Through my work in the archive and exploring our digital collections I’ve encountered several incredible photographs. Recently I have been preoccupied with thoughts on how we provide access to these images, and particularly how digital technology allows us to explore things in particular ways.
Through digitisation we have extremely high-resolution copies of original documents. These act as surrogates that we can share much more widely online, proving access beyond only to people who are physically close enough to visit the archives in person, which is great; access and knowledge are democratised. What I’ve found in looking through these high-resolution digital copies is that they change how I look at images.
This shows the interior of a tank factory during the First World War. The composition and lighting are striking. The sense of scale and level of industry and resources, both in terms of workers and material, are made very apparent.
The digital copy of this image was scanned at a resolution of 6,919 x 5,656 pixels. At this extremely high-resolution we can zoom right in and explore the image in great detail. As I zoomed and panned around I ended up lingering on different sections of the image, fascinated by vignettes I was seeing. I was drawn to the people.
The first thing I did was zoom in on the area showing the boys at the work bench. They seem so incredibly young. Looking back at the image as a whole, you can see them, but at this scale they become individuals, with their own lives.
These different faces and poses have such personality. My colleague and I spent time a long time exploring this one image, fascinated by all the individuals. As you go through each part in this way, zooming in and panning around, the screen becomes a new frame within the original frame of the photograph. Isolating elements of the photo in this way allows you to see things in different ways, and obviously at an incredible level of detail.
It seems clear that the workers have been called to look towards the camera. Some are posing, some are looking up from their work, and others are ignoring it and just carrying on.
Look at the pose of the man leaning on the tank tracks!
The upshot of all this is that I found this ability to zoom all the way in and pan around the image was a different experience to looking at the photograph as a whole. One could compare the experience to that of looking closely at a physical print of a photograph with a magnifying glass. I think the point is that we should carefully consider how we present digital copies of material to users. The technology is now such that we can provide this experience to people online, whereas even relatively recently a digital copy was a lesser version of the original, but at least you could see something. And having found that the experience of roving across the photograph impacted the thoughts and questions that were coming to me, I think it’s more than just ‘oh, we can stick really high-resolution images of photos online.’ The act of zooming and panning to create new frames within the image felt very different to just panning around a fixed level of zoom.
Due to storage limitations I can’t share the same experience in this blog. But there are tools available that mean in the near future we should be able to provide this experience to users accessing material remotely, looking through collections online. This democratises not only the access to material but also to the experience of getting extremely close to material.
A ‘tail’ of a house and the emergence of a new breed of dog: the ‘Golden Retriever’, by Barbara Cornford.
In my role as a metadata assistant I have the joy of reading the personal diaries of many a well-known historical figure, the day to day joys, misery, shenanigans; in most cases written by persons from a very privileged strata of British society. I am currently working on the diaries of Lady Jean Hamilton. Through her wonderful writings I can share her day to day thoughts, actions and friendships – she is deliciously explanatory and self- aware, which engenders empathy from the reader.
I have a natural curiosity, it is not enough for me just to know that the object of my work stayed or visited with friends in this house or that house, I like to research to see if I can find out what the house looked like and if it still exists so that I can share a little of what has been described; the approach to such houses, their thoughts and opinions of the exterior and interior and the appreciation of the landscape surrounding them. One such house Lady Hamilton was invited to was Guisachan in Scotland as the guest of Lady Tweedmouth. In 1854 the Guisachan Estate was bought by Edward Dudley Coutts Marjoribank, who later in 1881 became Lord Tweedmouth.
Lord Tweedmouth had built lodges for visitors, kennels for his dogs, farm steads and importantly a new village which was called Tomich. He then began to move tenants from their crofts because they were too near the main house: they had no choice but to be relocated. The village was provided with a school, brewery and laundry.
Lord Tweedmouth was very interested in dogs of the hunting and sporting kind and at Guisachan he established a new breed. ‘Nous’, a wavy coated retriever, was bred with ‘Belle’ a Tweed Water spaniel: this created three yellow wavy-coated puppies which were named Primrose, Crocus [a male dog] and Cowslip – the first ‘Golden retrievers’ were born.
