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.

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

1. Volledige collectie Nederlandse films online
2. Transmedia regeling 60 jaar televisie
3. Dutch Library DOK’s New Cutting-edge Community Tech Projects
4. Vlaamse omroepen: Personal video recorder’s maken ons product kapot
5. Gevolgen bezuinigingen op cultuur onderschat (pdf)
6. Europese volksraadpleging over digitalisering cultureel erfgoed
7. Auteurschap op de schop
8. Voor wie het vergeten was: Why Value Archives?

ClosAR: A Multidisciplinary Research Project on Audiovisual Archives and AR

Within the context of the Images for the Future project the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision is – as mentioned before on this weblog – 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.

As part of this exploration Sound and Vision partnered with the V2_ Institute for the Unstable Media to initiate a multidisciplinary research project (later named ClosAR). The goal of the collaboration was explore new approaches to bring the audiovisual (AV) archive closer to its audience using innovative methods of presentation and interaction, such as augmented reality. The ClosAR group is comprised of five members with a background in new media studies, art science, industrial design engineering, and virtual games.

In their final report (you can download a PDF version here) Bas Bergervoet, Kate Cunningham, Aestha van Dam, Shauna Jin and Connie Yeh propose seven concept directions as possible starting points for Sound and Vision and V2_, with references to the background research and intermediate process:

The classic archive is static: a tomb where “official” documents, media, and information collect dust. Digital technology opens opportunities for information access and presentation, and most notably, participation. As the archive only exists to be accessed, the relationship between itself and its audience is quite important. Augmented reality (AR) brings dynamic information into the physical world. While Beeld en Geluid seeks to improve its visibility outside of its “Experience” and on- site archive search through mobile access, we explored the off-site extreme. How does moving the context of the archive open up possibilities for new interactions? What is the minimum amount of technology needed to achieve this?

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

CATCH Symposium: Digital Cultural Heritage Goes Social – Amsterdam, June 11

On June 11, the Agora research project will host a symposium entitled “Digital Cultural Heritage Goes Social”. During this afternoon, there will be talks and discussions with internationally renowned researchers and cultural heritage professionals about the possible interaction between the social web and cultural heritage. Sound and Vision is a principal partner in the Agora project.

Invited speakers and panelists:

Carmen Iannacone, Chief Technology Officer for the Smithsonian Institution. He is responsible for evaluating and implementing new technologies  for use in the Smithsonian IT infrastructure, and for optimizing  performance of its IT operations. The Institution’s nineteen museums and  research stations provide a diverse technology climate, and his role is  an integral liaison between centralized IT and the public. Prior to  joining the Smithsonian, Carmen Iannacone served as director of  worldwide IT operations for the Federal Acquisition Service of the  General Services Administration (GSA), and was partner a software  development consultancy in Alexandria, VA. He holds several patents for  software and lives in Sterling, VA. More information about Smithsonian  Institution: http://www.si.edu/

Read the rest of this entry »

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. Spotify: Wapen tegen illegaal downloaden
2. Archief Beeld en Geluid ook voor Suriname
3. Layar announces Layar Stream: search and discovery for Augmented Reality
4. Staatssecretaris OC&W noemt Open Beelden als praktijkvoorbeeld van open video
5. European Parliament backs digital plans
6. Grote beeldcollecties visualiseren met Pivot
7. XS4ALL wil ‘Muziek en film 4ALL’.
8. Video search still a tough nut to crack
9. Public Domain Calculators at Europeana

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. Piratenpartij wil vrije informatiesamenleving
2. Raad voor Cultuur: instellingen moeten meer netwerken
3. New digital preservation video from the Library of Congress
4. Meanwhile in India
5. The myth of digital versus analogue
6. Europeana publishes Public Domain Charter
7. Lawrence Lessig: “Getting Our Values around Copyright Right”
8. One million new items on Europeana
9. Blogpost ‘Copyright turns 300’
10. Meldpunt Digitalisering
11. Publicatie ‘Understanding metadata’
12. Publicatie Converging pathways to new knowledge

