VALA 2014 Engaging Culture

11 Feb
Arianna Betti

Arianna Betti, University of Amsterdam, GlamMap Director.

Arianna Betti & Dirk Gerrits on GlamMap

Refer to the conference proceedings for the conference paper for this talk which includes images of the GlamMap interface.

GlamMap is a model in development for better visualisation of spatial data in comparison with Google Maps.  Where Google Maps provides a pin which obscures the map display, and which cannot account for the number of items at the same location.  Individual pins are also hard to select.  A map view for bibliographic metadata is useful where there are factors which are difficult to filter on a text results display.  A solution that relies on displaying the item count and colour helps, but still is confusion.  GlamMap helps by introducing some new visual elements: 1) you can preview the effect of the zoom on the splitting and merging of datapoints with a mouseover, 2) the size of the cluster image is informative, 3) colour is then assigned to other data fields such as category or date.  The raw data is always preserved , the visual elements are additional and don’t replace that data.  As well as using current maps, historic maps can be used when different political boundaries are required for specific timeframes.  A rounded square image was chosen as the core element.  So far a range of data sets have been supported.  More data sets are wanted, if organisations wish to participate in the project, they need to provide their data for use.  An additional filter can be added, such as author name which helps to identify minor authors.  New data visualisation methods can help to release data for researchers, and allow us to discover new questions.  At the moment only 7,000 records are being processed.  More work will be required to scale up and speed up the software used.

Brendan Fitzgerald on Digital Inclusion

Some aspects of this presentation have been published in the Telecommunications Journal.  How do we value access to information in people’s lives?  Financial returns on digital inclusion investment have been said to give an economic return of 4:1.  In Australia, 2.3 million people live in poverty, and 1.8 million homes have no internet access.  Have we become complacent about digital inclusion now that we all have broadband at home?  Anglicare Tasmania’s survey found that people were 7 times more likely to use free wifi in McDonalds than at a library.  Disconnected people really do want to become connected, and access to a computer is very important.  The benefits / social outcomes impact on government, quality of life, education and economy.  IT skills required to apply for a job are greater than are needed for the job – people need help to apply for jobs.

Smita Biswas on Kete (“basket”) Open Source Software

Kete, from the makers of Koha, is a community publishing system that enables community to upload text stories, as well as audio and video.  The software can be used to support community digitisation projects (, and community content projects (  Kete can be used to support citizen journalism.  The software is suitable for low budget projects, but does require staff support to set up and maintain.  Projects can open up a kete for a community news event, which can incorporate scanned children’s work, uploaded school projects, social media harvested content, integrated content such as History Pin.  A QR code is used to provide quick access to the mobile app version.  The kete projects are viewed as a service of the library, not as a support mechanism for library services.  Community volunteers provide the work in adding the content.  The projects are marketed as free web space for community groups.  Even though they are un-moderated, there has been no mis-use.  Content is trimmed to low resolution scans, and only short videos are accepted.  Staff support, staff advocates, and community training are necessary.  The development and ongoing maintenance of the software is uncertain.  Content can be exported out for use elsewhere.

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Posted by on February 11, 2014 in Uncategorized


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