Nous in old age
Those Golden Retriever owners who are aware of the importance of Guisachan and Lord Tweedmouth go on an annual pilgrimage to what is left of the house and grounds in celebration of the breed. In July 2013, the Golden Retriever Club of Scotland hosted more than 350 people from 15 countries and 222 golden retrievers at a gathering on the Guisachan grounds. Not long afterwards, an organisation called the Friends of Guisachan [www.friendsofguisachan.org] raised money for a statue of a Golden Retriever at Guisachan to commemorate the achievement of Lord Tweedmouth.
The GRCS will be hosting a ‘Guisachan Gathering’ in July 2018. The gathering will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Golden Retriever breed at Guisachan House by Lord Tweedmouth. The event will begin on Monday 16th July 2018 and end with a Breed Championship Show at Cannich on Friday 20th July 2018.
To return to the house, it now lies as a ruinous shell, purchased and denuded of its contents, roof and anything of value. Open to the elements and almost totally destroyed, it shines like a beacon to those who know and love the breed called the Golden Retriever.
On Monday the 11th of November, 1907 Kaiser Wilhelm II the German Emperor and King of Prussia arrived in Portsmouth aboard his imperial yacht, the SMY Hohenzollern, for a week-long visit to Britain. The Emperor was met by a welcoming partly consisting of the Prince of Wales, Lord Roberts, the German ambassador, and one Colonel Henry de Beauvoir De Lisle. The group headed directly to Windsor from the coastal city to be hosted by King Edward VII, Wilhelm’s Uncle and the eldest son of the late Queen Victoria.
De Lisle, who would later achieved the rank of General, had been invited to welcome the Kaiser and travel to Windsor due to his connection to the Prince and Princess of Wales and Mr Connaught, but described himself in a letter to his mother as, “the least important of anyone in the castle.”
Despite this, De Lisle’s collection of papers relating to the state visit provide an interesting insight into the visit and a personal story about how he was decorated by the Kaiser.
After arriving at Windsor De Lisle was greeted by the King who joked he did not recognise him as hitherto he had only seen De Lisle at formal occasions in his military uniform. What he did recognise though was that De Lisle was not wearing a German decoration for this occasion and asked him why that was the case, to which De Lisle replied that he did not have one.
On hearing this Edward VII said “I will tell the Emperor he must decorate you,” and De Lisle woke up the very next day to find he had been awarded the foreign honour of the Order of the Red Eagle by the Kaiser.
Above you will see the hand signed Order for De Lisle by the German Emperor, 16 November, 1907. De Lisle was given private permission by his Majesty to wear the Insignia of the Red Eagle at events with the presence of German Emperor or members of the royal family of Prussia.
While adding metadata to the album of photographs and ephemera of Brigadier John Alan Lyde Caunter (1889 – 1981) I became interested in the fact that during World War One he had escaped from captivity in a German prisoner of war camp. I would like his achievement to be brought to the fore through this blog as in 2017 it will be a century since he made ‘his great escape’.
Our room at Crefeld camp (Caunter 92)
Captain (later Brigadier) John Alan Lyde Caunter of the 1st Battalion the Gloucestershire Regiment was taken prisoner during World War One by the Germans, captured at Gheluveld on the 31st October 1914 while on active service near Ypres. Upon capture he was confined in Crefeld prisoner of war camp and then with 400 other officers of differing nationalities moved to a camp at Schwarmstedlt, Hanover; eventually managing to escape in the summer of 1917.
During the journey to get back to England he met two other escapees, one of whom was Captain Fox D.S.O (an Irishman) of the Scots Guards. Together the two men managed to reach the Dutch frontier and safety – although during the last 24 hours they became separated. Upon their return to England on July 7th 1917 they were photographed together outside the Guards Club in the clothes they had worn during their hard won journey to freedom.
Outside the Guards Club (Caunter 3 and Caunter 4)
On the 18th July 1917 both men were invited to Buckingham Palace for an hour long audience with King George V.
Seeing the King (Caunter 15)
Captain Caunter wrote of his adventures in a book entitled 13 days an escape from a German prison, published in 1918, which also contained hand drawn illustrations by the author. The book is now out of copyright and can be downloaded free from various internet eBook providers for those that are interested in his story. The following is a review of the book copied from a newspaper cutting that was in an album of photographs and ephemera belonging to Caunter.
