Thematic Programme Overview

EuropeanaTech is the final conference of the EU project EuropeanaConnect and is organised in collaboration with the Europeana Foundation. It will explore technical challenges of making digital cultural and scientific information attractive and easily accessible for the public. An important goal of this conference is to build the community of technical and scientific experts in the field. At the core of the conference are interaction, demonstration and the exchange of experiences.

The main strands of the conference will be:

1. Open Source:

Chair: Vassilis Tzouvaras

This session will discuss opportunities of open source development in the Europeana environment. It will look at how open source can ideally be implemented, managed, supported and promoted. Business and use cases will be featured.

This session will examine the premises of the open source initiative: "Open source is a development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process. The promise of open source is better quality, higher reliability, more flexibility, lower cost, and an end to predatory vendor lock-in."

Several open source software tools have been developed in Europeana's related projects, independent organisations and the Europeana office itself. The main principle and practice of Europeana's open source software development is peer production by bartering and collaboration, with the Europeana-product, source-material and documentation available at no cost.

2. Open Data: what can you do with it?

Chair: Stefan Gradmann

While there is growing consensus regarding the architecture and theoretical framework of open data, we are lacking showcase applications and practical uses of semantic technology. This session will demonstrate the potential benefits of open data.

The principle of Linked Data being essentially open naturally applies to data created by public bodies - principally because the data has been paid for with taxpayers' money. Recently this has led to policy directives for public sector information (PSI). One of the core tasks Europeana is investigating is the semantic and social contextualisation of cultural heritage, such as referencing in geographic, temporal or conceptual paradigms. A great deal of structured data is available within the heritage sector's information systems that could be published as authoritative datasets for the Web of Data. Making data openly available for sharing offers a powerful tool for knowledge-generation, creating greater overall social and economic value than one derived from combining proprietary efforts in closed data silos.

Demonstrating working applications will be one of the leading principles of this session. It will highlight prime examples of Linked Open Data, the challenges in building open data applications and lay out the business case for Linked Open Data in a hands-on collaborative way.

3. Aggregation and (Meta-) Data Quality

Chair: Runar Bergheim

This session will explore the concept of both the creation of quality data and making that metadata available outside its original context through Europeana or other aggregators. Presentations will shed light on the role of and sustainable business case for metadata aggregation and provide inspiration through examples of good (and possibly bad) practices in data management and ingestion. The session will also demonstrate how metadata enrichment and crowd-sourcing can complement manual cataloguing as well as show how heterogeneous data may be integrated and represented in richer semantic contexts. The stand-off between two opposite approaches to making content interoperable on the web will be discussed: namely, automatically generated indexes as used by the major search engines and manually crafted metadata profiles as used in the Europeana community.

4. Explore and Discover

Chair: Sjoerd Siebinga

In recent years, we have seen an explosion in the volume of data and knowledge structures becoming openly available in the cultural heritage domain. The focus has now shifted from finding relevant information to how this deluge of information can be contextualised in intuitive user interaction and interface patterns. The rise of mobile touch devices and location-aware services have changed expectations about interacting with information visualisation.

In this track, we focus on how new tools and services that have become available through the wider Europeana network have contributed to these developments and which future avenues will be explored. We will look at how re-usable focused APIs and visualisations can help provide new views on multilingual, spatial and temporal dimensions of cultural heritage objects and on interactivity with large amounts of data.

Next to discovery and contextualisation, functionality that enables playful exploration of data has been shown to increase user loyalty and participation. During the track, we will demonstrate real life examples from the industry and open-source community that show how visualisation transforms our perception of information.

5. Distributed Community Empowerment

Chair: Johan Oomen

This session will not only showcase excellent examples of participation and user generated content in the GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) domain, but it will also examine the underlying managerial and operational dimensions to distributed community empowerment.

The mass digitisation of analogue holdings is key to heritage organizations becoming an integral part of the web. In the case of fragile carriers, digitisation is a means to ensure long-term preservation of the information. Digitisation is also a precondition for creating new access routes to collections. Once cultural artefacts are digital and part of an open network, they can be shared, recommended, remixed, mashed, embedded and cited. In this way even the most obscure artefacts can command attention. GLAMs and their users are now beginning to inhabit the same, shared information space.

Innovative new services are being launched that explore this fundamentally new paradigm of participation in the GLAM domain. Participation can have a big impact on the workflows of heritage institutions, for instance, by inviting users to assist in the selection, cataloguing, contextualisation and curation of collections. These new forms of interaction can also lead to a deeper level of involvement of users with the collections. Furthermore, the adaptation of usage tracking tools can be applied not only for evaluation purposes, but also as basis for more personalised services. This session will demonstrate what has been done in this field.