Open Architecture to Augment Landmarks for Location-Based Services

In the context of Images for the Future, The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision R&D department has designed and developed a complete technical architecture to support (mobile) location-based services for cultural heritage. This October, Sound and Vision will launch the first implementation based on this architecture in the form of an iPhone application that offers mobile access to relevant audiovisual heritage related to war monuments.

The architecture developed by Sound and Vision is based on a Drupal installation that connects to relevant open content repositories (for now: Open Images, Flickr: The Commons and Wikipedia) using their respective API’s, and enables the creation of (mobile) location-based services for cultural heritage. Locations in the real world are linked to digital heritage available online. By building a location-aware application that utilizes the location information and related audiovisual heritage stored in the Drupal installation, users can access relevant information – based on their GPS location to enrich their on-site experience. The architecture also supports applications to enable users to contribute comments and images to the locations themselves.

To promote reuse and further development of the architecture and to ensure that other institutions can easily participate, the complete architecture is based on open source components. Because all information and relations to the online content are centrally stored, it is relatively easy to develop applications on top of the Drupal based architecture. Because the content is separated from the application, this also makes the applications very lightweight. Applications can be an iOS based application (like our first iPhone application), but with a similar effort this can also be an Android of Symbian based application.

Report of the EuroITV 2010 Conference in Tampere, Finland

The 8th EuroITV Conference was held in Tampere, Finland on 9-11 June 2010. EuroITV is the leading conference on interactive television and video. Hosts of the conference were the Tampere University of Technology, the Helsinki University of Technology and the Tampere University of Applied Sciences.

This year’s theme “web.sharing.tv.content” created a space for a very broad range of topics, not only focussing on the television itself, but also on television content on the Internet, the mobile phone and crossovers between television and various other (social) media.

The first day of the conference was dedicated to tutorials, mainly about designing interactive television applications, and workshops about user experiences, the future of television and integrated, ambient television applications. The second and third day were filled with poster presentations, demonstrations and various sessions with a broad range of topics like personalization and recommendation systems, interactive applications and convergence and cross-media. These two days also included two keynotes by Marcos Gonzalez-Flower, Global Head of Media Consulting at Siemens UK and Jyri Huopaniemi, Director of the Nokia Research Center.

The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision has made a substantial contribution to the conference with a short paper presentation about expert search by broadcast professionals, two demonstrations about television and the semantic web, and browsing archival video with advanced video retrieval and last but not least, the Golden Award (first prize) for Waisda? in the Grand Challenge Competition.

Some conference highlights:

Methods for User Studies of Interactive (TV) Technologies

This full day workshop was chaired by Dr. Paul Marrow from BT Innovative & Design, Dr. Lydia Meesters from Eindhoven University of Technology and Prof. Marianna Obrist from the ICT&S Center of the University Salzburg. As the title of the workshop already suggests, this workshop wasn’t just about user studies methodologies for television technologies, but also for interactive technologies in general. Measuring user experiences for any interactive application is a very complex form of research, which requires a very pragmatic and ‘open’ research attitude. This workshop focussed on the many approaches that are used for measuring different levels of user experience. Approximately 20 people joined this workshop, which are all researchers working for various companies and universities, and doing research on interactive applications.

The morning programme contained presentations from the workshop participants about the various approaches and practices in researching user experience. In the afternoon session, participants were asked to pose a number of research questions and problems. After clustering these into main themes, the participants split up in three groups, where one theme was discussed in more detail. The results of the discussions were documented in a poster and presented to the other groups. The main insight of this day was that user experience has to be measured by combining various research methods, both quantitative and qualitative, and that the various stages within the product development require different forms of testing with different user groups.

Session ITV Applications for Communities

This session was scheduled to contain four presentations: two on mobile video sharing and two on digital archiving. Unfortunately, the speaker of the presentation about user inspired digital archiving of cultural heritage wasn’t able to attend, so the focus was mainly drawn towards video on mobile devices.

Mobile Video Sharing: Documentation Tools for Working Communities – Antti Koivisto

Antti Koivisto from Tampere University of Technology presented the development and the infrastructure of MoViE, a mobile application that allows users to create short clips of their environment and upload these to a website where they can share, edit and remix the content Together with his colleagues from Tampere university, he did a first test with the prototype during a festival and although users liked the application a lot, there were some technical issues like a failing Internet connection that made the use of the prototype difficult at times. The test results were used to improve the MoViE application and they are currently working on a new version.