BRITISH OFFICER’S THIRTEEN DAYS JOURNEY TO FREEDOM
ESCAPE FROM GERMANY
Life and letters by J.C Squire published in Land and Water October 10th 1918.
“Captain Caunter was taken in 1914; he went to Crefeld and thence to Schwarmstedlt, in Hanover. His escape from the camp was extraordinarily ingenious and of the prolong nerve racking kind. He got on a top shelf in the parcels room, before the very eyes of a German; lay there, cramped and stifling, for hours; then stole out of the window while a sentry on each side turned his back. He crossed two rivers – there is a thrilling account of his wait by one bridge while the sentries carried on a conversation with two girls who seemed as though they would never go away and leave the men free to move or doze – and then, under a hedge, amazingly met two brother officers who had escaped after him. His chapters on the crossing of the Weser, the long walk along a railway track, and the final agonising wait in the marshes by the Dutch frontier, are wonderfully vivid; one’s heart stands still when a townful of dogs starts barking at him in the moonlight, and when Major Fox, an Irishman used to bogs, side-tracks the frontier guards into a morass. Major Fox slightly sketched is revealed as something of a Titan for strength and audacity. Captain Caunter’s exact wash drawings greatly elucidate his tales”.
In 2014 I was working as usual adding metadata to the photographic images on the Serving Soldier database. The albums, paperwork and ephemera I annotated at the time were donated by the family of the late Major General Charles Howard Foulkes CB CMG DSO (1ST February 1875 – 6th May 1969) to the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, a leading repository founded in 1964.
While adding metadata and keywords to the images the handwritten notes written by Major General Foulkes caught my eye. Underneath a photograph of a not so youthful moustachioed Sergeant were written the words ‘Sgt Rumbelow 4 Platoon A company, 7th RB at Arras March 1916, DCM Gazette 6.6.16.’
I am not a researcher but curiosity caught hold of me and I decided to do a quick internet search firstly to find out what a DCM was (part of the learning curve when working with photographs of the Military so that I can give correct information) then to see if I could find out more about this rather more mature soldier who looked quite hauntingly tired as he gazed into the camera lens.
Upon entering his name, I was directed to a website dedicated to holding information about ‘fallen’ military personnel of Buckinghamshire http://buckinghamshireremembers.org.uk. Low and behold there was a record of Sergeant Rumbelow with details of his name, regiment, where he enlisted, where he died and the location of the memorial on which his name is displayed. I took it upon myself to send an email to the person who ran the website to ask if they had a photograph of Sergeant Rumbelow, in actuality they had all of his information but didn’t possess a picture of him. I forwarded a photograph and was met with a lovely response ‘I just cannot thank you enough for helping me to discover the full details of this brave man, I would never have discovered these extra details’.
My discoveries did not stop there: from the information I had gleaned I then knew that Albert Rumbelow worked at the Royal Albert Hall as a cleaner and hall attendant; he was one member of a quarter of the staff employed at the Royal Albert Hall who volunteered to fight during World War I, enlisting in 1914 at the age of 35 leaving behind a wife and four children. I contacted the organisers of an exhibition planned at the Royal Albert Hall in which I knew that Sergeant Albert Rumbelow was mentioned and asked if they would like a photograph of him. The response was they would because they did not have one.
In the summer of 1916 (we know it was in June) Albert gained the Distinguished Conduct Medal for ‘Conspicuous Gallantry’. His citation reads that he ‘exposed himself to machine gun and shell fire when going across the open to rescue a wounded man. Later he went under fire to fetch a stretcher’.
Albert was returned to England badly injured and died two months before Armistice Day in a military hospital in Ashford, Kent, at the age of 39. He was one of the few soldiers to be buried on English soil because the government had taken the decision not to repatriate the bodies of those killed in battle. His grave is located in the churchyard of St Peter Parish Church, Aylesford Kent and his name is alongside many others on the War Memorial at High Wycombe Hospital.
In the photographs above you can see Wing Commander of the RAF Eric Garrad-Cole and Mario Monti. The keen eyed amongst you will notice not only a resemblance, but that they are, in fact, the same person. Garrad-Cole was universally known as ‘Garry’ throughout his life, though thankfully for this fugitive during his time in Axis controlled Italy, only a select few knew Mario Monti as anything other than Mario.