Our MW2010 Workshop: user involvement

April 17th 9.30AM
Museums and the Web (MW) is an annual conference exploring the various issues of culture, science and heritage on-line. MW features many formats such as plenary sessions, project demonstrations and workshops (named “Interactions”) each focussing on social, cultural, technological, economic, design and organisational issues. With representatives from institutions from 20+ countries worldwide, MW provides broad perspectives on issues and impacts of networked cultural, natural and scientific heritage.
The project Images for the Future will host a workshop on April 17th from 9:30 to 10:30 AM called “Many Heads Is Better Than One” (find the paper here (http://www.archimuse.com/mw2010/papers/oomen/oomen.html)). Our workshop will focus on the theme of user involvement. An important issue, since cultural heritage institutions have a public duty to make their collections available to a wide audience. But we also like to see our audiences as valuable sources of information, instead of mere ‘consumers’. Therefore, in many projects we try to engage these crowds as much as possible in our effort of gaining knowledge about our materials and stimulating various forms of reuse. In our short but interactive workshop, we will dig deeper into these themes and start a dialogue about whether our thoughts are up to speed with other people’s experiences and views on these matters.
We will organise our session around a model, used to map out emerging services from the heritage domain, pre-filled with MW2010 projects. These will be mapped out in two dimensions:
1. The organisational model behind the service (open vs. closed), and
2. What audience the service was targeted on (amateur vs. professional);
Being among people involved in these projects, we start our session with a discussion about the placement of the projects within the model. Were we right in mapping your projects as such? Once we agree on the positions, we could take the exercise a step further by positioning additional projects, coming from the participants of the session.
At this point we hope to bring the analysis of user involvement to the next level. Together with the participants we hope to gather and cluster lessons learned from the projects positioned within the model, starting with the two case examples from our paper, then moving on to experiences from the participants. In doing this, we hope to uncover common insights for particular clusters within the model. These insights could then – ideally – serve as guidelines for future projects positioned in the same cluster, making the exercise of trying to map future projects on our model a valuable effort [afbeelding].
We welcome all MW2010 participants to speak out and join in our short but hopefully relevant mini-workshop. Hope to see you on April 17th, 9:30AM [whereabouts unknown].
The results the workshop will be made available on this blog.

April 17th 9.30AM

Museums and the Web (MW) is an annual conference exploring the various issues of culture, science and heritage on-line. MW features many formats such as plenary sessions, project demonstrations and workshops (named “Interactions”) each focussing on social, cultural, technological, economic, design and organisational issues. With representatives from institutions from 20+ countries worldwide, MW provides broad perspectives on issues and impacts of networked cultural, natural and scientific heritage.

The project Images for the Future will host a workshop on April 17th from 9:30 to 10:30 AM called “Many Heads Is Better Than One” (find the paper here). Our workshop will focus on the theme of user involvement. An important issue, since cultural heritage institutions have a public duty to make their collections available to a wide audience. But we also like to see our audiences as valuable sources of information, instead of mere ‘consumers’. Therefore, in many projects we try to engage these crowds as much as possible in our effort of gaining knowledge about our materials and stimulating various forms of reuse. In our short but interactive workshop, we will dig deeper into these themes and start a dialogue about whether our thoughts are up to speed with other people’s experiences and views on these matters.

We will organise our session around a model (see image hereunder), used to map out emerging services from the heritage domain, pre-filled with MW2010 projects. These will be mapped out in two dimensions:

1. The organisational model behind the service (open vs. closed), and

2. What audience the service was targeted on (amateur vs. professional).

The model with a selection of MW2010 projects

The model with a selection of MW2010 projects

Being among people involved in these projects, we start our session with a discussion about the placement of the projects within the model. Were we right in mapping your projects as such? Once we agree on the positions, we could take the exercise a step further by positioning additional projects, coming from the participants of the session.

