Using an Art Museum’s Open Data

*Edits on original idea and original piece by C. Berman by Billy Tringali

As a former art history student, I’m incredibly interested in the how the study of art history can be aided by the digital humanities. More and more museums have started allowing the public to access a portion of their data. When it comes to open data, museums seem to be lagging a bit behind other cultural heritage institutions, but many are providing great open data for humanists.

For art museums, the range of data provided ranges. Some museums are going the extra mile to give a lot of their metadata to the public. Others are picking and choosing aspects of their collection, such as the Museum of Modern Art’s Exhibition and Staff Histories.

Many museums, especially those that collect modern and contemporary art, can have their hands tied by copyright laws when it comes to the data they present. A few of the data sets currently available from art museums are the Cooper Hewitt’s Collection Data, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts metadata, the Rijksmuseum API, the Tate Collection metadata, and the Getty Vocabularies.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has recently released all images of the museum’s public domain works under a Creative Commons Zero license.

More museum data can be found here!

Spotlight: Open Culture

The Open Culture logo.

The Internet is the world’s hub for culture. You can find anything and everything from high-definition scans of sixteenth-century art to pixel drawings created yesterday. However, actually finding that content — and knowing which content you are free to use and peruse — can prove a difficult task to many. That’s why Open Culture has made it its mission to “bring together high-quality cultural & entertainment media for the worldwide lifelong learning community.”

Run by Lead Editor Dan Colman, director & associate dean of Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program, Open Culture finds cultural resources that include online courses, taped lectures, movies, language lessons, recordings, book lists, syllabi, eBooks, audio books, text books, K-12 resources, art and art images, music and writing tips, among many other resources. The website itself does not host any of the content; rather, Colman and his team scour the Internet looking for these resources, some of which may seem obvious, but also including many resources that are obscure. Posting daily, the Open Culture team writes articles ranging from “Stevie Nicks “Shows Us How to Kick Ass in High-Heeled Boots” in a 1983 Women’s Self Defense Manual” to “John F. Kennedy Explains Why Artists & Poets Are Indispensable to American Democracy (October 26th, 1963”. Open Culture finds content that is useful, whimsical, timely, or all three.

The Open Culture website itself can be a little difficult to navigate. Links to content can seem hidden in the article format of Open Culture, and the various lists on the right side of the screen are clunky and require too much scrolling. However, the content that you find on the site more than makes up for the website design.

Have you used Open Culture before? Do you have other ways to find cultural resources on the web? Let us know in the comments!

Pinterest Pages for Researchers

The Pinterest logo.

When one thinks of Pinterest, they tend to associate it with work night crock pot recipes and lifehacks that may or may not always work. But Pinterest can also be a great place to store and share links and information relating to your academic discipline that is widely accessible and free. In this post, we’ll look at how threegroups use Pinterest in different ways to help their mission, then go through some pros and cons of using Pinterest for academic endeavors

Examples of Groups Using Pinterest

A Digital Tool Box for Historians

A Digital Tool Box for Historians is exactly what it says on the tin. On the date this post was written, A Digital tool Box for Historians boasts 124 pins, each a link to a digital resource that can help historians. Resources range from free-to-use websites to pay-to-use software and everything in-between. It is an easy to follow board that is made for easy browsing.

Europeana

Europeana is a website dedicated to collecting and sharing cultural artifacts and art from around the world. Their Pinterest page serves as a virtual museum with pins grouped into thematic boards, as if they were galleries. With over a hundred and fifty boards, their subject matter ranges from broad themes (such as their Birds and Symbolism board), artistic medium (such as their Posters board, or specific artistic movements or artists (such as their Henri Verstijnen – Satirical Drawings board). Pinterest users can then subscribe to favorite boards and share pieces that they find moving, thus increasing the dissemination of pieces that could remain static if only kept on the Europeana website.

Love Your Data Week

Sponsored by — you guessed it — Love Your Data Week, the Love Your Data Week Pinterest board serves as a community place to help institutions prepare for Love Your Data Week. Resources shared on the Love Your Data Week board can either be saved to an institution’s own Love Your Data board, or used on their other social media channels to spark discussion.

Pros and Cons of Pinterest

  • Pros
    • Can spread your work to a non-academic audience
    • Free
    • Easily accessible
    • Easy to use
    • Brings content from other platforms you may use together
    • Visually appealing
    • Well-known
  • Cons
    • Poor tagging and search systems
    • Interface can be difficult to use, especially for users with disabilities
    • Content gets “buried” very quickly
    • Poor for long-format content
    • Non-academic reputation

Whether it’s a gallery, tool kit, or resource aggregation, Pinterest shows potential for growth in academic and research circles. Have you used Pinterest for academics before? How’d it go? Any tips you’d like to give? Let us know in the comments!

 

Text Analysis Basics – See Your Words in Voyant!

Interested in doing basic text analysis but have no or limited programming experience? Do you feel intimidated by the command line? One way to get started with text analysis, visualization, and uncovering patterns in large amounts of text is with browser-based programs! And today we have a mega blockbuster blog post extravaganza about Voyant Tools!

Voyant is a great solid browser based tool for text analysis. It is part of the Text Analysis Portal for Research (TAPoR)  http://tapor.ca/home. The current project leads are Stéfan Sinclair at McGill University (one of the minds behind BonPatron!) and Geoffrey Rockwell at the University of Alberta.

