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Opening Up Cultural Data

AoDL Meetup
Show 'n Tell // Network // Drinks

15th March 2013, 6.30pm-8.30pm
The Photographers’ Gallery
16-18 Ramillies Street, Soho, London W1F 7LW

// Line-up

- Thom Brooks, PR & Communications, Rewired State
- Michael Hobson, Co-Founder, 3-Beards
- Jo Pugh, Education and Outreach team, National Archives
- Phill Purdy, Culture Grid Manager, Culture Grid

// Event Description

For this month’s AoDL, we would like to talk about a much bandied about – but still rather confusing – term: cultural data. Just what is cultural data? Do I have it? What do I do with it? …...Am I myself, in fact, it?!


In short, data is a piece of information. In the case of cultural organisations, each artwork (or more precisely in the context of the web, its documentation) can be considered as cultural data – meaning the object itself; any text about it; a picture of it; a sound recording and/or video documenting it. We can also go one step further and think about all the ways in which we arrange and connect artworks through further sub-categories such as artist, artform, curatorial theme, broader artistic relationships, movements, date. There are other, measurable categories, primarily relating to audience, that are of relevance too e.g. demographic, footfall and/or web analytics; the economics of the commissioning organisation.

Larger GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) organisations have long since been mindful of digitising their archival holdings and so projects such as Europeana (and more recently their UK ‘national aggregator’, Culture Grid) have been able to forge ahead in this area and, to an extent, leave smaller organisations behind. The culture of data analysis is already embedded, and is visible in the investment into open archive structures (Linked Open Data in Libraries, Archives and Museums Summit 2013), APIs (BBC API list, Museum API Wiki list ), and a gradual embrace of open data principles (OpenGLAM). Although this tends to occur in parcels – e.g. by allowing out select data sets in controlled environments like hackdays – it is indicative of a broader push and tendency away from the de facto adherence to closed IP, etc.

We would like to use this session to focus on hackdays, which have been a particularly catalytic mode of (software) production, albeit only introduced into the cultural sector relatively recently. The phenomenon of the hack day or ‘hackathon’ rose up through the early-mid 2000s as a way to use raw data outputs to quickly develop new ideas for software projects. The basic approach is, you get a cross section of people from tech and non-tech backgrounds in a room for anywhere between a day and a week and work collaboratively in groups on a loosely set task. The desirable outcome is generally a series of working prototypes. This mode of operation has proved successful due to its interdisciplinary nature, bringing tech developers into organisations otherwise working without them; enabling them to build relationships with staff and sharing knowledge in a focused, boundaried environment.

There are many hack events around London and beyond, but here are a few:


As usual we have a jammed packed line-up for you so sign-up, bring a friend and join in the conversation.

The meetups are open to all and we would be delighted if you would pass this onto a friend or colleague who might be interested.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Best
The AoDL Team

**The post-social social**

We have access to the venue until 8.30pm but hey why stop the socialising there? For those who want to continue we’ve designated a nearby pub The Red Lion (14 Kingly Street, W1B 5PR) as our ‘after hours’ watering hole.


The AoDL meetups are presented by Mute in partnership with The Photographers' Gallery and Shakespeare's Globe


About Art of Digital London

AoDL is a research programme and network that runs an online peer learning resource, regular public events, training sessions and meetings about digital strategy in culture. Over 2011 AoDL in partnership with The Photographers’ Gallery ran a series of successful discussion groups building on the thematics of its founding programme of Salons & Surgeries [masked]). Including such topics as Open Archiving and IPTV, these continue to drive a collaborative research project conducted on AoDL's Wiki resource, TheKnowledge.


Join or login to comment.

  • Otilia

    Hi, I would love to attend, I am very interested in this meeting, but have friends visiting me. Do you think you could send us the conferences somehow? See you next time!

    March 13, 2013

  • Adrian M.

    I'd love to attend, but have plans on Friday night. A plea: please have one on a night other than Friday!

    March 13, 2013

    • Caroline H.

      Hey Adrian, it's hard to suit everyone and it's a shame you're missing this one so we will definitely look to do more events on a school night soon. :)

      March 13, 2013

  • Adrian M.

    I'd love to attend, but have plans on Friday night. A plea: please have one on a night other than Friday!

    March 13, 2013

  • Ben B.

    Alas! Thousands of miles away!

    March 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    yes please

    February 14, 2013

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