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Community building through the DM2E project

- April 8, 2015 in community, DM2E, linked-open-data, Open GLAM

During the past three years, Open Knowledge has been leading the community building work in the Digitised Manuscripts to Europeana (DM2E) project, a European research project in the area of Digital Humanities led by Humboldt University. Open Knowledge activities included the organisation of a series of events such as Open Data in Cultural Heritage workshops, running two rounds of the Open Humanities Awards and the establishment of OpenGLAM as an active volunteer-led community pushing for increased openness in cultural heritage.

DM2E and the Linked Open Web

dm2e_logoAs one of its core aims, the DM2E project worked on enabling libraries and archives to easily upload their digitised material into Europeana – the online portal that provides access to millions of items from a range of Europe’s leading galleries, libraries, archives and museums. In total, over 20 million manuscript pages from libraries, archives and research institutions were added during the three years of the project. In line with the Europeana Data Exchange Agreement, all contributing institutions agreed to make their metadata openly available under the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication license (CC-0), which allows for easier reuse. Since different providers make their data available in different formats, the DM2E consortium developed a toolset that converted metadata from a diverse range of formats into the DM2E model, an application profile of the Europeana Data Model (EDM). The developed software also allows the contextualisation and linking of this cultural heritage data sets, which makes this material suitable for use within the Linked Open Web. An example of this is the Pundit tool, which Net7 developed to enable researchers to add annotations in a digital text and link them to related texts or other resources on the net (read more).

Open Knowledge achievements

Open Knowledge was responsible for the community building and dissemination work within DM2E, which, apart from promoting and documenting the project results for a wide audience, focused on promoting and raising awareness around the importance of open cultural data. The presentation below sums up the achievements made during the project period, including the establishment of OpenGLAM as a community, the organisation of the event series and the Open Humanities Awards, next to the extensive project documentation and dissemination through various channels.


OpenGLAM-logoIn order to realise the value of the tools developed in DM2E, as well as to truly integrate the digitised manuscripts into the Linked Data Web, there need to be enough other open resources to connect to and an active community of cultural heritage professionals and developers willing to extend and re-use the work undertaken as part of DM2E. That is why Open Knowledge set up the OpenGLAM community: a global network of people and organisations who are working to open up cultural content and data. OpenGLAM focuses on promoting and furthering free and open access to digital cultural heritage by maintaining an overview of Open Collections, providing documentation on the process and benefits of opening up cultural data, publishing regular news and blog items and organising diverse events. Since the start in 2012, OpenGLAM has grown into a large, global, active volunteer-led community (and one of the most prominent Open Knowledge working groups to date), supported by a network of organisations such as Europeana, the Digital Public Library of America, Creative Commons and Wikimedia. Apart from the wider community taking part in the OpenGLAM discussion list, there is a focused Working Group of 17 open cultural data activists from all over the world, a high-level Advisory Board providing strategic guidance and four local groups that coordinate OpenGLAM-related activities in their specific countries. Following the end of the DM2E project, the OpenGLAM community will continue to push for openness in digital cultural heritage.

Open Humanities Awards

openhumanitieslogosAs part of the community building efforts, Open Knowledge set up a dedicated contest awards series focused on supporting innovative projects that use open data, open content or open source tools to further teaching and research in the humanities: the Open Humanities Awards. During the two competition rounds that took place between 2013-2014, over 70 applications were received, and 5 winning projects were executed as a result, ranging from an open source Web application which allows people to annotate digitized historical maps (Maphub) to an improved search application for Wittgenstein’s digitised manuscripts (Finderapp WITTfind). Winners published their results on a regular basis through the DM2E blog and presented their findings at conferences in the field, proving that the awards served as a great way to stimulate innovative digital humanities research using open data and content. Details on all winning projects, as well as final reports on their results, are available from this final report.

