[OpenGLAM] The Snappy Title Project - looking for partners

Jonas Öberg jonas at shuttleworthfoundation.org
Tue Jul 15 20:33:57 UTC 2014

Dear all,

I thought this project idea might be of interest to some of you here.
Please feel free to send this onwards if you wish.

*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

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

 *The* *Background*

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 image.

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

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 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.

 We're also flexible about other roles and arrangements – please reach out
and let us know your thoughts!


Jonas Öberg

Commons Machinery
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