of the EU and Member States in delivering on the agreed targets of the Digital Agenda for Europe after the first year of its existence. In line with its commitment to an open data strategy the Commission has made its data sets and statistics in the Scoreboard publicly available online enabling anyone to carry out their own analysis and come to their own conclusions.

In a near future, the Commission will also put forward proposals for a pan-European portal to give a single access point to the data which is being put online by the Member States.

Over 13 millions records relating to film, television and radio accessed via pioneering search environment

British Universities Film & Video Council Media Release 

An innovative ‘all-in-one’ search engine allowing users to access nine online databases, containing more than 13 million records, relating to film, television and radio content has been launched on June 16 by Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL) and the British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC). 

The BUFVC federated search environment will allow researchers to search all collections from a single entry point and easily view collated results through a clean design and user-friendly icons.  The interactive online research tools offer ‘human-friendly’ result filters, intelligently generated ‘related records & searches’, and have a detailed user history and export function.

Increasing quantities of archive film, television and radio content are available, but the content is usually delivered as stand-alone collections, with users needing to know where to look before they begin their research.  The BUFVC federated search environment will transform moving image and sound resource discovery by replacing the need for researchers to locate and access various databases and collections through multiple channels. 

The BUFVC federated search environment benefited from extensive user testing by researchers, teaching support staff, librarians and academics. The multi-purpose search engine and interface will be released under an open source licence this summer.

The BUFVC federated search environment is the result of a collaborative project between the British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC) and Royal Holloway, University of London.  The research project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) under the Digital Equipment and Database enhancement for Impact programme.

The BUFVC federated search environment can be found at http://beta.bufvc.ac.uk/

Historic Travel Documents Make Online Debut

Press release by the European Library

Take a journey to the North Pole, book your ticket on a 1930s car trip through eastern Europe or flip through hundreds of historic postcards, maps and guidebooks. These are among over 500 items that have been collected from 13 prestigious national and university libraries in Europe for Travelling Through History – a virtual exhibition created by The European Library.

The opening of the exhibition marks the first time that many of these important historical documents can be accessed online. They were digitised for the EuropeanaTravel project, and the assembled collection covers a broad geographical and historical range. India, Japan, Central Africa and the South Pacific are some of the destinations represented, with objects dating from the 12th century to modern times.

A leather-bound photograph album, documenting a tour around Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina by British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, is one of the exhibition highlights. Evans was a prolific traveller, who became famous for his excavation of Knossos Palace on the Greek island of Crete. The trip in 1932 retraces a similar journey Evans made on foot in 1875.

The visitors’ book of Dutch scientist and physician Bernardus Paludanus (1550-1633) is also fascinating. This bulky little album with about 1,900 contributions was signed by the many people who visited Paludanus at his home in the Netherlands. It also accompanied Paludanus on his travels to places as far away as Palestine, and includes illustrations by Italian artists of Venetian beauties and a gondola voyage.

Other curiosities include an 1821 visitors’ guide to Poland, and a Baroque map in the shape of a Rose. Vienna – the capital of the Hapsburg Empire – forms the stem of the flower, while the petals of the flower spread across Bohemia. The map is embellished with the crown and the motto of King Leopold I, who ruled over much of Central Europe in the 1680s.

Each object in Travelling Through History is accompanied by curatorial information in English and the main language of the contributing institution. Most objects can also be downloaded.

Conference report: Technical and Field related Problems of Classical and Electronic Archiving. Supplementary Education in the Fields of Archiving, Documenting and Informatics

By Aleksander Lavrencic and Katja Sturm

Date: 6-8 April
Place: Radenci

The conference “Technical and Field related Problems of Classical and Electronic Archiving: Supplementary Education in the Fields of Archiving, Documenting and Informatics” was held this year in Radenci, Slovenija.  The main themes of the conference were scientific study of archiviology, additional education and professional training of archivists, archival buildings, protection, access and use of archival holdings. The conference was attended by an international public: besides Slovenia there were also professionals from Italy, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Macedonia.

Various lecturers of Slovene and foreign lecturers from the fields of archival theory and practice, preservation, electronic archiving and long-term preservation were invited to speak about technical and field related problems of classical and electronic archiving. These problems included access and use of archives, archival buildings, electronic archiving and long-term preservation. Questions like how to deal with the protection of common cultural heritage – efforts of archives, museums and libraries, archival science between theory, legal provisions and their implementation and improving the quality of managing archival activities were addressed during the lectures.

