E-Space Photo Hack Leuven kick-off!

Yesterday was the first day of our photography hackathon, with some introductions to the Europeana Space project, Europeana and the goal of the hackathon. About 45 people registered for the event, starting at one of the Auditoriums near to the FabLab.
Antonella Fresa (Promoter) discussed E-Space in general, with the 6 hackathons ongoing – we already had the TV Hackathon in Amsterdam last year, the Dance Hackathon in Prague, and the Open and Hybrid Publishing Hackathon in Athens. Following the Photography Hackathon we will have the Future Museums Challenge in Venice and later Games Hackathon.


Antonella highlighted the link with Europeana, which gave James Morley, Europeana representative at the event, an opportunity to show the different possibilities that Europeana offers for re-use through Europeana Labs.

Very important was a short insight from Simon Cronshaw from Remix, on what the focus is for the judging criteria. In this hackathon in particular, we focus on concepts and business models rather than the development itself. Many technologies in photography relevant to GLAM are available, but are not yet packaged in a way that broad commercial use and practices can be supported.

We also demonstrated the available tools, such as the E-Space WITH environment developed by NTUA, which allows for sophisticated storytelling and story sharing  with images from sources such as Europeana, DPLA, Rijksmuseum, British Library and others.

DSC04739Then it was time for a session where teams could match up for the hackathon. People attending are students, developers, cultural heritage professionals, photography people. Some teams came already with some ideas, but many individual attendees were still looking who they might join. It was an inspiring session where a lot of ideas were shared. Not all of those ideas, often the at first sight most compelling ones, are possible to turn into a useful application. There is always a part that is technology driven and above all: market driven. Besides technology readiness levels, the readiness of a market, an audience, and more importantly a professional sector ready to take it up, to move forward towards a practice incorporating the new tools is of critical importance.

The evening session offered a series of short pitches by speakers with an interesting pedigree in creative reuse of heritage.


Simon Cronshaw (REMIX Summits) brought the audience in the right mindset by highlighting success stories and the secret behind them. It quickly became up close and personal with Frederik Temmerman who uses photographic techniques to build extreme enhanced vision experiences on artworks, e.g. with “Closer to Van Eyck”. It was a good opening that allowed me to dig further in the concept of digitizing early photography as we did in “All our Yesterdays”. In fact, many people seem to think digitization just as a serial process, irrespective of what is being digitized. However, digitizing a paper print is something completely different that digitising  glass negatives; let alone digitizing a tintype or daguerreotype which are on highly reflective metal, non-transparant bearers. In this sense we need other technologies to digitize those than we do for getting the best from a silver gelatine glass plate.

DSC04782Jan Baetens demonstrated that you do not even need powerpoint support to make a clear and passionate pitch on highbrow theoretical subjects. As usual, he offered challenging views provoking a second thought on what we all too easily take for granted.


Ides Bauwens (Nazka Mapps) showed Nostalgeo, exactly the kind of app this hackathon is aiming for. The app integrates Google street view with vintage pictures and historical maps.

nostalgeo800It ended with the classic topic of copyrights and the Creative Commons licences with talks by Yannick H’Madoun (Open Knowledge Foundation) and Stefano Caneva and  Derek Giroulle (Wikimedia Belgium), explaining the many possibilities of GLAMwiki, Wiki Loves Monuments and Wiki Loves Art. Personally, I didn’t need to be convinced any longer that open licensing has its merits. But some interesting issues like what about CC-BY-SA? Share alike could mean that if you mix CC-BY-SA content with content that has other licensing you run into issues. To be continued ….


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