DM2E event series

Over the course of the project, Open Knowledge organised a total of 18 workshops, focused on promoting best practices in legal and technical aspects of opening up metadata and cultural heritage content, providing demonstration and training with the tools and platforms developed in the project and hackdays and coding sprints. Highlights included the Web as Literature conference at the British Library in 2013, the Open Humanities Hack series and the Open Data in Cultural Heritage workshops, as a result of which several local OpenGLAM groups were started up. A full list of events and their outcomes is available from this final report. og_fringe_okfest14 Open Data in Cultural Heritage Workshop: Starting the OpenGLAM group for Germany (15 July 2014, Berlin) It has been a great experience being part of the DM2E consortium: following the project end, the OpenGLAM community will be sustained and build upon, so that we can realise a world in which our shared cultural heritage is open to all regardless of their background, where people are no longer passive consumers of cultural content created by an elite, but contribute, participate, create and share.

More information


- July 9, 2012 in Bibliographic, DM2E, Events, OKF Projects, Open GLAM, Our Work, Sprint / Hackday, TEXTUS, WG Open Bibliographic Data, Working Groups, Workshop

DSC02202 Last month we ran the Open Knowledge Foundation’s largest celebration of open bibliographic data to date. The main focus of the two-day event was to get some hacking done and use the tools the Open Knowledge Foundation has helped to build, or is currently building, for working with bibliographic data, such as BibServer, TEXTUS and BibSoup.

Open GLAM Workshop

CIMG6138 The other component to the two-day event was a one-day workshop for those working in cultural heritage institutions. It included an introduction to some of the basic technical concepts of open data such as APIs and Linked Data, as well as advice from experts in the field on how to prepare your data for a hackathon. The workshop also sought to start conversations with the institutions represented from around London about what the challenges were to opening up more of their collections online and how the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Open GLAM initiative could assist in the process. The write up of the workshop can be found on and over on the Talis Systems website (thank you Tim Hodson!) One highlight of the workshop was Harry Harrold’s brilliant talk on how to get your data ready for a hackathon:
Bibliohack: Preparing your data for a hackathon from UKOLN on Vimeo.

The Hacking

The hacking began with an agreed approach of identifying one unified problem and established the need to create ‘A Bibliographic Toolkit’: bringing together the tools necessary to liberate bibliographic data, make it openly available on the net and to interact with that data. The main components to this were:
  • Utilising BibServer – adding datasets and using PubCrawler
  • Creating an Open Access Index
  • Developing annotation tools
Project diagram Groups identified particular Open Knowledge Foundation projects including TEXTUS and BibServer to find out what they could offer as part of this Toolkit, and looked into other available facilities on the web. It was so exciting so see people approaching common problems from different angles and finding new ways around problems. One example of this was the TEXTUS group’s new approach to managing bibliographic references and how it can complement approaches to semantic annotation currently being worked on by the DM2E team who were present at the hack. Adrian Pohl and Etienne Posthumus’s attempt to load the whole of German National Bibliography into a Bibserver was another such example. For some more detailed information on what occurred each day, check out the daily blog reports we wrote over on

Big Thanks

We’d like to thank all the groups involved who made the two days such a success, especially DevCSI, UK Discovery DM2E, Open GLAM, Open Biblio and all of the participants. The OKFN frequently arranges workshops, hackdays and meet-ups, so do keep an eye on this blog and meet-up channel for news of upcoming events.

Hackathon alert: BiblioHack!

- May 9, 2012 in Bibliographic, DM2E, Events, Featured, OKF Projects, Open GLAM, Sprint / Hackday, WG Cultural Heritage, WG Open Bibliographic Data, Working Groups, Workshop

The Open Knowledge Foundation’s Open Biblio group, and Working Group on Open Data in Cultural Heritage, along with DevCSI, present BiblioHack: an open Hackathon to kick-start the summer months. From Wednesday 13th – Thursday 14th June, we’ll be meeting at Queen Mary, University of London, East London, and any budding hackers are welcome, along with anyone interested in opening up metadata and the open cause – this free event aims to bring together software developers, project managers, librarians and experts in the area of Open Bibliographic Data. A workshop will run alongside the coding on the 13th, and a meet-up on the evening of the 12th is open to all whether you’re attending the Hackathon or not.

