In a recent (2010-2011) Language Documentation Project we decided to also collect GIS data (GPS Coordinates), about our consultants (place of origin and place of current dwelling), about our recording locations and for Geo-tagging Photos. We used a Garmin eTrex Venture HC to collect the data and then we compared this data with GIS information from Google maps and the National GIS information service. This write up and evaluation of the Garmin eTrex Venture HC is based on this experience. Continue reading →
I was recently looking at licenses for databases and discovered the ODbL license. This license was pioneered by the OpenStreetMap Project. I was reading their introduction to why the change was needed. This introduction outlined what the change was, what the change would allow them to do, who agreed, who disagreed, what the cost of the change would be, among other things. I thought it was a very open, engaging and confidence building way to move a group of volunteers through change. It allows for more kinds (also different kinds) of product use. It is well worth the look at not only if you are interested in the open licensing of data in databases and why CC-BY-SA and CC0 licenses do not work for data [also as PDF], but also how they are answering the questions of the community as they are moving the community through change.
As part of my job I work with materials created by the company I work for, that is the archived materials. We have several collections of photos by people from around the world. In fact we might have as many as 40,000 photos, slides, and Negatives. Unfortunately most of these images have no Meta-data associated with them. It just happens to be the case that many of the retirees from our company still live around or volunteer in the offices. Much of the meta-data for these images lives in the minds of these retirees. Each image tells a story. As an archivist I want to be able to tell that story to many people. I do not know what that story is. I need to be able to sit down and listen to that story and make the notes on each photo. This is time consuming. More time consuming than I have.
Here is the Data I need to minimally collect:
Photo ID Number: ______________________________ Who (photographer): ____________________________ Who (subject): ________________________________ People group:_________________________________ When (was the photo taken): _______________________ Where (Country): _______________________________ Where (City): _________________________________ Where (Place): ________________________________ What is in the Photo: ____________________________ Why was the photo taken (At what event):_________________________ Photo Description:__short story or caption___ Who (provided the Meta-data): _________________________
Here is my idea: Have 2 volunteers with iPads sit down with the retirees and show these pictures on the iPads to the retirees and then start collecting the data. The iPad app needs to be able to display the photos and then be able to allow the user to answer the above questions quickly and easily.
The iPad is only the first step though. The iPad works in one-on-one sessions working with one person at a time. Part of the overall strategy needs to be a cloud sourcing effort of meta-data collection. To implement this there needs to be central point of access where interested parties can have a many to one relationship with the content. This community added meta-data may have to be kept in a separate taxonomy until it can be verified by a curator, but there should be no reason that this community added meta-data can not be expected to be valid.
Meta-data Collection Model
However, what the app needs to do is more inline with MetaEditor 3.0. MetaEditor actually edits the IPTC tags in the photos – Allowing the meta-data to travel with the images.In one sense adding meta-data to an image is annotating an image. But this is something completely different than what Photo Annotate does to images.
Photosmith seems to be a move in the right direction, but it is focused on working with Lightroom. Not with a social media platform like Gallery2 & Gallery3, Flickr or CopperMine.While looking at open source photo CMS’s one of the things we have to be aware of is that meta-data needs to come back to the archive in a doublin core “markup”. That is it needs to be mapped and integrated with our current DC aware meta-data scehma. So I looked into modules that make Gallery and Drupal “DC aware”. One of the challenges is that there are many photo management modules for drupal. None of them will do all we want and some of them will do what we want more elegantly (in a Code is Poetry sense). In drupal it is possible that several modules might do what we want. But what is still needed is a theme which elegantly, and intuitively pulls together the users, the content, the questions and the answers. No theme will do what we want out of the box. This is where Form, Function, Design and Development all come together – and each case, especially ours is unique.
This, cloud sourcing of meta-data model has been implemented by the Library of Congress in the Chronicling America project. Where the Library of Congress is putting images out on Flickr and the public is annotating (or “enriching” or “tagging” ) them. Flickr has something called Machine Tags, which are also used to enrich the content.
There are two challenges though which still remain:
How do we sync offline iPad enriched photos with online hosted images?
How do we sync the public face of the hosted images to the authoritative source for the images in the archive’s files?
This post is a open draft! It might be updated at any time… But was last updated on at .
Meta-data is not just for Archives
Bringing the usefulness of meta-data to the language project workflow
It has recently come to my attention that there is a challenge when considering the need for a network accessible file management solution during a language documentation project. This comes with my first introduction to linguistic field experience and my first field setting for a language documentation project.The project I was involved with was documenting 4 Languages in the same language family. The Location was in Mexico. We had high-speed Internet, and a Local Area Network. Stable electric (more than not). The heart of the language communities were a 2-3 hour drive from where we were staying, so we could make trips to different villages in the language community, and there were language consultants coming to us from various villages. Those consultants who came to us were computer literate and were capable of writing in their language. The methods of the documentation project was motivated along the lines of: “we want to know ‘xyz’ so we can write a paper about ‘xyz’ so lets elicit things about ‘xyz'”. In a sense, the project was product oriented rather than (anthropological) framework oriented. We had a recording booth. Our consultants could log into a Google-doc and fill out a paradigm, we could run the list of words given to us through the Google-doc to a word processor and create a list to be recorded. Give that list to the recording technician and then produce a recorded list. Our consultants could also create a story, and often did and then we would help them to revise it and record it. We had Geo-Social data from the Mexican government census. We had Geo-spacial data from our own GPS units. During the corse of the project massive amounts of data were created in a wide variety of formats. Additionally, in the case of this project language description is happening concurrently with language documentation. The result is that additional data is desired and generated. That is, language documentation and language description feed each other in a symbiotic relationship. Description helps us understand why this language is so important to document and which data to get, documenting it gives us the data for doing analysis to describe the language. The challenge has been how do we organize the data in meaningful and useful ways for current work and future work (archiving)?People are evidently doing it, all over the world… maybe I just need to know how they are doing it. In our project there were two opposing needs for the data:
Data organization for archiving.
Data organization for current use in analysis and evaluation of what else to document.It could be argued that a well planned corpus would eliminate, or reduce the need for flexibility to decide what else there is to document. This line of thought does have its merits. But flexibility is needed by those people who do not try to implement detailed plans.