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We Have Interesting Problems: Some Applied Grand Challenges from Digital Libraries, Archives and Museums

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Libraries, Archives and Museums now have massive digital
holdings. There is tremendous potential for library and
information science, computer science and computer engineering
researchers to partner with cultural heritage institutions and
make our digital cultural record more useful and usable. In
particular, there is a significant need to bridge basic research in
areas such as computer vision, crowdsourcing, natural language
processing, multilingual OCR, and machine learning to make this
work directly usable in the practices of cultural heritage
institutions. In this talk, I discuss a series of exemplar projects,
largely funded through the Institute of Museum and Library
Services National Digital Platform initiative, that illustrate some
key principles for building applied research partnerships with
cultural heritage institutions. Building on Ben Schniderman’s
The New ABCs of Research: Achieving Breakthrough
Collaborations, I focus specifically on why the public purpose
and missions of cultural heritage institutions are particularly
valuable in establishing new kinds of collaborations that can
simultaneously advance basic research and the ability for people
of the world to engage with their cultural record.

Published in: Data & Analytics
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We Have Interesting Problems: Some Applied Grand Challenges from Digital Libraries, Archives and Museums

  1. 1. WE HAVE INTERESTING PROBLEMSSOME APPLIED GRAND CHALLENGES FROM DIGITAL LIBRARIES, ARCHIVES AND MUSEUMS
  2. 2. TALK ROADMAP - Context on where I’m coming from - The New ABCs of Research as Framework - Examples from IMLS National Digital Platform Projects - Examples of initiatives from LC Labs - Some Jumping off Points and Applied Grand Challenges
  3. 3. CONTEXT ON WHERE I’M COMING FROM
  4. 4. https://lj.libraryjournal.com/2017/12/people/qa-with-trevor- owens-lc-head-of-digital-content-management/#_
  5. 5. The Theory and Craft of Digital Preservation https://osf.io/preprints/lissa/5cpjt/
  6. 6. THE NEW ABCS OF RESEARCH AS A FRAMEWORK
  7. 7. EXAMPLES FROM IMLS NATIONAL DIGITAL PLATFORM PROJECTS
  8. 8. NDP@3 REPORT DETAILS RESULTS AND TRENDS
  9. 9. Extending Intelligent Computational Image Analysis for Archival Discovery (LG-71-16-0152-16), Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska, $462,317 The Image Analysis for Archival Discovery (Aida) research team at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will investigate the use of image analysis as a methodology for content identification, description, and information retrieval in digital libraries and other digitized collections. The project will focus on identifying poetic and advertising content in digitized historic newspapers. Using a machine learning approach, the project will result in an intelligent computational system that can process digital images and identify these specific types of content. https://www.imls.gov/grants/awarded/LG-71-16- 0152-16
  10. 10. Improving Access to Time-Based Media through Crowdsourcing and Machine Learning (LG-71-15-0208- 15), WGBH Educational Foundation, $898,474 WGBH, in partnership with Pop-Up Archive, will address the challenges faced by many libraries and archives trying to provide better online access to their media collections. This 30-month research project will explore and test technological and social approaches for metadata creation by leveraging scalable computation and engaging the public to improve access through crowdsourcing games for time-based media. https://www.imls.gov/grants/awarded/LG-71-15-0208-15
  11. 11. Systems Interoperability and Collaborative Development for Web Archiving $353,221 and $98,460 in cost share: The Internet Archive, with the University of North Texas, Rutgers University, and Stanford University Library will build a foundation for collaborative technology development, improved systems interoperability, and an Application Programming Interface (API) based model for enhanced access to, and research use of, web archives. In working with the Archive-It platform, used by more than 350 partner institutions, results of this research will be directly applicable to libraries, archives, and museums around the country and the world. https://www.imls.gov/grants/awarded/LG-71-15- 0174-15
  12. 12. Transforming Libraries and Archives through Crowdsourcing (LG-71-16-0028-16), Adler Planetarium, $1,214,780 This research partnership between Adler Planetarium’s Library and researchers at Oxford University, will expand the capacity for libraries and archives across the country to use crowdsourcing techniques to engage with audiences and improve access to digital collections. Through this effort, the team will develop a series of library/archive Zooniverse projects that explore improvements to full text and audio transcription and image annotation crowdsourcing tools and research differences between transcribing in isolation versus with knowledge of others’ transcription. Lessons learned from these projects will be incorporated into the Project Builder. https://www.imls.gov/grants/awarded/LG- 71-16-0028-16
  13. 13. Programmatic Extraction of “Documents” from Web Archives (LG-71-17-0202-17), University of North Texas, $318,988 The University of North Texas Libraries and the Computer Science and Engineering Department will research the efficacy of using machine-learning algorithms to identify and extract publications contained in web archives. The overarching goal of this project is to understand if machine- learning models can successfully identify content-rich PDF and Word documents from web archives that align with library and archives collecting plans. https://www.imls.gov/grants/awarded/LG-71-17-0202-17
  14. 14. EXAMPLES OF INITIATIVES FROM LC LABS
  15. 15. Jer Thorp, Innovator in Residence • Overview https://labs.loc.gov/experiments/innovator-in-residence-jer-thorp/ • Research materials https://osf.io/b7e6w/ • Code https://github.com/blprnt/loc • Podcast https://artistinthearchive.podbean.com/ Laura Wrubel’s Library of Congress Colors • Application https://loc-colors.glitch.me/ • Code https://github.com/lwrubel/loc-colors • Blog post https://blogs.loc.gov/thesignal/2018/01/from-code-to-colors-working-with-the- loc-gov-json-api/ Tahir Hemphill, Papamarkou Chair in Education at the John W. Kluge Center • About Hip Hop Word Count https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/04/01/rap- sheet-2 • Studio https://www.tahirhemphill.com/ • Past chairs https://www.loc.gov/loc/kluge/fellowships/hpeducation.html Reports • Gallinger, M. & Chudnov, D. Recommendations for a Digital Scholarship Lab at the Library of Congress • Herron, S. Digital Scholarship Resource Guide. • Access the reports https://labs.loc.gov/meta/reports/ LC LABS RESOURCES
  16. 16. SOME JUMPING OFF POINTS AND APPLIED GRAND CHALLENGES
  17. 17. SOME ESSENTIAL APPLIED RESEARCH AREAS - How can various new technologies be implemented to scale the ability to acquire, describe, organize and make available digital collections? - How can we best integrate various automated methods for working with digital collections with the work of subject catalogers/subject matter experts? - What ways can we best connect and build relationships with various user communities through crowdsourcing initiatives? - What do all of these technologies look like in ongoing production workflows?
  18. 18. SOME MORE SPECIFIC EXAMPLES - Working models for content addressable storage in digital repository storage architectures - Reconciling data warehousing approaches with library approaches to content and metadata management - Weaving together structured cataloging workflows with metadata generating mechanisms (crowdsourcing, NLP, Computer Vision, etc.) - Virtual machines general purpose policy based restricted access infrastructure - Enabling data mining and computational scholarship on arbitrary restricted access collections

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