Troubleshooting and Creating Joined Experience: Festival Personnel Engaging in Mobile Video – Anna Haverinen

This talk by Anna Haverinen from the University of Turku reported the results of the first MoViE tests from a user perspective. As a virtual anthropologist, she analysed the kind of content the test subjects created during the test. Eight festival employees acted as test subjects and were asked to shoot and upload videos during the festival. She discovered a great difference between the remarks that people made about the application and the actual use of it. For instance, some people for instance indicated that a commenting tool was very helpful and easy, without actually using it in practice.

Expert Search for Radio and Television: a Case Study amongst Dutch Broadcast Professionals – Wietske van den Heuvel

This talk was given by Wietske van den Heuvel from Sound and Vision. The presentation highlighted the results from a study in which eight broadcast professionals from various broadcasting companies were observed while performing searches with the online search system of Sound and Vision. The research focussed on the question if the task affects the professionals’ search strategy. Three kinds of factors were researched: difference in searching for radio or television content, difference in length (shots versus entire programs) and the influence of time restraints. Results from the study show there is no difference between the search strategies that are used during the performance of the tasks. People always use the same strategy, despite their information need.

The EuroITV 2010 Grand Challenge Competition

The Grand Challenge Competition honours the creation of interactive video content, applications, and services that enhance the television and video viewing experience. The entries are judged by an international jury of interactive media experts and the best entry is awarded with a prize of € 3,000. Three entries were nominated before the start of the conference:

  1. Smart Video Buddy: an application that analyses video streams and automatically detects semantic concepts, which are used to create links to related content.
  2. Smeet: one of the fastest growing online 3D world and chat community for entertainment and social viewing on the Internet.
  3. Waisda?: a video labeling game by Sound and Vision and KRO Broadcasting. The labels or ‘tags’added by Waisda? players can be used as time-related metadata, which improves the findability of the content.

The awards ceremony took place during the first keynote session on June 10, where Waisda? was named as the Grand Challenge winner. The nominated applications were also demonstrated during the rest of the conference day.

Demonstrations

The programme included various interesting demonstrations, two of which were given by Johan Oomen from Sound and Vision. The first demonstration concerned Video Active and EUscreen . Both projects provide free online access to Europe’s television heritage. Video Active ended in August 2009 and EUscreen started as its follow-up project in October 2009. Both projects are funded within the eContentplus programme of the European Commision. EUscreen will contain over 30,000 items and is one of the main audiovisual aggregators for Europeana. The EUscreen portal will be online in January 2011. The second demonstration showed the project Hollands Glorie op Pinkpop, which ended in February 2010. The project is a cooperation between Sound and Vision, Videodock, the University of Amsterdam and the University of Twente. By using automatic concept detection and speech recognition, videos of pop concerts and interviews with the musicians are searchable on individual shot level. Videos from the pop festival Pinkpop were used for this public demo website. Users could also give feedback on the level of retrieval and indicate if the concept detection was right or wrong. This feedback will be used to improve the concept detection technology.

Further reading

Read the full conference programme here
Conference report by CTOi Consulting

Mapping the field: location-based and mobile heritage in the Netherlands and beyond

Maarten Brinkerink, Wietske van den Heuvel & David van Toor – Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

Introduction

Within the context of the Images for the Future project the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision is exploring potential of mobile and location-based access to digital heritage. The goal is to explore how digital heritage can be combined with mobile technology and location awareness to offer an augmented reality (AR) to different types of end users. In this context AR functions by augmenting the physical reality of end users with contextual information using digital means.

At the moment, Sound and Vision is developing an iPhone application, in close collaboration with the Dutch National Memorial and Liberation Committee. This application will augment a selection of 200 war monuments in the Netherlands with relevant audiovisual information, with the use of location aware mobile technology.

Below you will find the current state of a desk research mapping the current state of local and mobile heritage in the Netherlands (and beyond): Read the rest of this entry »

Waisda? Video Labeling Game: Evaluation Report

The Waisda? (which translates to What’s that?) video labeling game was launched in May 2009. It invites users to tag what they see and hear and receive points for a tag if it matches a tag that their opponent has entered. Waisda? is the world’s first operational video labelling game. The underlying assumption is that tags are most probably valid if there’s mutual agreement. Over 2,000 people played the project and within six months, over 340k tags have been added to over 600 items from the archive. Initial findings have been published earlier, when the pilot period was still running. This evaluation report (PDF download, in Dutch), includes a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the tags, as well as a usability study of the game environment and a study into the incentives that apply to people playing the game. The evaluation report is written by Lotte Belice Baltussen, in collaboration with Maarten Brinkerink and Johan Oomen of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision R&D Department. Researchers at the VU University Amsterdam, Business Web & Media Section, also provided crucial input. The VU University Amsterdam carries out this research in light of their involvement in the PrestoPRIME European research project.