Garrad-Cole was an Italian prisoner of war (PoW), between 1940 and 1943, after the skilled bomber pilot was shot down over Libya in 1940. After many unsuccessful escape attempts he finally got away as Italy surrendered to the Allies and Germany occupied the country.
Still in Italy, following his escape Garrad-Cole joined the ‘Rome Organisation’, a group that set about helping other escaped Allied PoWs, for the remainder of the war. This is when Garrad-Cole disguised himself as Mario Monti- growing a pencil moustache and wearing glasses. It is up to you how convincing you find this deception, however, keep in mind his masquerade certainly was effective.
During the remainder of his time in Rome, with the help of other escapees, the ‘Rome Organisation’ and Garrad-Cole helped approximately 3000 PoWs. All this was achieved while under the constant threat of his identity being revealed and being discovered. Despite several close calls Garrad-Cole managed to stay undercover until the Allied victory.
After the War ended, having returned to Great Britain, Garrad-Cole was awarded the Military Cross (MC) in 1944 for his actions. In 1955, the Wing Commander turned author as he published ‘Single to Rome’ detailing his unique and fascinating tale.
By Adam Cox- Archives Assistant
[Information sourced from Times Obituary 2003 and accessioned materials]
This is a remarkable photograph of the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Alec Douglas Home, being held aloft by an Iranian strongman in a gym in Tehran. Lord Home (pronounced ‘hume’) is surrounded by no fewer than 13 athletes. It is not entirely clear … Continue reading →
I was fortunate to attend the biennial Linked Open Data,
Libraries, Archives, Museums summit in early July in Sydney, Australia. I
played a very small role in setting it up, as a member of the organising
committee. The conference is an opportunity for archivists, librarians, museum
curators and information professionals and IT experts to meet and discuss the
latest developments in Linked Data among higher education, heritage and
‘memory’ institutions, worldwide. Delegates have the chance to hear about
successful (and unsuccessful) projects and take part in targeted discussions on
the future of the technology, and encourage new collaborations. The event
features the ‘Challenge’ – an open competition for the best application of
Linked Data in a cultural setting. The
summit adopts the ‘un-conference’ format without pre-prepared papers, at which
relevant issues can be aired and debated and sub-groups convened to address
Linked Data is a way of structuring online and other data to
improve its accuracy, visibility and connectedness. The technology has been
available for more than a decade and has mainly been used by commercial
entities such as publishing and media organisations including the BBC and
Reuters. For archives, libraries and
museums, Linked Data holds the prospect of providing a richer experience for
users, better connectivity between pools of data, new ways of cataloguing
collections, and improved access for researchers and the public.
It could, for example, provide the means to unlock research
data or mix it with other types of data such as maps, or to search digitised
content including books and image files and collection metadata. New, more
robust, services are currently being developed by international initiatives
such as Europeana which should make its adoption by libraries and archives much
easier. There remain many challenges, however, and this conference provided the
opportunity to explore these.
The conference comprised a mix of quick fire discussions,
parallel breakout sessions, 2-minute introductions to interesting projects, and
the Challenge entries.
[photo: Work in progress at the LODLAM summit]
Quick fire points
Need for improved visualisation of data (current
visualisations are not scalable or require too much IT input for archivists and
librarians to realistically use)
Need to build Linked Data creation and editing
into vendor systems (the Step change model which we pursued at King’s Archives
in a Jisc-funded project)
Exploring where text mining and Natural Language
Processing overlap with LOD
World War One Linked Data: what next? (less of a
theme this time around as the anniversary has already started)
LOD in archives: a particular challenge?
(archives are lagging libraries and galleries in their implementation of Linked
What is the next Getty vocabularies: a popular vocabulary
that can encourage use of LOD?
Fedora 8 and LOD in similar open source or
proprietary content management systems (how can Linked Data be used with these
Linked Data is an off-putting term implying a
data-centric set of skills (perhaps Linked Open Knowledge as an alternative?)
Building a directory of cultural heritage
organisation LOD: how do we find available data sets? (such as Linked Open
Implementing the European Data Model: next steps
(stressing the importance of Europeana in the Linked Data landscape)
Can we connect different entities across
different vocabularies to create new knowledge? (a lot of vocabularies have
been created, but how do they communicate?)
