1914-18 archive alliance signed

Press release by Europeana

The German National Library, Oxford University and Europeana have signed an agreement to digitise family papers and memorabilia from the First World War in order to create an online archive about the people involved in the conflict.

Oxford University began the initiative when it asked people across Britain to bring family letters, photographs and keepsakes from the War to be digitised. The success of the idea – which became the Great War Archive – has encouraged Europeana, Europe’s digital archive, library and museum, to bring the German National Library into an alliance with Oxford University to roll out the scheme in Germany. The collaboration will bring German soldiers’ stories online alongside their British counterparts in a 1914-18 archive.

There will be a series of roadshows in libraries around Germany that will invite people to bring documents and artefacts from family members involved in the First World War to be digitised by mobile scanning units, and to tell the stories that go with them. There will also be a website allowing people to submit material online if they are unable to attend the local events. Everything submitted will also be available through Europeana, where it add a new perspective to collections of First World War material from institutions across Europe.

Dr Elisabeth Niggemann, the German National Librarian, said, “We are proud to be part of this alliance. These artefacts and their stories have survived and we must record them while they are still part of family memory. Little of this material will ever have been on public display, or been made available to historians. What the 1914-18 War demonstrates, especially at the personal level, is the futility of war, and the pity of it for the men and their families.”

Stuart Lee, an Oxford University academic and Director of the Great War Archive said, “Working together with the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek and their partners in Germany to extend this initiative will give it new resonance. The Centenary in 2014 of the first year of the war will prompt many people to discover more about it and find out about family members involved. The 1914-18 archive will bring them close to those who witnessed it at first hand, showing the souvenirs that they kept throughout their lives and telling the stories that they handed down the generations.”

“One such story that was submitted to the Great War Archive during the British project exemplifies what we want to do. It concerns RAF man Bernard Darley who was commended for putting out a fierce fire in a workshop containing petrol tanks. At his side throughout was a German prisoner of war, Otto Arndt. The two became friends and Otto made a matchbox from a shell-casing as a memento which he inscribed and presented to his friend. This story shows the human side of the war – in this case an unlikely friendship between normal people caught up in a war not of their making.”

Jill Cousins, Executive Director of Europeana, says that the organisation is well placed to bring together such partnerships: “Europeana acts as the facilitator in an extensive cross-European network of libraries, museums and archives. We aim to create partnerships with organisations from other theatres of the First World War, such as Belgium, France and the Eastern Front, so their stories can be included.”

“The 1914-18 online archive will reflect the reality of the lives of the soldiery on different sides of the conflict. As a people’s history it will offer a vivid testimony that school students will find compelling, and we are keen to work with educational organisations to create teaching resources. We are also planning exhibitions and information services that provide a pan-European focus on activities around the 1914-18 centenary.”

Save and Savour – Now! UNESCO’s World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

Today is UNESCO’s World Day for Audiovisual Heritage and this year’s theme is “ Save and Savour – Now!”  According to UNESCO, audiovisual heritage contains the records of the 20th and 21st century, but is also vulnerable in it’s current status. There are only 10 to 15 years left to digitize audiovisual records to prevent their loss.

The theme of this edition of the World Day however is not only about saving the audiovisual heritage but also about savoring it. To enable audiences to really enjoy audiovisual heritage, providing access is vital.  This is exactly the case with a project like EUscreen. By putting digitized content online, participating archives do not only preserve their material for the future, but also open it up for the public now. EUscreen offers users from all over the world the opportunity to watch and enjoy television heritage from almost every country in Europe. The content is contextualized to offer meaningful access to this heritage. EUscreen will experiment with the publication of online collections under a CC-license in collaboration with the platform Open Images.

To celebrate UNESCO’s World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, the platform has uploaded it’s 1000th item. The item is a Polygoon news reel from the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.

Screenshot 1000th item on Open Images

“Open Images is an open media platform that offers online access to audiovisual archive material to stimulate creative reuse. Footage from audiovisual collections can be downloaded and remixed into new works. Users of Open Images also have the opportunity to add their own material to the platform and thus expand the collection.” (From openimages.eu)

A platform like Open Images offers users the opportunity to reuse and remix audiovisual heritage for their own purposes and truly supports UNESCO’s thought of save and savour- now!

