A few weeks ago I undertook a quick challenge to come up with something to show how cultural collection APIs could be used to very quickly deliver simple tools aimed at reaching far beyond typical audiences, especially in the creative sector.
I chose Flickr Commons and Europeana APIs, though the idea could easily be extended to any image collection accessible via an API. The development process was simple: ingest the image metadata via the APIs; create a basic script using ImageMagick which resizes images to custom dimensions; configure powerful but simple Apache redirects and regex so that images can be served up using clean urls based on a standard syntax; and finally wrap all this in a clean and easy user interface that works well on both desktop and mobile devices.
I’ve just discovered two more services – Alchemy and Zemanta – and also a couple of extra WordPress plugins to use these and automatically suggest and add tags.Â One simply uses the Alchemy API, but by far the most advanced I’ve uncovered yet is Simple Tags which pulls in tags from Local Tags (I think that’s a list of tags already used), Yahoo, OpenCalais, Alchemy, Zemanta, and Tag the Net.Â So here’s a bit more text to test them out, focussed on geographic terms …
Hatfield has been in the papers again this week.Â It’s where I went to secondary school.Â I used to cycle 6 miles each way, each day, including the climb up Bell Bar (near Potters Bar) which was about half way from Cuffley.
You’d have thought that a foray into Latin would mean I was about to say something profound, but in contrast Multum in Parvo, or “much in a small space”, is actually the name of the old lawnmower shown in the picture! It was made by Green’s in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and features on oldlawnmowerclub.co.uk (does what it says on the tin!) as a Mower Of The Month. This is an old lantern slide I picked up recently in a box of allsorts. I didn’t really think much of it at first, but I must confess on each look it becomes more captivating.
My personal interest in vintage photographs has inspired me to conceive a new website, called “What’s That Picture?”
In my own rather random collections I have been struck by how many photographs simply have no provenance, yet look as though someone, somewhere, should certainly know where or perhaps when they were taken, or what or who they are of.
This new site is intended as a community site where people can post their vintage photos and have other members and casual visitors pass comment and help to identify them. Of course this then gives the photo increased historical value.
Membership is free, and when you sign up you get your own image gallery to put things in (just 1MB of space for free membership – about ten typical images – but with the potential to upgrade to premium membership and get 50 times as much space).
At this point I am just at the point of extending circulating details from a limited number of friends and contacts to a slightly wider but still focused group of people I think may be interested. But even so I’ve already got a dozen or more members, from as far afield as New Zealand, Canada and across the UK.
I’d be grateful to anyone who could take a quick look and make constructive comments.