Wednesday, August 12, 2009

GLAM wiki report

Tim Starling wrote a nice report on last weeks GLAM Wiki conference. He touched briefly on two issues, the storage of GLAM material and the collation of meta data from all libraries in Australia.

The storage of GLAM material
Much of the material digitised is in the tiff format. They represent the original material best because with tiff you do not lose information due to compression. The WMF does not support tiff files in Wikipedia; at the moment it allows only for the storage of these files. There are however important reasons why we want access to tiff files; high resolution loss less files are the base material for our digital restorations.

Liam has a point when he suggests that we typically do not need the highest resolutions to illustrate our Wikipedias. But I really like the idea of Brianna where we hotlink and cache pictures from the GLAMs themselves. I can appreciate why Tim did not get into that... It is a lot of work, complicated work as well. Questions like what to do when the GLAM is off line are only part of it.

What I would suggest is that we could get the high resolution tiff on request if we aim to restore a particular image.

The annotations of GLAM material
Annotations are what makes the material we may use worthwhile. Without annotations, provenance a picture is hardly worthwhile as an illustration. The annotations in illustrations are as important as the sources for text.

In the last paragraph, there is one little gem; it says that "there is an ongoing project to collate metadata from the libraries of Australia". A similar project exists in the Netherlands for musea.

The question is very much how does the Wikimedia community fit in. To what extend does it make sense to update the data in Commons and not have this information available as part of the metadata of the GLAM. If the question of hotlinking is a hot patatoe, then this is much more complex.

Consider this scenario, the Tropenmuseum makes available 100.000 images about Indonesia. The Indonesian WMF chapter finds people willing to translate the Dutch annotations in Bahasa Indonesia and the Indonesian community starts to improve on these annotations. How will that affect the original annotations and what about the English translation that is also very much desired ??

There are no obvious answers, they will come as we work together and make our attempts to come up with workable solutions. Solutions that are bound to change and improve in time.

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