EUscreen International Conference: photos and report online

The first EUscreen International Conference took place on 7 and 8 October, 2010 and was hosted by Cinecittá Luce in Rome. The theme of this years conference was Context Selection Policies and Contextalisation. Over 100 participants attended the conference. The programme provided different angles on this theme with lecturers coming from the academic domain, the archives domain and the audiovisual production domain. With such a rich and interesting programme, many issues regarding online audiovisual content were addressed. In the conference report we will focus on only a few of these issues, notably contextualisation, collective memory and different users and uses.  The full conference report written by Andy O’Dwyer, Sian Barber and Wietske van den Heuvel can be read here.

Besides being the EUscreen projectmanager, Quirijn Backx also works as a photographer. She has taken photos during the conference which can be viewed here.

Open Culture 2010 Conference: Wikipedia, Google and the GLAMs

Press release by Europeana

Colleagues from Europe’s galleries, libraries, archives and museums – GLAMs – will hear about innovations in their sector from Wikipedia and Google at the annual Europeana conference, Open Culture 2010, in Amsterdam on the 14/15 October.

Peace, Love & Metadata: a cultural collaboration with Wikipedia is the title of Liam Wyatt’s keynote speech on 14 October. Liam was the British Museum’s first Wikipedian in Residence, where he brought curators, content and the Wikipedia crowd together in new ways. The collaboration was a great success and heralds a change in the way that GLAM professionals will engage with their online users.

In the keynote on 15 October, the Engineering Director for Google Books, James Crawford, will talk about the present and future of the project, which has the goal of scanning the world’s books and making the data searchable online. Recent developments include Google’s digitisation agreements signed with Europeana’s host, the National Library of the Netherlands, and with Europeana’s main technology co-ordinator, the National Library of Austria. One result of these agreements is that a further 560,000 digitised historic texts will be made available through Europeana.

The Open Culture 2010 conference will focus on topical issues in the digital heritage sector. Delegates will work in informal discussion groups led by international experts to find practical solutions to questions around:

  • Linked data: What are the applications envisaged for cultural linked data? How should GLAMS position themselves to take advantage of these opportunities? How can Europeana best facilitate this process?
  • User Generated Content: Wikipedia highlights the value of the user’s contribution. How best can GLAMs harness users’ information and expertise? What are the pitfalls and how can they be avoided?
  • Risks and rewards: Opening up data or content for re-use, potentially in a commercial context, can seem a high-risk strategy for GLAMs. Does openness threaten current revenue streams, control over data standards and content, or scholarly standards of provenance and authentication? Against this risk must be set the rewards in terms of their relevance to society, and the benefits that the whole of society can derive from open access to knowledge and creative ideas.

The Europeana conference is a free annual event that is open to archivists, curators, librarians, technologists and developers. Delegates will see how successful sites that exemplify the conference themes are built and have the opportunity to understand emerging trends, share knowledge and expertise, and develop their network of contacts and project partners.

This year the event is held in Amsterdam’s vibrant Westergasfabriek cultural centre.

Media contacts are welcome to attend Europeana Open Culture 2010 – please complete our registration. Interviews can be booked with keynote speakers and experts: please contact jonathan.purday@bl.uk.

Invitation for the Europeana Open Culture 2010 Conference

Press release by Europeana

We are pleased to invite you to the Europeana Open Culture 2010 conference, our annual event that highlights current challenges in our sector and works on practical solutions for the future.

The event is in two parts:

Europeana pre-conference meetings are for the Europeana Foundation Board, the Council of Content Providers and Aggregators and contributors to v1.0 Work Packages. The meetings will be on 13 October 2010 at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB) in The Hague and in the morning of 14 October at Amsterdam’s Westergasfabriek (the main conference venue).

The Europeana Open Culture 2010 main conference is on the 14 October (afternoon) and 15 October (morning) at Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam.
Open Culture 2010 will focus on how museums, libraries, archives and audiovisual collections can create public value by making digital information and knowledge openly available. The keynote speaker is Liam Wyatt, the British Museum’s first Wikipedian in Residence, whose innovative work in bringing the curator and the crowd together sparked international interest and significant traffic.

Three parallel sessions led by experts in the field get right to the heart of current concerns – linked data, User Generated Content and the risks and rewards of openness. Specialists with different perspectives will run small problem-solving groups and there will be demos of innovative sites that exemplify our themes.

The conference is free, and Europeana v1.0 will cover the travel and hotel costs of one delegate from each partner in the Thematic Network.

Europeana Open Culture 2010 will bring together people who are setting the agenda. Join us to stay in touch with the network’s latest thinking. Register now!

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