Research & Development EN blog

Open Images 2011: more content providers, more functionality and expanding reuse on Wikipedia

With this blog post we look back on the past year. How did Open Images contribute to an open collection of audiovisual material and stimulate the reuse of it?

Hundreds of Items Added to the Platform

In 2010 we have uploaded hundreds of interesting items to the platform from the historical newsreel collection of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, reaching the milestone of a thousand items available on the platform on the UNESCO World Day for Audio Visual Heritage in October. In our selection procedure some themes received special attention; sports, performing arts, winter, technology, and Indonesia. This year the Sound and Vision was not the only contributor of content to the platform. Other wonderful additions to Open Images were done by the EYE Film Institute Netherlands, the Institute for Network Cultures and the Dutch National Committee May 4th and 5th.

API Launched

In September Open Images launched its open API. Items published on the platform and their descriptions (metadata) and are accessible through an Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). This enables third parties to retrieve the stored metadata and media files in a structured way, making it easy to reuse material from the platform in their own applications (for example to create a mashup).

Video on Wikipedia

Since the start of the project, Open Images has contributed its audiovisual content to Wikimedia Commons to enable reuse of video on Wikipedia, for instance to ‘illustrate’ an article. At first the ‘donation’ to Wikimedia Commons was a manual process, but in 2010 – in collaboration with Wikimedia Netherlands – we were able to fully automate this process, thanks to the Open Images API. As a result Open Images is now responsible for almost 12% of the video content available on Wikimedia Commons, hence being one of the biggest contributors of video that is reusable on Wikipedia. We are getting more and more insight in the impact of the availability of Open Images material through Wikimedia Commons. We’ve learned that a large proportion is used to enrich over 550 entries on Wikipedia with related audiovisual content. In December 2010, these entries were viewed nearly 1.2 million times. This shows the great potential for the cultural heritage sector to collaborate with the Wikimedia Foundation to reach new and greater audiences within a meaningful context.

New Projects Reusing Open Images

When Open Images was launched in 2009 the material was almost immediately reused within several projects, including the OPEN CITY audiovisual archive of urban life from the Dutch public broadcaster VPRO and the ArtTube video platform about art and design from the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam. In 2010, tens of projects, small and large, were added to the list. Among them Picture War Monuments, a location-aware iPhone app that enriches the on-site visit to war monuments with audiovisual heritage, including newsreel footage and oral history video material on the Second World War available through Open Images. Another notable initiative was Image on a Map (‘Beeld in kaart’), a Google Maps mashup for the educational sector in the Netherlands combining several (educational) video sources – including Open Images – within a map interface. With this interface users are able to filter results based on subject (geography or history), location and time period.

What’s Next?

In 2011 the Open Images platform will receive a major update, with both functional and visual improvements. Part of this update is the realisation of portal functionality, allowing third party content providers to build and manage their own entrance to the platform (think: This will, for example, allow them to highlight their own contributions to the platform and to design their presence on the platform according to their own wishes and branding. The platform functionality is part of a larger campaign we are organising to attract more third party content keepers to contribute to an even larger and more diverse offering of open audiovisual content through Open Images. This campaign will focus on public broadcasters, regional and local archives and broadcasters, institutional archives and business archives. Finally, we would proudly like to mention our nomination for the Museums and the Web - Best of the Web Award 2011 in the category ‘Innovative / Experimental’.

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