The evaluation report provides evidence that crowdsourcing video annotation in a serious, social game setting can indeed enhance retrieval of video in archives. It features success factors organizations need to take into account in setting up services that aim to actively engage their audiences online. The main conclusions are listed below:

Read the rest of this entry »

Archives and fans on Flickr: Seminar ‘Nationaal Archief joins Flickr the Commons’

On the 21st of October 2008, the Nationaal Archief (National Archive) and its partner Spaarnestad Photo placed a part of their collections on the Commons on Flickr. And not without success. During the seminar ‘Nationaal Archief joins Flickr the Commons’, George Oates of Flickr announced that the amount of visits to the Nationaal Archief pages had increased to 430.000 since the 21st of October.

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Photo: by Kennisland on Flickr.com

  • Download the report of the seminar here (English and Dutch version available):

Report seminar (English) or Verslag seminar (Nederlands)

  • Find photos of the seminar on:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kl/sets/72157608701768228/detail

  • Find the presentations on:

http://www.slideshare.com/kennisland/

  • Watch the video of the presentations:

Video presentation Fiona Romeo


Video presentation Judith Moortgat

During the seminar Judith Moortgat (Nationaal Archief), Georges Oates (Flickr) and Fiona Romeo (National Maritime Museum) gave presentations. Furthermore a panel discussion took place on the topcis ‘The user perspective’ (with Mettina Veenstra, Telematica Instituut), ‘The archival perspective’ (with Peter van den Doel, Spaarnestad Photo) and ‘Copyright issues’ (with Annemarie Beunen, Royal Library). The panel discussion was moderated by Dick Rijken (Haagse Hogeschool).

The discussion was very lively as experiences, ideas and opinions were exchanged. If you would like to find out more about the seminar, you can download a detailed report, all presentations, videos and ofcourse photos above! A final report of the pilot will be placed on this blog in due course.

Nationaal Archief publishes photos on Flickr The Commons

The National Archive (Nationaal Archief), the largest Dutch archive, has put a selection of their collection on Flickr The Commons . It’s the first Dutch heritage institution to join Flickr The Commons, a project intitiated by the US Library of Congress and international photo-sharing website Flickr.

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Click here for the pictures on Flickr The Commons

Parts of the special collection ‘Labour Inspectorate’, digitized in the Images for the Future framework, are placed onto the Flickr website. Users are invited to add tags and comments to the photos. As a result of the new collaboration between the National Archive and Spaarnestad Photo, photographs of this archive have been added to the Flickr collection as well.

On the 4th November, there is a seminar about the value of social tagging, with among others, delegates from Flickr and the National Maritime Museum. In the first two days, the photo’s have been viewed over 300.000 times and more than 400 comments have been added.

The Nationaal Archive is proud to be a member of The Commons on Flickr. Photographs of the Nationaal Archive that are part of the Commons on Flickr have “no known copyright restrictons”, this means that there are no copyright restrictions on the works designated, either because the Nationaal Archief owns the copyright of the photographs and authorizes others to use the work without restrictions, or because the copyright may have expired.

Knowledgeland evaluates pilot Media Education Platform

In June 2007, the Images for the Future Consortium kicked off a pilot project for secondary education – pilot Media Education Platform as its working title.

From March to June 2008, two pilot groups (teachers and pupils) worked with a digital educational resources platform that offered the consortium’s content, supplemented with external content, with several processing tools.

Knowledgeland has evaluated the opportunities offered by the pilot and is advising on the further development of a Media Education Platform. The main question posed in the evaluation was: how can the Images for the Future Project deliver a useful contribution to secondary education learning?

1. Market analysis pilot-Media Education Platform: Quickscan 1 secondary education.
Desk research and talks with our Board of Experts provided the foundation for this quickscan, which gives a bird’s eye view of secondary education in the Netherlands. The main goal was assessing pupils’, teachers’, and pupils’ needs and desires with respects to digital educational resources, as well as the social-political opportunities and hurdles surrounding them. Click here to download the quickscan (Dutch only).

2. Market analysis pilot-Media Education Platform: Quickscan 2 digital educational resources.
Part 2 delved into the R&D and demand-supply dynamics of digital educational resources, focusing mainly on the kinds of business models behind current and future offerings. This study’s main goal was researching the pilot Media Education Platform’s positioning corridors. Click here to download the quickscan (Dutch only).

Offering online access to audiovisual heritage for education

For the last 4 months we have been busy working with Dutch secondary schools in a pilot which experiments with giving online access todiverse 2008 audiovisual heritage. Recently we were welcomed at the DIVERSE 2008 conference to present some preliminary results, see also our short paper. DIVERSE is a community which shares experience about developing interactive visual educational resources for students all over the world.

