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Managing Digital Cultural Objects

Jul 2016 | 256pp

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9781856049412
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Managing Digital Cultural Objects
Analysis, discovery and retrieval

Edited by Allen Foster and Pauline Rafferty

This book explores the analysis and interpretation, discovery and retrieval of a variety of non-textual objects, including image, music and moving image. 

Bringing together chapters written by leading experts in the field, this book provides an overview of the theoretical and academic aspects of digital cultural documentation and considers both technical and strategic issues relating to cultural heritage projects, digital asset management and sustainability.

Managing Digital Objects: Analysis, discovery and retrieval draws from disciplines including information retrieval, library and information science (LIS), digital preservation, digital humanities, cultural theory, digital media studies and art history. It’s argued that this multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach is both necessary and useful in the age of the ubiquitous and mobile Web.

Key topics covered include:

  • Managing, searching and finding digital cultural objects
  • Data modelling for analysis, discovery and retrieval
  • Social media data as a historical source
  • Visual digital humanities
  • Digital preservation of audio content
  • Searching and creating affinities in web music collections
  • Film retrieval on the web.

Readership: The book will provide inspiration for students seeking to develop creative and innovative research projects at Masters and PhD levels and will be essential reading for those studying digital cultural object management as well as practitioners in the field.

Introduction - Pauline Rafferty and Allen Foster

Part 1: Analysis and retrieval of digital cultural objects

1. Managing, searching and finding digital cultural objects: putting it in context - Pauline Rafferty
2. Data modelling for analysis, discovery and retrieval - Sarah Higgins 
3. The digital traces of user-generated content: how social media data may become the historical sources of the future - Katrin Weller 
 
Part 2: Digitization projects in libraries, archives and museums: case-studies
 
4. Visual digital humanities: using image data to derive approximate metadata - H. M. Dee,  L. M. Hughes, G. L. Roderick and A. D. Brown
5. Managing and preserving digital collections at the British Library - Maureen Pennock and Michael Day
6. Digital preservation of audio content - Will Prentice
 
Part 3: Social networking and digital cultural objects
 
7. Photos: Flickr, Facebook and other social networking sites - Corinne Jorgensen 
8. Searching and creating affinities in a web music collections - Nicola Orio  
9. Film retrieval on the web: sharing, naming, access and discovery - Katherine La Barre and Rosa Ines de Novais Cordeiro

"Managing Digital Cultural Objects reinforces how challenging it is to preserve digital cultural content in an age of competing formats and transient content sources. Emphasis on metadata, tagging, and linked data provides continuity throughout diverse case studies while reinforcing the methodologies discussed in the contextual chapters."
- Partnership 

"...the book meets the expectations raised in the title and addresses all three parts: analysis, discovery and retrieval of digital cultural objects. It will definitely provide inspiration to those students who are looking for novel research and project topics."
- Information Research

"This timely and welcome book will be invaluable for information management professionals seeking an overview of the theoretical and practical opportunities and challenges around providing access to digital cultural objects. Its scope is considerable and varied, ranging from the very technical to the practical, and from general surveys of the current state of the art to the findings of specific research projects. As such, it is a volume which some readers may prefer to dip into according to their interests. With its focus on new and emerging techniques and thinking, it should appeal both to researchers and practitioners with an interest in the current state of the art."
- Adrian Brown, Parliamentary Archives, Archives and Records

"This book serves a good introduction to current areas of research in the sphere of digital cultural heritage. Both students and professionals alike will benefit from these works on important issues that face this domain."
- Anne Washington, University of Houston, Library Resources & Technical Services

 

Allen Foster has a BA in Social History, a Master's in Information Management and a PhD in Information Science.  As Reader in Information Science, he has held various roles, including Head of Department for Information Studies, at Aberystwyth University.  His research interest areas span the research process of Master's and PhD students, the development of models for information behaviour and serendipity, and user experience of information systems, creativity and information retrieval. He has guest edited for several journal special issues, is a regional editor for The Electronic Library and is a member of journal editorial boards, international panels and conference committees.

Dr Pauline Rafferty MA(Hons) MSc MCLIP is a Senior Lecturer and Director of Teaching and Learning at the Department of Information Studies, Aberystwyth University. She previously taught at the Department of Information Science, City University London, and in the School of Information Studies and Department of Media and Communication at the University of Central England, Birmingham.

 

Contributors:

Alexander D. Brown, CICS software developer, IBM Hursley

Rosa Inês de Novais Cordeiro, Associate Professor, Department of Information Science, Federal Fluminense University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Michael Day, Digital Preservation Manager, British Library

Hannah. M. Dee, Senior Lecturer, Computer Science, Aberystwyth University

Sarah Higgins, Lecturer, Department of Information Studies, Aberystwyth University

Lorna M. Hughes, Professor, Digital Humanities, University of Glasgow

Corinne Jörgensen, Emerita Professor, Florida State University, USA

Kathryn La Barre, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

Nicola Orio, Associate Professor in Computer Engineering, Department of Cultural Heritage, University of Padua, Italy

Maureen Pennock, Director, Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) and Honorary Teaching Fellow, University of Dundee

Will Prentice, Head of Technical Services, Sound and Vision, British Library

Lloyd Roderick, Subject Librarian for Art, History, Welsh & Celtic Studies and Law, Aberystwyth University

Katrin Weller, information scientist and senior researcher, GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany

Introduction - Pauline Rafferty and Allen Foster


Part 1: Analysis and retrieval of digital cultural objects


1. Managing, searching and finding digital cultural objects: putting it in context - Pauline Rafferty

This introductory chapter seeks to contextualize the major themes relating to managing, searching, and finding digital cultural objects which are explored in this book by considering some of the broader issues relating to communication and practice. It explores the retrieval of digital cultural documentation with reference to communication and cultural theory, specifically social semiotics, and it will also explore semantic approaches to indexing and approaches which go beyond the conventional, such as emotional indexing and storytelling as indexing, before moving on to consider aspects of digital cultural collections, particularly crowdsourcing in conventional cultural memory institutions and amateur collections.