This talk showcased a new product called OASIS from
Synaptica, aimed at art galleries, which facilitates the identification,
annotation and linking of parts of images. These elements can be linked
semantically and described using externally-managed vocabularies such as the
Getty suite of vocabularies or classifications like Iconclass. This helps
curators do their job. End users enjoy an enriched appreciation of paintings
and other art. It is the latest example of annotation services that overlay useful
information and utilise agreed international standards like the Open Annotation
Data Model and the IIIF standard for image zoom.
We were shown two examples: Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus
and Holbein’s The Ambassadors for impressive zooming of well-known paintings
and detailed descriptions of features. Future development will allow for
crowdsourcing to identify key elements and utilising image recognition software
to find these elements on the Web (‘find all examples of images of dogs in 16th
century public works of art embedded in the art but not indexed in available
This product mirrors the implementation of IIIF by an
international consortium that includes leading US universities, the Bodleian,
BL, Wellcome and others. Two services have evolved which offer archives the
chance to provide deep zoom and interoperability for their images for their
users: Mirador, and the Wellcome’s Universal Viewer (http://showcase.iiif.io/viewer/mirador/).
These get around the problem of having to create differently sized derivatives
of images for different uses, and of having to publish very large images on the
internet when download speeds might be slow.
Digital New Zealand
Chris McDowall of Digital New Zealand explored how best to
make LOD work for non-LOD people. Linked Open Data uses a lot of acronyms and
assumes a fairly high level of technical knowledge of systems which should not
be assumed. This is a particular bugbear of mine, which is why this talk
resonated. Chris’ advocacy of cross developer/user meetups also chimed with my
own thinking: LOD will never be properly adopted if it is assumed to be the
province of ‘techies’. Developers often don’t know what they are developing
because they don’t understand the content or its purpose: they are not
He stressed the importance of vocabulary cross-walks and the
need for good communication in organisations to make services stable and
sustainable. Again, this chimed with my own thinking: much work needs to be
done to ‘sell’ the benefits of Linked Data to sceptical senior management.
These benefits might include context building around archive collections,
gamification of data to encourage re-use, and serendipity searches and prompts
which can aid researchers. Linked Data offers the kind of truly targeted
searching in contrast to the ‘faith based technology’ of existing search
engines (a really memorable expression).
He warned that the infrastructure demands of LOD should not
be underestimated, particularly from researchers making a lot of simultaneous
queries: he mooted a pared down type of LOD for wider adoption.
Richard Wallis of OCLC explored the potential of Schema.org,
a growing vocabulary of high level terms agreed by the main search engines to
make content more searchable. Schema.org helps power search result boxes one
sees at the top of Google search return pages. Richard suggested the creation
of an extension relevant to archives to add to the one for bibliographic
material. The advantage of schema.org is that it can easily be added to web
pages, resulting in appreciable improvement in ranking and the possibility of
generating user-centred suggestions in search results. For an archive, this
might mean a Google user searches for the papers of Winston Churchill and is
offered suggested other uses such as booking tickets to a talk about the
papers, or viewing Google maps information showing the opening times and
location of the archive.
The group discussion centred on the potential elements (would
the extension refer to thesis, research data, university systems that contain
archive data such as Finance and student information?), and on the need for use
cases and setting out potential benefits. I agreed to be part of an
international team through the W3C Consortium, to help set one up.
[photo: Shakespeare window at the State Library of New South Wales]
This Dutch service facilitates the linking of different
controlled vocabularies and thesauri and helps address the problem faced by
many cultural organisations ‘which thesauri do I use?’ and ‘how do I avoid
reinventing the thesauri wheel?’. The services allows users to upload a SKOS
vocabulary, link it with one of four supported vocabularies and visualise the
The service helps different types of organisation to connect
their vocabularies, for example an audio-visual archive with a museum’s
collections. The approach also allows content from one repository to be
enhanced or deepened through contextual information from another. The example
of Vermeer’s Milkmaid was cited: enhancing the discoverability of information
on the painting held in the Rijksmuseum
in Amsterdam through connecting the collection data held on the local museum
management system with DBPedia and with the Getty Art and Architecture
Thesaurus. This sort of approach builds on the prototypes developed in the last
few years to align vocabularies (and to ‘Skosify’ data – turn it into Linked
Data) around shared Europeana initiatives (see http://semanticweb.cs.vu.nl/amalgame/).