What is BiblioHack?

BiblioHack will be two days of hacking and sharing ideas about open bibliographic metadata. There will be opportunities to hack on open bibliographic datasets and experiment with new prototypes and tools. The focus will be on building things and improving existing systems that enable people and institutions to get the most of bibliographic data. If you’re a non-coder there are sessions for you too. We will be running a hands-on workshop addressing the technical aspects to opening up cultural heritage data looking at best of breed open source tools for doing that, preparing your data for a hackathon and the best standards for storing and exposing your data to make it more easily re-used.

When and where?

  • The main hackathon will take place over two days between 13th and 14th June at Queen Mary University of London
  • On the morning of the 13th June we’ll be running the workshop addressed at the technical challenges to opening up metadata. So for those unable to participate in the hack due to time constraints or lack of coding know how – this is for you!
  • On the 12th June – Tuesday evening (details TBC but will be a pub in central / east London!) – we’ll also be hosting a meet-up for anyone attending the hack and open data more generally. Whether it’s open bibliographic data, spending or government data that floats your boat all tribes are welcome!

Who is organising the event?

Who else is involved?

We’ve already lined up a whole host of speakers and groups who’ll be attending both the hack and the workshop. The list so far includes UK Discovery, CKAN, Europeana, Total Impact, Neontribe, The British Library with many more to be added in the coming days…

You’re giving your time and expertise – what do you get if you attend the whole hack?

  • Accommodation at QMUL overnight on the 13th
  • Food and drink across the 3 days
  • The chance to work with experts in their fields
  • Admiration and respect from your peers
  • We could expound at length, but… go on, you know you want to (it’s free!)

How can I sign up?

  • Register here for the 2 day hack
  • Register here for workshop only
  • Register here for Meet-up only
Please note, if you wish to attend all 3 events you should sign up for each, and the Workshop will run in parallel with the hacking on the morning of the 13th.

More questions?

Contact Naomi Lillie on admin [@] See you there!

Open GLAM Workshop in Berlin – Register now!

- April 2, 2012 in Chapters, DM2E, Events, News, OKF Germany, OKF Projects, Open GLAM, Our Work, Workshop

  Following on from our Open GLAM workshop in London, in a few weeks we’re hosting a half day workshop in Berlin looking at how to overcome barriers to opening up data in the cultural heritage sector entitled Rechtliche Fragen beim Öffnen von (Meta-) Daten Gedächtnisinstitutionen (Legal Questions Regarding (Meta)data in Cultural Heritage Institutions). We have already confirmed speakers from the Wikimedia Foundation, Creative Commons, Europeana, the Staatsbibliothek, and other cultural heritage institutions.


If you’re interested in participating, please send an email to: joris.pekel [at] or register right now.


Staatsbibliothek Berlin, DE


20th April 2011 13:00 – 17:00


Galleries, libraries, archives and museums around the world are opening up datasets, documents and other digital assets to enable the creation of innovative web and mobile services. This half day, hands-on workshop aims to help decision makers in the cultural heritage sector to navigate the plethora of licensing options for opening up their data and what it means for their business models. The workshop will include:
  • Case studies on successful open data initiatives presented by leading practitioners
  • An open data licensing clinic with lawyers and legal experts, to address issues and questions about common licensing frameworks


  • Daniel Dietrich (OKFN) will open the workshop with a word of welcome and facilitate the rest of the day. He will start the day with an overview of the current situation and why it can be beneficial for institutions to open up and share their data
  • Dr. Jutta Weber (Staatsbibliothek Berlin) will give a presentation about the experiences the Staatsbibliothek has with releasing data under an open license
  • Dr. Paul Klimpel gives a presentation about the legal possibilities when institutions open up their cultural (meta)data
  • Mathias Schindler (Wikimedia) gives an overview of the work Wikimedia has been doing in this area, showcases and examples, as well as where they stand now and future developments
  • John Hendrik Weitzmann (CC) gives an overview of the different licensing models related to opening up data
  • Paul Keller (Europeana) presents the work Europeana is doing and what it means for cultural institutions to join and openly license their metadata
  • We will end the session with a round table discussion
The workshop is organised by Joris Pekel as part of the Open GLAM initiative in association with the Open Knowledge Foundation and in cooperation with Wikimedia DE and Creative Commons. The event is kindly hosted by the Staatsbibliothek Berlin. Please note that all presentations will be in German.  