2. Data modelling for analysis, discovery and retrieval - Sarah Higgins 

Effective analysis, discovery and retrieval of digital cultural objects are reliant on the underlying data model adopted by an implementation. The manner in which the digital objects have been created will determine whether they can be interrogated for complex analysis. The type and scope of the metadata captured will determine the tools that can be provided for both browsing and searching, and the resulting discovery. The structure and content standards adopted for metadata creation and the formats used for digital object creation will determine whether they can be readily shared across technical implementations. Establishing the aims of the creation and delivery of a collection of digital cultural objects, and modelling the data and metadata requirements to fulfil the established aims, underpin the operational management of digital cultural objects in the custodial environment.


3. The digital traces of user-generated content: how social media data may become the historical sources of the future - Katrin Weller 

This chapter mainly showcases some exemplary scenarios of how social media sites could be perceived as historical sources in the future and how ongoing research is already making use of these sources. We will take a close look at Wikipedia, blogs and microblogs (especially Twitter), and photo- and video-sharing communities; and we will also discuss the challenges of how to handle these particular types of resources now and in the future.


 

Part 2: Digitization projects in libraries, archives and museums: case-studies

 

4. Visual digital humanities: using image data to derive approximate metadata - H. M. Dee,  L. M. Hughes, G. L. Roderick and A. D. Brown

In this chapter we describe preliminary work which collaboratively creates an approach to digital humanities that can deal with pictures as pictures, by analysing the visual properties of an image. This emerges through the development of a computational approach to modelling stylistic change, tested in a study of the work of Sir John 'Kyffin' Williams, a nationally renowned and prolific Welsh artist. Using images gathered from catalogues and online sources, we evaluate image-based descriptors that represent aspects of the paintings themselves: we investigate colour, edge orientation, and texture measures. We go on to estimate metadata from these descriptors using a leave-one-out methodology to classify paintings by year. We also investigate the incorporation of expert knowledge within this framework by considering a subset of paintings chosen as exemplars by a scholar familiar with Williams’s work. This work shows a new avenue of research: analysing artefacts using their pictorial features and using this analysis to group and to classify the work directly. Such work is only possible, however, if the underlying data is openly accessible and suitable for analysis by emerging computational tools and methods.


5. Managing and preserving digital collections at the British Library - Maureen Pennock andMichael Day

This chapter presents an overview of the work done at the British Library to ensure our digital collections are properly managed and preserved in an authentic manner for future users.


6. Digital preservation of audio content - Will Prentice

Sound archiving as a discipline has on the whole not been embraced by archival academia, with little in the way of vocational training available to potential sound or audiovisual archivists anywhere. As a result, as Edmondson has observed, sound archivists have often come ‘from a variety of backgrounds, with or without formal qualifications in a collecting discipline, [and] were largely compelled to learn on the job in situations which required primary attention to the practicalities of archival operation, with little attention to the theoretical’ (Edmondson, 2004, 12).

In the absence of an accredited professional framework, those looking after sound collections have been required to be inventive and use their initiative, and smaller sound collections held within larger non-specialized institutions have often been overlooked. Important and influential organizations such as the International Association of Sound & Audiovisual Archives (IASA) and the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) have emerged, co-ordinating the development of much-needed international standards and codes of practice. A culture of self-sufficiency and initiative has in many ways served sound archivists well, not least in meeting the technological challenges of audio preservation through migration. As a result, audio archivists have been pioneers of digitization and digital preservation

 

Part 3: Social networking and digital cultural objects

 

7. Photos: Flickr, Facebook and other social networking sites - Corinne Jorgensen 

Large web-accessible digital image collections created by universities, government entities and commercial enterprises stimulated intense research and creation of a variety of indexing tools by scientists in library and information science (LIS) and computing. Zhang and Rui (2013, 36:3) identify three major research phases (based on methods and levels of indexing) spanning almost five decades: the text- or concept-based (Rasmussen, 1997) stage (1970–1990), the content-based stage (1990–2000) and the web-based stage (2000–present). This chapter provides a brief overview of concept- and content-based research and current research on web-based ‘social’ indexing and searching, which combines these previous methods with socially-created data such as tags.

 


8. Searching and creating affinities in a web music collections - Nicola Orio  

Online music libraries available on the web contain a large amount of audio content that is usually the result of digitization of analogue recordings or the direct acquisition of digital sources. The acquisition process is carried out by several persons and may last a number of years, thus it is likely that the same or similar audio content is present in different versions. This chapter describes a number of possible similarities, which are called affinities, and presents a methodology to detect the kind of affinity from the automatic analysis and matching of the audio content.


9. Film retrieval on the web: sharing, naming, access and discovery - Katherine La Barre and Rosa Ines de Novais Cordeiro

This chapter extends a previous study (La Barre and Cordeiro, 2012) that called for the creation of more robust access and discovery interfaces for films across a variety of digital platforms. It engages with both technical and strategic issues relating to film retrieval on the web by touching on issues such as distributed data structures, linked data and controlled and uncontrolled access points.