Opening “All our Yesterdays” in Pisa

On Friday April 11th we had the official opening of the exhibition “All our Yesterdays” in the beautifully restored Palazzo Lanfranchi in Pisa. The Palazzo is home to the new “Museo Della Grafica“. Image

After some welcome words by Antonella Fresa (Promoter), the major of Pisa Marco Filippeschi and the director of the museum Alessandro Tosi, the patronage of Dario Danti, the chancelor of Culture, guests were able to see the exceptional exhibition curated by Pietro Masi (Promoter) and Sofie Taes (KU Leuven). In close collaboration with the partners Sofie Taes, who authored the catalog, distilled the several subthemes of the overall concept, while Pietro Masi and the Promoter team arranged a sometimes magical positioning of the images in the several rooms of the exhibition. With the help of the European Union in the form of a CIP-project “EuropeanaPhotography“, top photo archives, musea and agencies from Europe were able to digitize images from early photography (1839-1939), involving techniques such as Daguerreotype, Glass negative and Albumen print into very high resolution images (digitzed up to 100 Megapixel), that were her printed on high quality cotton paper in sizes up to 80×70 cm.

Wiebe de Jager, representative for Europeana, stressed the value of these collections for the goals of Europeana in his presentation.

All our Yesterdays

All our Yesterdays opening

Viewing these top photographs at such a high resolution and with full dynamic range, gives a totally new experience and a different experience to the historic event. As one of the guests pointed out: “it is as if I can touch the people on the images”.

This the way we want digital techniques to be transformational: while being true to the original and conveying this causal link with the past event, the new digital representation – in itself a new work of art – breaks the original “framing” of the perception and triggers a re-experience of what photographically mediated experience is all about.

Entrance expo

Entrance expo

For the theme of the exhibition the partners chose to go for vernacular photography, highlighting city life as it was witnessed by the best photographers. So rather than well-known historical events the focus is on people on the streets, experiencing joy, leisure, hardships, work. It is something we hope the visitors will relate to. For that very reason the exhibition also hosts a digitisation studio, and we encourage the public to bring their old vintage photographs. In the exhibition a very nice amateur collection is displayed.

Read more also on DigitalMeetsCulture.

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All our Yesterdays

All our Yesterdays

EuropeanaPhotography Exhibition

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EP Paris IPR Workshop

Photo: Boris Lipnitzki

© Boris Lipnitzki – Roger Viollet

On  Thursday 14 and Friday November 15th 2013, we had an IPR workshop for EuropeanaPhotography in Paris, organized by Nathalie Doury of Parisienne de Photographie, in Hôtel Villa Beaumarchais,  rue des Arquebusiers, near Parisienne de Photo premises.

Morning IPR sesion In the morning we had a presentation by Angelina Petrovic, paralegal consultant & an experienced specialist of  IPR related to photography, and Stefan Biberfeld, both with long previous experience with Corbis,  on the basic principles of Intellectual Property Rights applied to photography, and with a focus on photographers & third party rights (artists copyright, personality rights, etc…)

Morning WorkshopThis was followed by a most interesting Q&A session in the afternoon. We also discussed case studies based on examples provided by EuropeanaPhotography participants. Participants were invited to send questions in advance, as well as specific images or series of images they would like expert advice on. Besides the copyrights also moral rights and neighboring rights were lively discussed. It became clear that the whole discussion on Orphan Works has a serious impact on the project. True to our motto we discussed the case by looking at photo images, since we never have a meeting without doing exactly that!

Courtesy: United Archives

Courtesy: United Archives

Before dinner we had the opportunity to visit the photographic collection of Musée Carnavalet. This museum is dedicated to the history of Paris. Its photographic collection includes many masterpieces, including an impressive collection of works by Atget & Marville For more info on the collections :

At the musée Carnavalet, we had a close look at the following magnificent panoramic Daguerreotype : and many images from a.o. Charles Marville and Eugène Atget.

On Friday, Dimitrios Tsolis joined us, as well as Julia Fallon from the Europeana Foundation, who was so kind to discuss with us on outstanding issues concerning rights labelling in EuropeanaPhotography.