Analyzing a corpus:

I wanted to know what I needed to know to get a job so I got as many job ads as I could and ran them through very basic browser-based text analysis tools (to learn more about Word Clouds check out this recent post for Commons Knowledge all about them!) in order to see if what I needed to study in library school would emerge and I could then use that information to determine which courses I should take. This was an interesting idea and I mostly found that jobs prefer you have an ALA-accredited degree, which was consistent with what I had heard from talking to librarians. Now I have collected even more job ads (around December from the ALA job list mostly with a few from i-Link and elsewhere) to see what I can find out (and hopefully figure out some more skills I should be developing while I’m still in school).

Number of job ads = 300 there may be a few duplicates and this is not the cleanest data.

Uploading a corpus:

Voyant Tools is found at https://voyant-tools.org.

Voyant Home Page

For small amounts of text, copy and paste into the “Add Text” box. Otherwise, add files by clicking “Upload” and choosing the Word or Text files you want to analyze. Then click “Reveal”.

So I added in my corpus and here’s what comes up:

To choose a different view click  the small rectangle icon and choose from a variety of views. To save the visualization you created in order to later incorporate it into your research click the arrow and rectangle “Upload” icon and choose which aspect of the visualization you want to save.

Mode change option circled

“Stop words” are words excluded because they are very common words such as “the” or “and” that don’t always tell us anything significant about the content of our corpus. If you are interested in adding stop words beyond the default settings, you can do that with the following steps:

Summary button on Voyant circled

1. Click on Summary

Home screen for Voyant with the edit settings circled

2. Click on the define options button

Clicking on edit list in Voyant

3. If you want to add more words to the default StopList click Edit List

Edit StopList window in Voyant

4. Type in new words and edit the ones already there in the default StopList and click Save to save.

Mouse click on New User Defined List

5. Or to add your own list click New User Defined List and paste in your own list in the Edit list feature instead of editing the default list.

Here are some of the cool different views you can choose from in Voyant:

Word Cloud:

The Links mode, which shows connections between different words and how often they are paired with the thickness of the line between them.

My favorite mode is TextArc based on the text analysis and visualization project of the same name created by W. Brad Paley in the early 2000s. More information about this project can be found at http://www.textarc.org/, where you can also find Text arc versions of classic literature.

Voyant is pretty basic, it will give you a bunch of stuff you probably already knew, such as to get a library job it helps to have library experience. The advantage of the TextArc setting is that it puts everything out there and lets you see the connections between different words. And okay, it looks really cool too.

Check it out the original animated below! Warning this may slow down or even crash your browser:  https://voyant-tools.org/?corpus=3de9f7190e781ce7566e01454014a969&view=TextualArc

I also like the Bubbles feature (not to be confused with the Bubblelines feature) though none of the other GAs or staff here do, one going so far as to refer to it as an “abomination”.

Circles with corpus words (also listed in side pane) on inside

Truly abominable

The reason I have not included a link to this is DEFAULT VERSION MAY NOT MEET WC3 WEB DESIGN EPILEPSY GUIDELINES. DO NOT TRY IF YOU ARE PRONE TO PHOTOSENSITIVE SEIZURES. It is adapted from the much less flashy “Letter Pairs” project created by Martin Ignacio Bereciartua. This mode can also crash your browser.

To learn more about applying for jobs we have a Savvy Researcher workshop!

If you thought these tools were cool, to learn more advanced text mining techniques we have an upcoming Savvy Researcher workshop, also on March 6 :

Happy text mining and job searching! Hope to see some of you here at Scholarly Commons on March 6!

Annotating Images with Thinglink

Thinglink is a web-based interface that allows users to annotate photos with words, links, and other media in order to create interactive experiences. It can be used in a variety of ways, but here we’ll showcase how you can use Thinglink to make static images come alive. These techniques can be used for classes or assignments, and can help students and participants contextualize images with links and information provided by their teacher. Including everything from fun facts to links to academic articles can make an image come alive, and brighten up your lesson plans.

For Thinglink’s basic package, you don’t have to pay, but you do have to create an account. Once you do, you can either go through their tutorials, or get started with your own image. I’ve chosen Diego Velázquez‘s 1656 painting Las Meninas to use as my example. Adding content is simple — just click on the area you’d like to tag and adding your content in the left side bar.

tl1

The initial set-up with no tags.

tl2

Adding my caption for the Infant Margaret Theresa of Spain.

Unfortunately, the free package doesn’t allow you much customization as far as styling goes, so you will have the big white dots as tags. That being said, in the final image, the dots will not appear unless the user has their cursor on the actual image. However, you still want to be careful not to entirely cover up the important part of your image that you’re talking about, because you won’t be able to see them when the tag appears.

These tags can include links, text — even videos and videos! In my photo, I’m including the link to an influential article about Las Meninas, and explaining why a certain part of the picture corresponds to that article.

Including links to articles with ideas from their authors allows the user to showcase a number of different views in one image.

Including links to articles with ideas from their authors allows the user to showcase a number of different views in one image.

In this section, I’m adding a YouTube video that can be played through the annotation, simply by adding the URL to the video. If you’re having trouble finding multimedia that you’d like to share, you can search in the upper right search box and Thinglink will provide you with suggestions ranging from YouTube Videos to Amazon books and everything in between.

Adding multimedia can add depth to your analysis.

Adding multimedia can add depth to your analysis.

My search for Las Meninas content.

My search for Las Meninas content.

When you’re done, simply press ‘Save Image’ and it will direct you to a permalink for your new, tagged image!

Have questions about images and how you can incorporate them into your work? Email Visual Resources and Outreach Specialist Sarah Christensen or visit the Scholarly Commons, open Monday through Friday, 9am-6pm.