Announcing DM2E: Exploring the possibilities of Linked Open Data in cultural heritage

- March 19, 2012 in DM2E, Featured, Our Work, WG Cultural Heritage, WG Humanities, WG Open Bibliographic Data

The Open Knowledge Foundation is delighted to announce that it will be leading the community work for a three-year EU funded project entitled Digitised Manuscripts to Europena (DM2E). The project consortium, which includes academic institutions, NGOs and commercial partners, will be led by Professor Stefan Gradmann at the Humboldt University.


The project aims to enable as many of Europe’s memory institutions to easily upload their digital content into Europeana.

Europeana is Europe’s largest cultural heritage portal, giving access to millions of digital artefacts contributed by over 2000 cultural heritage institutions across Europe. Founded in 2008, Europeana offers access to Europe’s history to all citizens with an internet connection. Not only does Europeana hold a huge amount of promise for researchers and scholars who benefit immensely from having access to huge aggregated datasets about cultural heritage objects, but through the use of APIs Europeana promises to stimulate the development of a swathe of apps and tools with applications in tourism and education.

Open GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums)

As part of DM2E, the Open Knowledge Foundation will be continuing to work closely with cultural institutions from all over Europe encouraging them to openly license their metadata. Metadata that is contributed to content aggregation platforms like Europeana is most valuable if it is openly licensed, maximising the number of applications it can have. The Open Knowledge Foundation’s Open Bibliographical Principles are the expression of the ideas we seeks to realise in this field. Last year, the team at Europeana announced their new Data Exchange Agreement which stipulates that metadata must be provided to Europeana under the Creative Commons Public Domain License (CC-0). This is a significant step towards the goal of achieving an open cultural heritage data ecosystem that extends access to all, and encourages the reuse of cultural data in a whole variety of novel contexts both commercial and non-commercial. The Open Knowledge Foundation’s Open GLAM work will be key in this respect. We will be teaming up with the likes of Wikimedia, Creative Commons and UK Discovery to run open licensing clinics and technical workshops for librarians and archivists all over Europe in order to demystify some of the legal issues around open metadata, and also to showcase projects that build upon openly licensed content to show just what is possible when you free your metadata! The next workshop in this strand will be held at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin on April 20th and it will be co-hosted with Wikimedia Germany. Watch this space for more details!

Linked Open Data in cultural heritage

One of the core aspirations of DM2E is to leverage the tremendous potential offered by Linked Data technologies such as RDF to create a network of interconnected and linked cultural datasets. To have cultural heritage data in Linked Data formats will enable the automated enrichment of metadata provided to Europeana. For instance, any metadata fields about authors of books will be linked to the giant DBPedia datasets, thus supplying more information about the life of that particular author, ultimately enriching the original metadata record. The important task of building a tool that will translate “flat” (non-linked) data from cultural heritage institutions into RDF falls to the Freie Universität Berlin. They will develop technology that can take a diverse range of metadata types as its source, and turn them into the Linked Data that aligns with the Europeana Data Model (EDM). For any of you who want to brush up on just what Linked Data is and why it is relevant to cultural heritage, the folk at Europeana made a wonderful video explaining it all recently:

Engaging researchers

But DM2E is not only about enabling more archives and libraries to provide linked open metadata to Europeana, it’s also about working with research communities who will consume the aggregated Linked Data on Europeana. The Italian company Net7 will be leading work on tools that will help scholars from the humanities to work with this data. Tools for semantic annotation and building collections of texts on which complex analysis can be formed will be key.

Key links