At this point we hope to bring the analysis of user involvement to the next level. Together with the participants we hope to gather and cluster lessons learned from the projects positioned within the model, starting with the two case examples from our paper, then moving on to experiences from the participants. In doing this, we hope to uncover common insights for particular clusters within the model. These insights could then – ideally – serve as guidelines for future projects positioned in the same cluster, making the exercise of trying to map future projects on our model a valuable effort.

We welcome all MW2010 participants to speak out and join in our short but hopefully relevant mini-workshop. Hope to see you on April 17th, 9:30AM at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Denver.

The results the workshop will be made available on this blog.

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 »

Celluloid Remix – Lessons learned

In this document Annelies Termeer of EYE Film Institute Netherlands describes step by step the development and the approach of the online video remix competition Celluloid Remix, organized in 2009 by EYE (then Filmmuseum), Knowledgeland and Images for the Future. This document aims to inform archives or museums wishing to plan a similar project about the do’s and don’ts.

See also www.celluloidremix.nl and celluloidremix.blip.tv

Background Celluloid Remix

As part of the large-scale digitization project Images for the Future, the Filmmuseum restores and digitizes a large part of its film collection. An important – already digitized – subcollection of the Filmmuseum consists of Dutch Early Cinema.

Early cinema was to a certain extent a semi-finished product. The film was often accompanied by someone who provided explanation, and by a musician or a small orchestra playing background music. It also occurred that the one who held the show cut the film, and then created his/her own compilation with material from another source (sometimes his/her own footage). Here, an analogy is found between the practice of early film screening and the contemporary remix practice.

To experiment with the possibilities of digitized film material the Filmmuseum, in collaboration with Images for the Future and Knowledgeland, organized Celluloid Remix: an online remix contest using footage from the collection.

Starting points

  • Provide 21 (public domain) fragments from the Filmmuseum’s collection.
  • Theme: “Modern Times”.
  • Duration of the contest: 15 April until 1 September 2009.
  • Publication under Creative Commons license, with a choice between two licenses:
  • Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license (CC-BY-NC-SA) and Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license
  • Every contestant uses his/her own remix software. We provided tips and suggestions for useful programmes.
  • Maximum length entries: five minutes.
  • Four prizes available:
  • First prize: a remix package of €1,000.- to spend as desired on hardware or software (for instance Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 or Final Cut Studio 2); Gouden Kalf ticket to the Dutch Film Festival; one year free admission to the Filmmuseum.
    Second prize: Flip MinoHD camera; Gouden Kalf ticket to the Dutch Film Festival; one year free admission to the Filmmuseum.
    Third and fourth prize: a Resolume Avenue 3 VJ software package.

Objectives

  • Establishing and increasing the name of the Images for the Future project among young people; demonstrating that an important part of our cultural heritage is being disclosed, which is relevant for the contemporary, personal experience of culture.
  • Inspiring other heritage institutions to disclose their collections on external platforms to a young and broad audience.
  • Introducing a new target group (young creatives) to the (collection of the) Filmmuseum.
  • Drawing attention to the Dutch Early Cinema collection.
  • Inspiring other heritage institutions to create an environment in which end users can reuse the heritage.
  • Exchanging knowledge regarding copyright issues and open content models for the heritage sector.
  • Showing higher education institutes in the field of film culture, film production and film art that the Images for the Future project saves and discloses an important part of our cultural heritage for use and reuse.

Project organization. Duration: December 2008 until September 2009

  1. From January onwards – choosing footage based on theme (Modern Times) and availability (footage without copyright; public domain).
  2. Selecting online access platform: blip.tv. On this platform, various video formats can be downloaded and uploaded. We provided Celluloid Remix footage in .mov as well as in .ogg format.
  3. Launching website celluloidremix.nl.
  4. 15 April 2009 – launch at BeamLab, in Pakhuis de Zwijger (Amsterdam).
  5. Generating publicity (press release, e-mail, Facebook, Hyves, Twitter).
  6. Approaching schools and academies for cooperation: participation in the contest and possible adaptation in course programme.
  7. June/July/August – organizing workshops at Willem de Kooning Academy / Crosslab, VJ Academy, Hogeschool Rotterdam (HRO) Crossmedia, BeamLab Summer School and the Netherlands Media Art Institute Summer School (NIMK). Under supervision of among others Eboman, Ruud Lanfermeijer and Jaromil those people interested could start working on the footage.
  8. 1 September – entry deadline.
  9. 8 September – jury deliberation and shortlist compilation.
  10. 25 September – final event during Dutch Film Festival. Shortlist entries are shown and prizes are awarded to four winners.

Ambassador and cooperative partners
In an early stage we requested the renowned Dutch sample artist Eboman to make the first remix of the available footage. At the same time, this remix was used as promotion film for the competition. In addition, we asked him to be the ambassador of Celluloid Remix. This improved the competition’s status and image.

By cooperating with various parties (BeamLab, VJ Academy, Netherlands Media Art Institute, Dutch Film Festival, Willem de Kooning Academy) we tried to reach interested groups and increase the support for the contest.

Results

  • Total entries: 54 (more than expected: we assumed 30-40 entries).
  • Source of entries: the contestants were mainly attracted online. 13 out of the 54 entries came from workshop participants, the rest came through online word of mouth. Social networks: 23 contestants were members of the Celluloid Remix Facebook and Hyves group. However, there was minimal online discussion or conversation between contestants.
  • Timing: most entries were submitted at the last moment. The total amount of entries halted at 14/15 for quite a while, the rest came in during the last two days.
  • Style: narrative/documentary character (29) featuring a personal quest, next came VJ (13), animation/art (8), humour (3), promotion/advertising (1).
  • Atmosphere/ contestants’ reactions:
    • Motivation to compete: fun to play with the old material. Profile: amateurs and semi-professionals, people following creative courses. Enthusiasm/dedication: Two contestants submitted three entries, one contestant submitted two. Several people participated in both workshops.
    • Appreciation of the Filmmuseum‘s new look and review of the events: Jata Haan (Movement): “Digitization projects like Images for the Future and websites supporting the Creative Commons license, like Flickr and The Freesound Project, have established a culture of reusable and more accessible digital media. In due time these cooperation projects should gain popularity, receiving the support they deserve.”
    • Enthusiasm/dedication: Two contestants submitted three entries, one contestant submitted two. Several people participated in both workshops. o    Appreciation of the Filmmuseum‘s new look and review of the events: Jata Haan (Movement): “Digitization projects like Images for the Future and websites supporting the Creative Commons license, like Flickr and The Freesound Project, have established a culture of reusable and more accessible digital media. In due time these cooperation projects should gain popularity, receiving the support they deserve.”

Evaluation
In general

  • Celluloid Remix had a positive effect on the image of the Filmmuseum.
  • Celluloid Remix created a name and goodwill among, and connection with a new, young target group.
  • Eboman’s role as ambassador was important.
  • Cooperation of various partners went well – positive effect on reach.
  • The workshops led by professionals were very much appreciated, and were also necessary; many users needed tips and support.
  • The competition was now held locally (in the Netherlands). Could next editions be held internationally?

Points of interest

  • Allot enough time to select footage and theme.
  • Create the right balance between informing and stimulating the audience.
  • In practice, Blip.tv was not the best solution to facilitate Celluloid Remix. For the next edition, we will search for other platforms.
  • A five-minute remix turned out to be too long: decrease the maximum duration of entries to four minutes.
  • Various contestants asked for higher resolution footage: next time it should be available. Now the maximum width was 480 pixels.
  • We could have made more of the partnership with Dutch Film Festival: more attention in, and more connection with the festival programme. A different screening platform could be more suitable.
  • Focus on one target group instead of several.
  • As for the cooperation with the academies, the timing of Celluloid Remix 2009 could have been better – they were very busy working on the final presentations and exams in May/June. Initiate cooperation with academies earlier.