[Air-L] European meta data researchers wanted

Mathias Klang klang at ituniv.se
Mon Jul 21 11:42:29 PDT 2014

Part of my work is for Commons Machinery (commonsmachinery.se) and we 
are applying for an EU grant. As part of this process we would like to 
include European researchers interested in culture and metadata. This 
should be a good opportunity for PhD students. Please contact me if you 
are interested. See the short proposal sketched out below


*The **Snappy Title **Project*

Commons Machinery and partners are planning to apply for funding for a 
project, the goal of which is to bridge the gap between audiences and 
artists by making cultural material more useable online. Succinctly, 
we're developing tools that make it possible to link back to the 
original context of images, even when those images are distributed and 
shared widely online. With this e-mail, we're looking for partners in 
academia, among cultural institutions, artists, and from the community 
itself -- as thought partners, active participants in the project, 
participants in our reference group or in other forms.

*The Funding*

We're applying for a small scale Cooperation Project under Creative 
Europe, with an expected deadline for submission the 1st of October 
2014. The EU funds up to EUR 200,000 for small scale projects, and 
require a 40% co-financing by applicants. We're looking for a project 
that lasts 1½-2 years, with a start date in May 2015 - but we'll draft 
the final details in collaboration.

Organizations from any part of the world may join, but there are 
restrictions on the funding that could be made available for 
organizations from outside of the EU (and some other countries, full 
list on 


Our online environment is awash with images, however many of these 
images have been moved from their original context and no longer retain 
the information that gives them meaning. When organizations and 
individuals put images online they are often viewed in within a single 
web domain, collection or authorship. However, due to the ease in 
copying, images are often removed from their original contexts and, 
through this, they lose some of their meaning and value; it becomes 
impossible to trace them back to their origin. From a practical point of 
view, it's also an issue for users who want to correctly reuse an image 
in accordance with copyright legislation; they must save copyright and 
other information to adequately attribute the creator, and maintain this 
information through all stages of their work.

This system is unwieldy, complex, and unreliable. Using new technology 
with tool integration, information about the images could seamlessly 
follow the image without effort from the users. This system would not be 
limited to copyright basics such as authorship but can include a range 
of additional information about the image, for example, where the 
original is, which collection it belongs to, which organization retains 
rights to the image (if any!), and where users can learn more about the 

Such information could be automatically visualized and made available to 
users, even when they encounter images outside of their original 
context, for instance when an image has been shared online, posted in a 
forum, or made available on another web site. This is of interest to 
organizations connected with the image (such as galleries, libraries, 
archives, and museums). Such organizations, as well as the artists 
themselves and the audience, would all benefit from having a stronger 
association between each and every digital image and its' context.

*The **Solution **& Our Hypothesis*

Commons Machinery is working to create an infrastructure and the tools 
needed to make this association persistent. Our Elogio web service will 
enable an audience to save and use images, while keeping all relevant 
contextual information intact. It will also allow holders of information 
about images to make such information available through this common 
infrastructure in a way that when the audience encounter their images 
online, the contextual information is displayed, and when a user saves 
or uses an image, the original context is carried over into the 
resulting work.

Our hypothesis is that if this information is made available to the 
audience, it would increase the bond between audiences and artists, and 
between audiences and cultural institutions. By visualizing the context 
in which images used online originally has appeared, we believe that the 
viewers will feel a stronger connection with the artists and the 
institutions holding the originals, leading to a potential in retaining 
and enlarging their audience, as well as improving the experience of 
viewing images online and deepening the relationships.

*The Project & The **Test*

The technology is still in its early stages, and our hypothesis is just 
this -- a hypothesis. Through this project, we would hope to learn more 
about how this kind of technology can be used for audience engagement, 
and if it does indeed lead to deeper and more relevant relationships. We 
envision a project where each main partner has specific and 
complementary skill sets and expertise.

The content providers -- cultural institutions -- know their content and 
are interested in making it more usable to the public while ensuring 
that links back to their institution remain intact. Our systems 
developers will collaborate with these participating institutions in 
tailoring the system to their needs, providing education and training, 
and gathering data on its use.

Research partners will be engaged in the gathering and analysis of the 
empirical data through qualitative interviews with the participants, 
surveys among users, and analysis of the data generated from the use of 
the system. Researchers will be actively involved by conducting in depth 
interviews with stakeholders, gathering empirical data about each of 
their needs. The data from the use of the system together with 
interviews will provide material for researchers working to evaluate the 
system in the wider context of sharing cultural material online.

Community partners will be engaged throughout the project in raising 
awareness and interest in the project and the work by holding workshops, 
training sessions and facilitating other meetings involving the 
projects' stakeholder groups. The project will provide education and 
training materials about metadata and its usage to help content 
providers and individuals alike.

*What we're looking for*

If you, as an individual, as representing an organisation or 
institution, or your organization or institution as a whole, has an 
interest in the project, we invite you to email us at 
hello at commonsmachinery.se <mailto:hello at commonsmachinery.se> to 
introduce yourself. As mentioned in the beginning, we're looking for 
participants in our reference group of the project that will 
continuously influence the project by giving their thoughts on issues 
we'll be facing along the way.

We're also looking for GLAM institutions and other information holders 
who may want to participate in the project by delivering information to 
it, and, with our help, engaging with their own audiences to try the 
tools (primarily browser extensions). We can only have a very limited 
number of such core partners though, but we'll aim to make the 
instructions available broadly so that others can also participate.

In terms of research partners, we're looking for people and universities 
with a background and interest in researching these kinds of audience 
engagements through technology, or who have other complementary research 
agendas which they feel are interesting to explore in collaboration.

Mathias Klang,
Associate Professor, University of Göteborg
Website: http://klangable.com
US Cell: 215 882 0989

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