Services project: Introduction by Ingrid Mason
This is a pan-Australian research data management project
focusing on the repackaging of cultural heritage data for academic re-use.
Linked Data will be used to describe a ‘meta-collection’ of the country’s
cultural data, one that brings together academic users of data and curators. It
will utilise the Australia-wide research data nodes for high speed retrieval (https://www.rds.edu.au/project-overview
Jon explained how the popular historical mapping service,
historypin, is dealing with the problem of ‘roundtripping’ where heritage data
is enhanced or augmented through crowdsourcing and returned to its source. This
is of particular interest to Europeana, whose data might pass through many
hands. It highlights a potential difficulty of LOD: validating the authenticity
and quality of data that has been distributed and enriched.
Chris McDowall of
Digital New Zealand
Chris explained how to search across different types of data
source in New Zealand, for example to match and search for people using
phonetic algorithms to generate sound alike suggestions and fuzzy name
This 6 million Euro EU-funded project aims to make
audio-visual material more accessible and has been trialled with thousands of
hours of video footage, and expert users, from the BBC. Its purpose is to help users
mine vast quantities of audio-visual material in the public domain as
accurately and quickly as possible. The team have developed tools using open
source frameworks that allow users to detect people, places, events and other
entities in speech and images and to annotate and refine these results. This
sophisticated tool set utilises face, speech and place recognition to zero-in
on precise fragments without the need for accompanying (longhand) metadata. The
results are undeniably impressive – with a speedy, clear, interface locating
the parts of each video with filtering and similarity options. The main use for
the toolset to date is with film studies and journalism students but it
unquestionably has wider application.
The Axes website also highlights a number of interesting
projects in this field. Two stand out: http://www.axes-project.eu/?page_id=25,
notably Cubrik (http://www.cubrikproject.eu/),
another FP 7 multinational project which mixes crowd and machine analysis to
refine and improving searching of multimedia assets; and the PATHS prototype (http://www.paths-project.eu/) ‘an interactive personalised tour guide through
existing digital library collections. The system will offer suggestions about
items to look at and assist in their interpretation. Navigation will be based
around the metaphor of a path through the collection.’ The project created an
API, User Interface and launched a tested exemplar with Europeana to
demonstrate the potential of new discovery journeys to open access to
The NSW State Library sought to find new ways of visualising
their collections by date and geography through their DX Labs, an experimental
data laboratory similar to BL Labs, which I have worked with in the UK. One
visually arresting visualisation shows the proportions of collections relevant
to particular geographical locations in the city of Sydney. Accompanied by
approving gasps from the audience, this showed an iceberg graphic superimposed
onto a map showing the proportion of collections about a place that had been
digitised and yet to be digitised – a striking way of communicating the
fragility of some collections and the work still to be done to make them
accessible to the public.
Open Memory Project. This Italian entry
won the main prize. It uses Linked Data to re-connect victims of the Holocaust
in wartime Italy. The project was thought provoking and moving and has the
potential to capture the public imagination.
Polimedia is a service designed to
answer questions from the media and journalists by querying multi-media
libraries, identifying fragments of speech. It won second prize for its
innovative solution to the challenge of searching video archives.
LodView goes LAM is a new Italian
software designed to make it easier for novices to publish data as Linked Data.
A visually beautiful and engaging interface makes this a joy to look at.
EEXCESS is a European project to
augment books and other research and teaching materials with contextual
information, and to develop sophisticated tools to measure usage. This is an
exciting, ambitious, project to assemble different sources using Linked Data to
enable a new kind of publication made up of a portfolio of assets.
Preservation Planning Ontology is a
proposal for using Linked Data in the planning of digital preservation by
archives. It has been developed by Artefactual Systems, the Canadian company
behind ATOM and Archivematica software. This made the shortlist as it is a good
example of a ‘behind the scenes’ management use of Linked data to make
preservation workflows easier.
