THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Sound and vision blog

12 posts categorized "Europeana"

27 February 2014

London Calling

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The sounds of London will soon be playing a key role in the second year of the EU funded project, Europeana Creative. The project itself seeks to encourage people working in the creative industries to re-use digitised content from some of Europe's most revered cultural institutions. The online discovery platform Europeana is at the heart of the project and features millions of items, from paintings and manuscripts to sounds and sheet music.

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Panorama of the River Thames, 1730, The Wellcome Library (via Europeana)


One of the main aims of Europeana Creative is to create 5 prototypes, from educational games to teaching apps, which will demonstrate ways in which Europeana content can be transformed. The British Library and the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision have delved into their respective archives and pulled out thousands of recordings for the project's Social Networks enrichment prototype. In the coming months members of the public will be invited to enhance these sounds by adding images, text and links from Europeana and beyond. One of the themes, Cityscapes, will present a selection of recordings from two crowdsourcing projects; The UK Soundmap and Sound of the Netherlands.  The cities of London and Amsterdam are the focus of the theme, partly because they received the most contributions but also because the potential for enrichment is greater - a few of the British examples include:

Spinning Wheel in Yarn Shop, Bethnal Green

Speakers Corner, Hyde Park

The Wallace Collection, Manchester Square

Tate Modern Turbine Hall, Bankside

The enrichment process will not only give added depth to the sounds but will allow the formation of mini "exhibitions", each one dedicated to a particular recording and sculpted into shape by the public.

Original sound recordings, like those featured in the prototype can offer creative minds unlimited inspiration. Field recordist and sound artist, Yiorgis Sakellariou recently created an audio montage from recordings he made across London. This piece, complete with photographs and text, demonstrates just one way in which sounds can form the basis of a creative piece of work.

London

Since late 2012 I am residing in London. The city is loud and almost every day my ears are exposed to high decibel levels and a cacophony of incoming sonic information. However, the more I listen to these common sounds, the more I discover the extraordinary within the ordinary, the exquisite in the everyday.

The piece consists of recordings that took place throughout 2013 on several locations in London. The urban soundscape can provide a great variety of textures, sometimes hollow, others powerful. The calm atmosphere at Tottenham Marshes, the poly-rhythmic patterns of the escalators at London Bridge tube station, ventilation drones at Chinatown, bird songs mixed with distant traffic hiss at Dulwich Park...

Listening to the city's soundscape can become a submerging experience which helps me rejoice my daily routines and discover a new and profound sonic world.

Yiorgis Sakellariou January 2014

London - Yiorgis Sakellariou (5'06")

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It will be interesting to see how Europeana Creative is able to inspire new ideas, new products and new ways of approaching and re-using Europe's collective cultural heritage. Stay tuned for more news on the enrichment prototype and how you can help us build this exciting new product.

 

01 February 2014

Building a jukebox for Europe

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We’re thrilled to announce the start this month of a new project: Europeana Sounds. This project will bring together online, for public access, over a million sound and associated digitised items from leading audio archives and libraries across Europe.

We shall double the number of sound tracks that can be discovered through Europeana, improve descriptions for two million sounds, music scores and associated items to make them easier to find, and we’ll create new thematic ‘channels’ on Europeana that bring related objects together in a coordinated way. The sounds will encompass not just musics of different genres – classical, pop and rock, traditional and folk - but also languages and dialects, oral memories, nature and environmental sounds.

Europeana Sounds will be accessed through Europeana, the portal to Europe’s digitised heritage. Through a multi-lingual interface supporting 31 languages, Europeana already connects a mind-boggling 30 million books, paintings, photographs, sounds, films, museum and archival objects from collections held by 2,200 source institutions. Sound recordings are one of the most popular media types, although representing just 2% of Europeana’s content. And while many of Europe’s leading cultural heritage institutions have large, high-quality audio collections that have great public appeal and are valued for research and for creative use, access to them is fragmented and constrained. Europeana Sounds will make audio content from memory institutions easily accessible - a much-needed gateway to Europe’s incomparably rich sound and music collections.

Coordinated by the British Library, this three-year project is led by a network of 24 European organisations: innovative digital technology organisations and leading library and archive collections of sounds and related materials. We will also collaborate with three digital distribution platforms, Historypin, Spotify and SoundCloud and their existing global online communities, to extend the public reach of Europeana’s sound recordings.