There is an attractiveness for private photo agencies and museums to put their images onto Europeana, because of the increased exposure. But of course, there is some hesitation to put high-resolution, printable images without watermarks online, since this is often the product being sold or charged for. Just like the photo-agencies who earn their money out of licensing their images, many museums are also encouraged by subsidizing governments to ask a fee for higher quality downloads or prints.

Julia FallonJulie Fallon gave a much appreciated overview of what is in the pipeline at Europeana. It was clear that what is planned not always matches the expectations of the EP partners, and a better representation in the developmment of these plans is certainly advisable.

Dimitrios Tsolis showed the results of the survey held amongst EP partners on IPR. From this it emerges that about 21% of what will be contributed through EuropeanaPhotography to Europeana are Orphan Works.

RecommendationsThe main issue is still the public domain mark: we understand that when a work is legally in the public domain, copyrights have expired and it is understandable that Europeana wants to inform the public about this, since this could foster reuse. But if this means that we should also provide a high-res image for free (as the newly discussed recommendations imply), than we are simply out of business: how can photo-agencies, archives and museums be remunerated for the care-taking of this heritage and the services they deliver? The balance between free access to works deemed in the public domain and the necessity to have a sustainable economic model for the image caretakers and service providers, whether they are private or publicly funded, requires some more debate.

There was also much confusion about the Orphan Works directive , how OHIM would support this and what it would mean for EuropeanaPhotography partners. Since the procedure to get the Orphan Works copyright exemption seems cumbersome and unrealistic, many partners around the table felt little appetite to do the effort, and are assessing their risks. We discussed tentatively what role Europeana itself could take up in this matter.

Anyway we felt that in EuropeanaPhotography we should look for existing best practices in “diligent search”, and if needed develop our own set of guidelines of what we deem a best professional effort to determine the author rights of a presumed orphan work.

But nothing could spoil the joy of having the first EuropeanaPhotography images online at Europeana!

In the afternoon I took the train home; not the one below, but as a train enthusiast I prefer these now classic electrolocs over the slick Thalys!

Classic SNCF Loc BB 7200

Classic SNCF Loc BB 7200

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Presentation of EuropeanaPhotography in Helsinki November 4th, 2013

Conference at Finnish National Photo museumOn monday 4th of november we presented EuropeanaPhotography at the National Museum of Finland in Helsinki, on invitation by Elina Heikka, director of the Finnish Museum of Photography and curator Anni Wallenius.

We were greeted by enthusiastic colleagues with a keen interest in photographic heritage. Although some of the presentations were in Finnish, this didn’t stop us from being impressed by some strong initiatives, such as and, that open up Finnish heritage to the wider community.
Our presentation, jointly with Sofie Taes, was well received, there was special interest for our multilingual thesaurus on early photography – in twelve languages: Bulgarian, Catalan, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Lithuanian, Polish, Slovak, Spanish – soon Ukrainian and Chinese will follow. The vocabulary is published in skosified form at Sofie’s talk about the MINT tool (which adds the multilingual vocabulary and maps the data between the proprietary formats from the content providers to the LIDO intermediate scheme and from LIDO To EDM) were followed with great interest.
Sofie Taes
On the kind invitation of Head of Department Vesa Hongisto and Ismo Malinen, I was able to visit the premises of the Finnish National Board of Antiquities (MuseoVirasto) , a state-of-the art archive.
An absolute highlight of the day was the opening of the magnificent exhibition on surreal illusionism in belle epoque postcard art at the Finnish Museum of Photography. The possibility to print family photos on postcards quickly led to a DIY culture of fantasy, often surrealistic collages, strongly reminding what is happening on Flickr or YouTube today.
Lecture by Anna BomanBesides the very captivating lectures on initiatives such as and, Anna Boman from the Swedish National Heritage Board gave a much appreciated lecture on what can be achieved using Flickr to engage the public with collections.
These examples capture perfectly how photography as a technique enables us to engage a culturalized world where our aspirations, dreams and fantasies define the reality as we experience it.
And although it was a rainy day, the city of Helsinki with its huge shopping malls quickly captured us as a metropolitan center that should be on everyone’s trip wish list!
One of the ambitions of EuropeanaPhotography is to tell a more comprehensive, inclusive story about Europe. Connecting to the rich heritage of Finland can only bring us closer to this goal. That such stare-the-art digitization and automation efforts are underway encourages us to strengthen this collaboration. We sure hope to add Finnish to the EuropeanaPhotography multilingual vocabulary soon!
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EuropeanaPhotography Plenary Meeting Vilnius