A selection of other
Public Domain City
extracts curious images from digitised content. This is similar to BL Labs’
Mechanical Curator, a way of mining digitised books for interesting images and
making them available to social media to improve the profile and use of a
Project Mosul uses
Linked Data to digitally recreate damaged archaeological heritage from Iraq. A
good example of using this technology to protect and recreate heritage damaged
in conflict and disaster.
The Muninn Project
combines 3D visualisations and printing using Linked Data taken from First
World War source material.
LOD Stories is a
way of creating story maps between different pots of data about art and
visualising the results. The project is a good example of the need to make
Linked Data more appealing and useful, in this case by building ‘family trees’
of information about subjects to create picture narratives.
Get your coins out of
your pocket is a Linked Data engine about Roman coinage and the stories it
has to tell – geographically and temporally. The project uses nodegoat as an
engine for volunteers to map useful information: http://nodegoat.net/.
Graphity is a
Danish project to improve access to historical Danish digitised newspapers and
enhancing with maps and other content using Linked Data.
Dutch Ships and
Sailors brings together multiple historical data sources and uses Linked
Data to make them searchable.
Corbicula is a way
of automating the extraction of data from collection management systems and
publishing it as Linked Data.
[photo: delegates at the summit]
Day two sessions
Day two sessions focused on the future. A key session led by
Richard Wallis explained how Google is moving from a page ranking approach to a
triple confidence assertion approach to generating search results. The way in
which Google generates its results will therefore move closer to the LOD method
of attributing significance to results.
Need for a vendor manifesto to encourage systems
vendors such as Ex Libris, to build LOD into their systems (Corey Harper of New
York University proposed this and is working closely with Ex Libris to bring
Depositing APIs/documentation for maximum re-use
(APIs are often a weak link – adoption of LOD won’t happen if services break or
Uses identified (mining digitised newspaper
archives was cited)
Potential piggy-backing from Big Pharma
investment in Big Data (massive investment by drugs companies to crunch huge
quantities of data – how far can the heritage sector utilise even a fraction of
Need to validate LOD: the quality issue – need
for an assertion testing service (LOD won’t be used if its quality is
questionable. Do curators (traditional guardians of quality) manage this?)
Training in Linked Data needs to be addressed
Need to encourage fundraising and make LO
sustainable: what are we going to do with LOD in the next ten years? (Will the
test of the success of Linked Open Data be if the term drops out of use when we
are all doing it without noticing? Will 5 Star Linked Data be realised? http://5stardata.info/)
There were several key learning points from this conference:
The divide between technical experts and policy
and decision makers remains significant: more work is needed to provide use
cases and examples of improved efficiencies or innovative public engagement
opportunities that the technology provides
The re-use and publication of Linked Data is
becoming important and this brings challenges in terms of IPR, reliability of
APIs and quality of data
Easy to use tools and widgets will help spread
its use; avoiding complicated and unsustainable technical solutions that depend
on project funding
Working with vendors to incorporate Linked Data
tools in library and archive systems will speed its adoption
The Linked Data community ought to work towards
the day Linked Data is business as usual and the terms goes out of use
Signed seating plan for a formal dinner for the Potsdam conference, 23 July 1945 (LHCMA Alanbrooke 13/7)
Front cover of the seating plan, complete with Joseph Stalin’s signature (LHCMA Alanbrooke 13/7)
This is the seating plan for a formal dinner for the Potsdam conference attendees, hosted by Winston Churchill, 23 July 1945, signed by the attendees, including Churchill himself, Harry S Truman, and (on the cover) Joseph Stalin.
Churchill is shown as Prime Minister, because although the UK general election had already been held on 5 July, the results were not counted and declared until 26 July, since many voters were still on overseas service. Three days later, Attlee (seated three to the right of Churchill) was the new British Prime Minster.
This item comes from the personal papers of Field Marshal Viscount Alanbrooke, who as Chief of the Imperial General Staff for most of World War Two was Churchill’s chief military adviser. In his diary he wrote of the evening: ‘It was a good dinner with an RAF band, rather spoilt by continuous speeches. …. After dinner we had the menus signed up and I went round to ask Stalin for his signature, he turned round, looked at me, smiled very kindly and shook me warmly by the hand before signing. After the band playing all the national anthems we went off to bed.’