The project will additionally test innovative ways to enrich metadata by crowdsourcing and by using automated machine-driven categorisation and cross-media linking. It will align different kinds of objects from different collections:

Blackbird

Blackbird (Turdus merula) singing (painting by Stephanus Hendrik Willem van Trigt. Source: Teylers Museum, Netherlands, via Europeana)

Blackbird singing

Blackbird (Turdus merula) singing (recorded by Eric & May Noble, Wales, March 1991. Source: The British Library)

 

We’ll also experiment with ‘score following’, so you will be able to scroll music scores from collections contributed by one institution while listening to recorded performances of the same compositions from another source, as illustrated below with extracts from Johan Sebastian Bach's Wohltemperierte Clavier.

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Score of Prelude and Fugue in C major, BWV 870 from JS Bach’s manuscript of Wohltemperierte Clavier ‘Well-Tempered Clavier’, book 2. (Source: The British Library. Add.MS 35021).

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Audio recording of Prelude and fugue in C major, BWV 870
(Source:
recorded example from Europeana via Helsinki City Library).

 

More details about the Europeana Sounds project:
Website: http://pro.europeana.eu/web/europeana-sounds
Twitter: https://twitter.com/eu_sounds


Picture1Europeana Sounds is funded by the European Union under its ICT Policy Support Programme as part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programm.

01 November 2013

Europeana Creative: the wildlife recordings of Lawrence Shove

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In February of this year Europeana launched an exciting new project that seeks to promote and facilitate greater re-use of cultural heritage resources. Through a series of pilot applications, open innovation challenges and spin off projects, Europeana Creative will demonstrate that Europeana, an online portal which provides access to over 26 million digitised objects, can provide the creative industries with both inspiration and actual content.

The British Library is one of the project's 26 European partners and will be providing access to 3000 digital sound recordings with particular emphasis on wildlife and environmental sounds. One of the largest contributions will come from the historic collection of British wildlife sound recordist, Lawrence Shove. With an interest in both the sounds of individual species and the wider natural soundscapes of Britain, Shove soon developed a comprehensive collection of wildlife and environmental sound recordings. By the 1960s he had become one of Britain’s best known wildlife sound recordists and worked on a number of published records including Woodland Birds (Discourses, 1966) Dawn Chorus and Nightingale (Discourses, 1969).

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At the moment over 450 recordings from the Lawrence Shove collection can be found in the British Wildlife Recordings section of British Library Sounds. Highlights include:

Sea coast atmosphere, Skokholm Island 1965

Blackbird song, Devon 1961

Skylark song, Devon 1966

Yellowhammer song, Devon 1966

Making these sounds and their associated metadata available through Europeana Creative will increase the visibility and awareness of this rich collection and encourage creative re-use in innovative and imaginative ways. It's been an interesting journey so far and we'll keep you posted on all the latest developments as the project progresses.

21 March 2013

Europeana Creative

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Europeana Creative is an exciting new European project which will enable and promote greater re-use of cultural heritage resources by Europe’s creative industries. The project was launched at the end of February 2013 at the Austrian National Library in Vienna and will run for 30 months. The British Library is just one of 26 partners from 14 European countries with diverse backgrounds who are contributing to the project. The team includes content providing institutions with world famous collections, creative industry hubs and organisations, the tourism and education sectors, living labs, software developers and multimedia experts, as well as think tanks.

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The online portal Europeana provides access to more than 26 million digitised cultural heritage objects from Europe’s libraries, museums, archives and audiovisual collections. The Europeana Creative project sets out to demonstrate that Europeana can facilitate the creative re-use of digital cultural heritage content and associated metadata. Partners will develop a number of pilot applications focused on design, tourism, education and social networks. Building on these pilots, a series of open innovation challenges will be launched with entrepreneurs from the creative industries to identify, incubate and spin-off more viable projects into the commercial sector.

The project goals will be supported by an open laboratory network (the Open Culture Lab), an on- and offline environment for experimentation with content, tools and business services, and a licensing framework where content holders can specify the re-use conditions for their material. The project will be supported by continuous evaluation and business modelling development.

The re-use of digital content is an essential part of the Digital Agenda for Europe. Several activities are already stimulating the re-use of cultural heritage in order to demonstrate the social and economic value of cultural content. With the publication of the Europeana metadata under the terms of the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0) in September 2012, further development of innovative applications based on this metadata is now possible. Europeana Creative takes this a step further by facilitating re-use of the digital objects themselves.

For further information and updates, please visit Europeana Creative