One of the points which we stressed was that we found that although teachers and students liked the idea of working with audiovisual heritage, to use and reuse it into presentations and learning objects, it was hard for them to put this into actual practice.

In our discussion on the reasons why this is so hard, we found out that there are some commonalities with other projects and countries. This was also mentioned by someone as a “changing teaching paradigm”. We experienced that there’s not only lack of facilities and technical difficulties which made it hard for secondary schools to integrate our pilot in their curriculum. We also found a lack of ICT skills and imagination with teachers trying to take it into practice. Students weren’t much motivated because there was no full support from their teachers.

On behalf of the National Archives of the UK, Andrew Payne presented a similar project Focus on Film in wich students and teachers are able to use films from the archive. They can edit, show it to others and even download the original video. A lot of work was done on putting all material in an apprehensive context. Although he impressed us with the fact that in 1 year the project is running, 1000 people have already registred and there were 2,5 million visitors in one year, he agreed on the same difficulties.

How can we overcome this challenge? Today I attended a meeting at the Stranger festival where UK based think tank Demos spoke about their research on how youngh people are changing Europe. Celia and Tommy stressed that the ability to put information into representations (video etc.) is a skill like reading and writing which is likely to becoming more and more important to participate in civil society. This makes you think about whose responsibiliy it is to foster this. Will our educational system be able to take this responsibility? What is needed?

Nikki Timmermans | Knowledgeland

Interesting links

Below you’ll see some interesting reading material which could be useful one way or the other for our project Images for the Future (and of course other digitization projects). Click here for previous links. Some of the entries are in Dutch.

1. ‘Als ik op het bord ga, gaat m’n hart sneller kloppen’
2. Trent Reznor’s Path To Accepting And Embracing New Business Models
3. Eerste cijfers aantal video streams: Q1 2008
4. Topman Microsoft: Papieren krant over 10 jaar verdwenen
5. iTunes opens 700-film UK film download store
6. New copyright agreement provides greater online access to film
7. Eerste onderwijsgame ter wereld als open educational resource
8. Auteursrecht en het recht op informatie verzoend

Economies of the Commons Panel 1: Audiovisual Archives

The first panel Audiovisual Archives of the ‘Economies of Commons’ conference concentrates on the accessibility by digital technology for the wide public and education purposes. The new online access and distribution possibilities are discussed on a technical level and also in the perspective of national and international rights issues.

In his presentation ‘Inside the Media’, Pelle Snickars from the SLBA (National Media Archive Sweden) compares the actual situation of audiovisual archives to the first translation of the bible by Henry VIII. The distribution of the duplication of the text was taking place all over the Britain. But the bible was fixed in the place of worship by a chain for security reasons. Many of the audiovisual and media archives are placed in a similar situation. They keep their material on the shelves instead of making it accessible by new technologies. Through an architecture of participation and Chris Anderson’s long tale, Snickars argues that the age of mass media is transformed to the age of masses of media by the huge amount of media producers on the web. Improved access needs to be a guiding principle.

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The Creative Archive launched by the British Film Institut (BFI) in 2005 aims to develop a digital portfolio and give a public value to the institution. The user can access material for free and create new clips by playing around with the moving images in order to re-contextualize them. It is not an economic model but more an educational one. Poppy Simpson from the BFI stresses that the future of access to archival material is a hybrid model with tired access or electronic guides. Functionality has to be developed to re-use the material in a more intensive manner.

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Tobias Golodnoff from the Danish radio and television archive (Dansk Culturav) argues that the value of the archive is generated by its use. Making the material on-line available means giving it back to the public. The case study of the Danish archive shows how the public can participate and interact with the archive. The project Bonanza invited the public to participate in the preservation project by voting which audiovisual material should be digitized in a first phase. The Web 2.0 application gives the opportunity to the user to be an innovator and to develop on projects that are officially over but still on the internet.

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In France the INA (Institut National de l’Audiovisuel) operates with a more commercial model that can be considered as a VOD platform. The archive proposes audiovisual material through the internet on a B2B or B2P model. The activity of on-line access is extremely costly and advertisement or sponsoring can help to develop the services. Once archives are online it’s not enough. There should be an added value to be found to maintain interest. We must adapt to how people use online video today. The challenge is to join with content the creation of new users experience. Roei Almit from INA thinks that there is not only one business model that will answer all our needs.

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It is not enough to put the material on the web. The add of value and the contextualization of the user can help to keep the audiovisual data interesting.