The first six months – progress

Since its start in March 2013, LoCloud has focused on a state-of-the-art analysis of the collections and metadata of content providers (those partners providing content to Europeana), has carried out an action plan survey amongst partners and gathered preliminary information on the geographic metadata of content provider and reviewed cloud computing technologies. The aim was to identify all needs and requirements necessary to inform future work.

Reviewing cloud computing technologies 

During the first months of the project a working group consisting of The Danish Agency for Culture, Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed in the Netherlands, The Spanish Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte, Vilniaus Universitas in Lithuania, Universitaet Duisburg-Essen in Germany and Univerzita Komenskeho v Bratislave in Slovakia  have carried out a review of cloud computing, aimed to monitor the state-of-the art of cloud computing and make an assessment of aspects of the cloud relevant to the needs of the project.

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LoCloud preliminary action planning

The LoCloud partners in each territory are expected to identify a planning group of institutions (e.g. key players in the cultural sector) with whom to collaborate throughout the project in order to identify new digitised content to include in Europeana via LoCloud.  To this purpose, action plans will be prepared by the country partners in order to identify the steps needed in each territory to implement the IaaS or SaaS solutions for the aggregation of digital collections.

A survey prepared by MDR Partners under WP1 has gathered preliminary data on local stakeholders, potential content providers, existing politics of aggregation, state of the art on the use of the ‘cloud’, training needs, etc. Main preliminary finding of this survey are:

  • while a few partners (having previously participated in other Europeana  projects) have already a network of stakeholders in place and know quite well the politics of aggregation in their countries, others are in the phase of establishing contacts with local institutions in order to create a planning group for future cooperation.
  • aggregation of digital content at the national level seems to develop quite slowly in most European countries and local aggregation is fragmentary. In this respect, the LoCloud aggregator could play an important role, providing a ‘default’ aggregation infrastructure to small local institutions, while, at the same time, being a potential stimulator of national aggregation.

A report on the state-of-the-art monitoring and situational analysis (Deliverable 1.1) will be produced soon and made available from the project web site.

LoCloud Content evaluation and planning survey

Another survey has recently been finalised by Athena RC, one of the project technical partners, targeted to the LoCloud partners who will be providing content to Europeana. The survey aims to collect detailed information on the content and metadata to be aggregated by LoCloud for inclusion in Europeana. The questionnaire looks at issues such as  collection management systems, online availability of collections, used metadata schemas, formats and completeness, supported languages, vocabularies/thesauri, geographical information, historical place names, metadata interoperability, copyrights, etc.

The outcomes of the survey will help to develop a metadata sourcing strategy and plan, feeding two user surveys which will be designed and carried out in the next requirements analysis phase. The results of the survey will be reported in the project deliverable 1.3 Content and Metadata Analysis which will be made accessible from the LoCloud web site by the end of September.

Metadata schema analysis

Some technical partners, with the involvement of project content providers, have started the work aimed to evaluate and appraise content and metadata among collections participating in LoCloud, including new content and already ingested content in the CARARE repository. A working team has been working to define the metadata schemas to be used in LoCloud as intermediaries to EDM, on the basis of the schemas used in prior projects, such as Europeana Local, Athena and CARARE. To this purpose, a survey has been carried out which identified the CARARE and LIDO metadata schemas as the schemas preferred by the majority of respondents. The schemas to be supported by LoCloud will be discussed at the upcoming content provider workshops (end of August-September) and a deliverable on the definition of metadata schemas will be published by the end of September (Deliverable 1.3 Content and Metadata Analysis).

Survey on geographical information metadata 

Spatial data in Europeana today are mainly useful for regional overviews and high-level navigation and becomes less useful when zooming in to municipality, city or community levels. Analysing a sample of Europeana content suggests that there are few cultural heritage collections which contain spatial metadata in the form of coordinates in gallery, museum, library and archive collections. Most spatial metadata are place names or names of current and historical administrative areas.

LoCloud will be developing geolocation enrichment tools which aim to use a combination of local place names data and spatial filtering mechanisms to improve the accuracy of the geocoding, whereby the spatial metadata will become useful for detailed navigation such as mobile, location-aware applications etc.

In particular, LoCloud will implement two services:

  1. Historic place names service which enables upload of local, geocoded spatial names data.
  2. Geolocation enrichment service which will allow the enrichment of metadata resources with coordinate data.

As a starting point, a short survey was carried out by the Slovenian Institute for Heritage Protection, focused on geographical information. The survey gathered from all LoCloud content providers information on the geographic coordinates and place names used in the metadata of their digital collections planned to be made available to Europeana.

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