Kernavé archeological site, LithuaniaFrom September, 9th  till wednesday September, 11th we had the EuropeanaPhotography plenary meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania, organized by Viktorija Jonkute. The meeting focused on the communication strategy, the preparation of the exhibition, and the MINT mapping tool.

The general progress of the project is fine: we are meeting the digitization and metadata goals, and are ready to publish images to Europeana. We had discussions on Tuesday until late at night on the best concept for the exhibition, both thematically as well as about its concept. One thing however is already crystal clear: we will stun the public with amazing images, silent witnesses to Europe’s history.

EP meetingThe meeting venue was at the magnificent premises of the Vytautas Kasiulis Art Museum and the Lithuanian Art Museum (LAM). On Tuesday evening, the LAM opened the exhibition “The Elite of Lithuanian State Politics, Culture, Science, Society and its Environment from the second half of the 19th until the early 20th century”. This exhibition was made possible through the EP project, and shows the nascent nation of Litthuania through photographic testimony. At this occasion, we had the opportunity to consult the Lithuanian Integrated Library System

IMG_0364On Wednesday, a conference “Digitisation and Photographic Memory” was held, with contributions by project members. Fred Truyen opened with a reflection on memory versus history, and elaborated on the status of the photographical object and the way we can or should render photographic heritage today, taking into account that with current technology we can disclose much more of the image than was possibly produced at the time of the original. In a deliberate but measured provocation, Fred Truyen showed colourized images from United Archives using the FarbenFrooh technology, a courtesy by Frank Golomb.

John Balean (TopFoto)Emanuela Sesti of Fondazione Alinari went deeper into the topic  by focussing on best archival practice and creative representation of art. John Bolean of TopFoto blew the audience away with absolutely stunning images from the TopFoto collection digitised for EP. The Lithuanian speakers Danutė
Mukienė, Margarita Matulytė and Stanislovas Žvirgždas concentrated on Lithuania’s national history as documented in photographs and photographic albums, while Anna Grusková (Divadelný ústav) spoke about “The Secret of Theatre to be Discovered in Old Photographs”.

Antonella Fresa (Promoter), the technical coordinator of EP, concluded with a talk on “The creative re-use of digital cultural content”.

Kernavé viewTo conclude the meeting, we were kindly invited to a trip towards the Kernavé Archaeological site, birthplace of human presence in Lithuania; an absolutely thrilling experience with breathtaking UNESCO protected landscape and a very innovative archaeological museum. View some more photos on Facebook.

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OpenCourseWare EU Workshop Madrid

We held a workshop on Open Education and Student Mobility On Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 June 2013 in Madrid, at the facilities of UPM. On Tuesday we discussed what institutions can do with OpenCourseWare to promote student mobility, e.g. in the context of Erasmus Exchanges.


The workshop opened with a presentation by Willem van Valkenburg (TU Delft) on the OCW EU project. After a very inspiring exchange between  Alvaro Escribano (Telefonica-UC3M Chair of Economics of Telecommunications and Vice-Chancellor or International Relations of the University Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M)) and Miguel Angel Muñoz (Deputy General Director for European Affairs, Madrid’s Regional Government) moderated by Mary-Lou Forward (OCWC), Sophie Touzé (VetAgro Sup) and our host Edmundo Tovar (UPM) presented different scenario’s for OCW in mobility. See the slides here. They used the student exchange cycle to show how in each phase of the exchange OCW can help students to overcome problems and be better prepared. Marinela Garcia (Associate Dean for International Affairs and Director of the Program of Languages for Internationalization,  UPM) stressed the importance of language as a barrier for student exchanges.

During the second day, which was devoted to the students’ perspective, Stephanie Verbeken showed the new promotion videos we made.

Trailer OCW new from Stef on Vimeo.

Guest speaker George Ubachs (EADTU) presented the results of the NetCU project on Networked Curricula. Mariet Vriens (KU Leuven) gave a virtual presentation on EU-VIP.

I presented some ideas on “Perpetual Learning”: in fact, not only we, but the social network that we build on the internet is continuously learning, and continues to do so while we sleep.

We wrapped up with an interactive session moderated by Stephanie, using a voting system to discuss statements on OCW and student mobility.

Stay tuned for the final workshop in Lyon in december, where we will present the Student Handbook on OCW and Mobility, Guidelines for Institutions and present the OCW EU videos!

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EuropeanaPhotography meeting Athens



We had our third all-partner meeting on EuropeanaPhotography from March 13 to 15 2013 at the wonderfull location of Divani Palace Acropolis in Athens. In EuropeanaPhotography, an ICT-PSP project, we are digitizing early photographs from the 1839-1939 period. We have several high-profile musea, archives and private photo news archives participating in this effort. The images in question, portraits, landscapes, news events, city scapes, street images, travel memories etc. in various techniques such as glass plate, calotype, daguerreotype etc., are quite frankly amazing.

On March 13th, there was a technical training session on the use of the MINT mapping tool by our sympathetic host Nikos Simou from NTUA. This tool has been a true enabler for several heritage projects – such as Linked Heritage –  to contribute metadata from their collections to Europeana.

Taking care of European Photographical heritage has become a shared responsibility between public institutions and private companies. We had some interesting discussions about the photo as an intellectual object, and what this means for its integrity, authenticity and the intellectual and moral rights that are involved.

We hope that from our project, we will not only deliver Europeana visitors with 400.000+ masterpiece images that are a delight for the eye, but also a deep reflection and insights in how IPR management in the digital age can help build trusted sources. Europeana is no Google experience, it is about knowing who owns the image, who takes care of it, who warrants its authenticity.

And of course, each meeting we discover new delights: in Athens Frank Golomb from United-Archives showed me the amazing collections of Carl Simon – see an article about it on Digital Meets Culture, the online journal of our technical coordinator Promoter, and Gerald Piffl of Imagno Brandstätter showed images of the Photoatelier Setzer – Tschiedel. John Balean of TopFoto wrote a nice article on the rise of Press Photography agencies that will appear in a forthcoming issue of Uncommon Culture. Follow more on the EuropeanaPhotography website.

And no, travellers did not always climb the Acropolis to make a valuable photo, but it sure helps.

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Europeana Photography

ImageEuropeana Photography (European ancient photographic vintage repositories of digitized pictures of historical quality) is a EU-funded project to create a partnership with prestigious photographic collections from archives, public libraries and museums in order to conserve and make accessible online 100 years of photography, from the first example of images from Fox Talbot and Daguerre to the beginning of the Second World War.

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Digital Humanities @Arts

Digital Humanities @ArtsFrom September 19th to 21st, 2012 the Faculty of Arts organizes a workshop on Digital Humanities. International experts are joined by researchers of the Faculty’s Research Units to show state-of-the-art computer-assisted research. The workshops aims at doctoral students who want to learn about digital methodologies in related fields. The workshop is open to researchers and students from inside as well as outside KU Leuven. Check out the accepted posters. In the afternoon, hands-on sessions are organized to complement the lectures and poster presentations. #DigHumArts

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Digital meets Culture

Digital meets Culture is a portal and blog dedicated to the relationship between technology, art and culture. Maintained by Promoter, an innovation company with an impressive pedigree in – amongst others – cultural digitization projects and a large network with people in cultural institutions through Europe, the site aims to bring together those who are at the forefront of the application of technology in the world of the Arts and culture.

The ideal place to find the latest news on technological innovations, and to follow up on projects going on in today’s Europe. A good example is this interview with Andrea de Polo on EuropeanaPhotography, a huge digitization effort on early photography, covering incredible masterpieces of the early days of glass plate, camera obscura, daguerreotype in top collections from Alinari, TopFoto, Roger Viollet and many archives throughout Europe.

Discover how early technological change brought about the fascination of light, composition, dream and reality in the photographic image from its inception.

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