Katja Šturm held a presentation about EUscreen during the third day of the conference. This day was dedicated to digitisation of content and the presentation on the internet, how to run international projects and to promote archival activities and models of cooperation between archives. Other presentations in the session focused on using Slovenian film archives in theory and practise between 1968 and 2010 and alternative options of using archives – therapy for elderly people (inspired by “Storytables” and dr. John Ellis lecture in EUscreen conference in Rome).

EUscreen publishes its first Online Access to Audiovisual Heritage Status Report

Press release

Increasing access to digitised audiovisual heritage in particular and cultural heritage in general, has become an important topic for institutions in the field of cultural heritage, policy-makers, national governments and the European Commission. This report, written by Wietske van den Heuvel and Lotte Belice Baltussen focuses on access to audiovisual heritage in general and specifically, access in an educational setting.

The report consists of two parts. Part one outlines the general status of online access to audiovisual heritage and focuses on creating a business model for platforms with audiovisual content and on the value proposition of audiovisual content. Additionally, an overview of revenue models with examples is provided. Part two describes the access to online audiovisual heritage from an educational perspective and contains an inventory of educational platforms and a methodology for the analysis of these platforms. A selected set of platforms is analysed and the results are used to outline the specific value propositions for education. Occurring revenue models in the educational field are analysed and alternatives are presented.

The full report can be accessed here.

Royal Holloway launch of EUscreen portal – 4th April, BBC Television Centre

By Dr Sian Barber – Postdoctoral Researcher, RHUL

The EUscreen portal was launched by Sian Barber and Rob Turnock from Royal Holloway, University of London on Monday 4th April at BBC Television Centre to the Southern Broadcast History Group. This group comprises a number of broadcast historians, senior academics, archivists and industry professionals drawn from 8 different British Universities, the BBC and the British Film Institute.

As well as the launch of the EUscreen portal, this one day event saw detailed debates and discussions about current work in the field of Broadcasting history, notably radio in America, Germany and Britain in the 1930s and Broadcasting policy in the 1980s which fore grounded the importance of users and citizens as active listeners and viewers.

Showcasing EUscreen.eu
For the EUscreen launch, Rob Turnock gave a brief introduction to the project, highlighting the possibilities of the site as a research resource as well as one for teaching and learning. Rob explained the role of Royal Holloway within the project and mentioned some of the challenges encountered on the project so far and the way in which the project team have worked to overcome them. Particular attention was paid to how the portal will focus upon the needs of users and the issues faced in integrating differing metadata schema and providing the necessary contextual information to a disparate range of users. Rob also mentioned the Virtual Exhibitions and the e-journal which will allow for interactive discussion around the content and increase dissemination activity, and would be of great interest to the Research Group.

This discussion of the project was followed with a demonstration of the portal. Rob highlighted three different ways of searching the portal; basic search, advanced search and searching by language. Much attention was given to the detailed metadata which accompanies each individual record, and the way in which the fourteen historical topics provide a structure to the portal which promotes easier searching and filtering.

The explore function was also demonstrated to show how content on the site could be filtered by genre to see what exists in different categories. Rob also drew attention to the list of languages currently available, noting that a much wider range of languages will exist in the next version of the portal. Rob also stressed that in the next release, the portal will have increased functionality and greater interoperability.

Following the presentation, questions were raised about the rationale behind the e-journal, what kind of content it would include and when it would be published online. There was also further discussion about the range of content providers who were involved in the project and if other material from different content providers could be added and integrated at a later date. These queries promoted a broader discussion of the project as a whole and many expressed interest in looking at the portal in more detail and for research and teaching purposes.

Connect to 400 years of history through millions of historical records

JISC news release

Millions of historical records have become more accessible to the public through a JISC funded project at the universities of Hertfordshire, London and Sheffield. Connected Histories provides a single point of access to a wide range of distributed digital resources relating to early modern and nineteenth-century British history. The Connected Histories website is fully searchable and provides access to millions of pages of text, hundreds of thousands of words and tens of thousands maps and images. It incorporates the following digital sources:

• British History Online
• British Newspapers 1600-1900
• Charles Booth Online Archive
• Clergy of the Church of England Database 1540–1835
• London Lives, 1690–1800
• Old Bailey Proceedings Online, 1674–1913
• Origins Network
• Parliamentary Papers
• Printed Ephemera from the Bodleian Library
• Strype’s Survey of London

Access the resources here.

Funded by: Connected to: