Open Architecture to Augment Landmarks for Location-Based Services

Friday, October 8th, 2010

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.


Library of Congress releases report on Flickr pilot

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

After 9 months The Library of Congress (LoC) released a detailed report on their Flickr pilot. In January 2008 the LoC and Flickr launched Flickr Commons. They uploaded a few thousand historical photos which have drawn more than 10 million views, 7,166 comments and more than 67,000 tags, according to the new report from the project team. The project had an unexpected impact:

“The pilot spurred many positive yet unexpected outcomes—especially Flickr members’ willingness to devote great effort to photo-related detective work and their level of engagement with historical images. Further, Flickr members have often drawn on personal histories to connect with the pictures, including memories of farming practices, grandparents’ lives, women’s roles in World War II, and the changing landscape of local neighborhoods”


Photo: Library of Congress, Germany Schaefer, Washington AL (baseball), 1911.

If you want to read in more detail how the LoC organised and experienced the pilot, you can download the whole Flickr report LoC here.


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

Monday, November 17th, 2008

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.


Photo: by Kennisland on

  • 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:

  • Find the presentations on:

  • 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.


Remembring the First World War with the Commons on Flickr

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Today, November 11, 2008 is the 90th anniversary of Armistice Day, the day the First World War came to an end. In addition to the two newest members of the Commons on Flickr, the Australian War Memorial and the Imperial War Museum, all members shared their photographs under the “Armistice Day” tag.

 As Nordström of the Geoges Eastman House puts forward beautifully:

“Today these pictures feel curiously like memory, though it is the photographs themselves we remember rather than the people and events they depict. [...] This is why we invite you to look, and look hard, at these fragments assembled from photograph collections around the world. From them we may piece together some notion of this, our first Modern trauma, and find in them, perhaps, the roots and resonances of our current dilemmas” – Alison Nordström, Curator of Photographs, George Eastman House

Also the Nationaal Archief and Spaarnestad Photo contribute to this unique online collection with some gorgeous and intersting photographs.


Photo: Eerste Wereldoorlog, vluchtelingen (1918) on Flickr.


Nationaal Archief publishes photos on Flickr The Commons

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

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.


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.


The Commons – Library of Congress photo’s on Flickr

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

The Library of Congress and Flickr together announced a pilot to put a selection of the photo collection of the LOC on Flickr. The community will tag. Will it also capture the imagination of other institutions?

Out of some 14 million prints, photographs and other visual materials at the Library of Congress, more than 3000 photos from two of the most popular collections are being made available on the new Flickr page. Including only images for which no copyright restrictions are known to exist.

The Library of Congress is not the first putting their archive on Flickr to gain more visibility and accessibility. A lot of prominant museums already did, like the Brooklyn Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Powerhouse Museum and the Smithsonian American Art Museum & the Renwick Museum. They all put their collection in a place where people actually spend more time than on the website of the museum itself.

The Commons
So, would this grand announcement be just a clever marketing trick to get the attention of the internet savvy youth? Maybe. But The Library of Congres doesn’t want to be just another collection on Flickr. They officially partnered with Flickr to move the Flickr community to tag the photo’s and baptised the pilot “The Commons”.

Their goal is to increase exposure to the collections and to facilitate the collection of general knowledge with the hope that this information can feed back into the catalogues, making them richer and easier to search. With this pilot the Library of Congress embraces the “power of the web”, as we can read on their blog:

We’re also very excited that, as part of this pilot, Flickr has created a new publication model for publicly held photographic collections called “The Commons.” Flickr hopes—as do we—that the project will eventually capture the imagination and involvement of other public institutions, as well. From the Library’s perspective, this pilot project is a statement about the power of the Web and user communities to help people better acquire information, knowledge and—most importantly—wisdom.

I hope that this pilot will get the attention of other institutions and encourage them to explore the rules of the web more profoundly. If you take a look at the collection already tagged it is impressive to see that some objects already have 25 tags. Somebody got payed to do this?

For the press release of the Library of Congress pilot on Flickr click here.