Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The bits and bytes of our #GLAM partners

Our big GLAM partners do not only provide us with their images, they provide us with annotations, with references to their own resources and consequently each image has an added value. The information includes the date of its creation, the creator, info to the license and often a little story to its background.

Such information is extremely valuable because it is often the difference between just an image and a usable illustration. Maintaining such information is expensive; it takes manpower, technology to manage what is often an overwhelming amount of data.

Not all GLAMs have the facilities to provide the information that we need. Copyright and license for instance are subjects that became relevant only recently and most GLAMs find that many of their collections provides at best ambiguous information. Many of the GLAMs do not have the infrastructure to store uncompressed digitised images or have a system to manage all this data.

It does happen that when you approach a GLAM for cooperation, you will find that this is an issue. This does not necessarily mean that cooperation is impossible, it will be more complicated and possibly more involved.

Card Division of the Library of Congress 3c18631u original

On a meta level our Wikimedia movement could help localise an application like CDS/ISIS, this software as well as its source is available from UNESCO. One sticking point is that it is not available under a license..

On a micro level, a Wikimedian in residence can help a GLAM as a volunteer. What needs doing will differ from GLAM to GLAM. It is however the beauty of a movement that all such activities help to achieve the aim of making high quality information available to a world wide audience.

Thanks to Peter Weis for his contributions writing this blogpost
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