DM2E Newsletter August 2012

Dear all,

We are happy to announce the first DM2E newsletter. In this, we will give an overview of all the events around the DM2E project in the last six months. This newsletter will be published on a quarterly base. If you have any questions or comments, please send them to [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]).
Also, make sure to follow @DM2Europeana for the latest updates!

In this newsletter:

  • Tools: Korbo and Pundit
  • Events organised
  • Digital Humanities Advisory Board
  • Other news and updates from the working groups


The DM2E team is very happy to announce the first prototype releases of Korbo and Pundit – two innovative Linked Data tools for use within humanities research.


Korbo is a powerful aggregation platform for gathering Linked Data objects relevant to your area of research into single workspaces or “baskets”. It uses a modular architecture that can be extended to provide aggregation of different web resources”. Such baskets are then accessible via a set of simple REST APIs with the aim of enabling unexpected reuse and custom applications (e.g. visualization, analysis).
Korbo is targeted primarily at developers who want to build applications on top of its API and make full use of the linked cultural data from sources such as Europeana, FreeBase and DBPedia.
Korbo is currently in the early stages of development, but you can already try out a demo version of the platform. Please do give us feedback on your experiences as this is invaluable information for future iterations – Korbo user feedback questionnaire.


Pundit is a powerful but easy to use semantic annotation tool that can work with the objects collected within a Korbo “basket”.
It enables you to link sections of text to each other or to other Linked Data resources on the net such as DBPedia, Freebase and Geonames. In case a text document comes with a microstructure including sub-entities identified by URIs, such structures can be used transparently – or else a highlighting function will be available that would as well enable the highlighting of image areas. During the DH2012 conference in Hamburg, Marco Grassi gave a very convincing presentation of Pundit. Pundit was considered as a cutting edge tool by quite some conference participants! For a summary of his presentation see:
Pundit is currently in its Alpha phase, but you can already try out a demo version of the platform. Please remember to give us feedback on your experiences of Pundit via the Pundit questionnaire


In the last months, several events have been organised. In a series of workshops representatives from cultural heritage institutions joined a number of experts from the Open Knowledge Foundation, Europeana, Wikimedia, JISC and many more to learn about the benefits and obstacles of open data. In these interactive sessions several case studies were presented and the institutions were invited to address their concerns for discussion and advice. The lessons learned from these workshops are collected and will eventually be published. Some first results can be found here:

###Berlin Workshop


The first workshop organised was held in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. Together with partners from Wikimedia DE, Creative Commons, iRights and the SBB itself, the legal aspects of open cultural data were discussed. Representatives from the Institute for Museum Research, the Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz, the Museum für Naturkunde, the Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte and many others joined. One of the outcomes of this session was the fact that some of the challenges faced to a more open culture are based on misunderstandings about the nature of open data. This point was made very forcibly by a number of the participants. For instance, institutions are sometimes unwilling to open up their metadata thinking that this will necessarily commit them to a waiver on the rights of the content itself.
For a complete report:

###Paris Workshop


The second workshop was organised in Paris by the Open Knowledge Foundation and Wikimedia France. The aim of this workshop was to gather together a variety of people interested in discussing the problems of Open Cultural Data, with the objective of creating a list of recommendations to be later incorporated into a white paper. At the end of May, a task force composed of legal experts and representatives from French cultural heritage institutions gathered again in order to draft a document addressed to the French Ministry of Culture. Having identified the main problems faced by GLAM institutions interested in opening up their data in the first session, the group decided to present these issues as a single document together with a series of recommendations on how the new government could facilitate the task of opening up the data or content held by GLAM institutions.

Part 1:
Part 2:

###London Workshop – Opening Up Your Metadata: Challenges, Standards and Tools


On Wednesday the 13th of June, the Open Knowledge Foundation organised together with DevCSI the very first bibliographic hackathon in London. In two days, developers and designers worked with several open bibliographical repositories from a variety of different cultural institutions. As part of this two days event, the openGLAM initiative organised a technical workshop as part of the DM2E project for representatives from cultural heritage institutions. During this workshop the technical possibilities and challenges of open heritage data were discussed. Steffen Hennicke (HUB) gave for example a high level overview of the EDM and the work DM2E is doing in this field. Around 25 interested people joined us for a day with several presentations and a group discussion about the technical opportunities and barriers of opening up cultural metadata.
Videos of all the talks:

###Feedback from the workshops
After each workshop, a online questionnaire was sent out to each participant. The feedback we had has in general been very positive and helpful for future events.

*“We are right at the beginning of understanding open data, its value and how our institution can leverage it/contribute to the community. This workshop helped us gain an understanding of the general landscape and informed us about the opportunities of and challenges to using and releasing open datasets.” – Lauren Shipley, Southampton Solent University*

###Judaica Europeana 2012-15: integrated access to Jewish heritage collections

On Sunday the 3rd of June, a DM2E meeting was organised at the National Library of Israel. Around 65 university librarians and archivists from Europe and the US participated during this event. Ido Ivri presented the DM2E project to the participants. The full program can be [found here](


The DM2E project will be part of the Open Cultural Heritage stream at the OKFestival in Helsinki where several events are being organised that are related to open culture.

  • On Tuesday 18 September a hackday will be organised where Net7 will join to present and work with the tools developed in DM2E.
  • On Wednesday we organise the ‘Building the Cultural Commons’ session where expert groups from all over the world, such as Europeana, Wikimedia, COMMUNIA and Creative Commons, will join for a constructive discussion around several topics on open heritage data. The outcome of this day will be presented in a paper
  • On Thursday we will organise a workshop for Finnish cultural heritage institutions about why and how they can openly license their metadata

For more info see:

###Project content

In the last six months, we have had many very interesting talks by several people from the DM2E consortium, or at events organised by DM2E. All the slidedecks are collected on the DM2E slideshare page and are already viewed by more than 10.000 people. Talks included are for example by Stefan Gradman on how semantics are used in the Digital Humanities and how the scholarly community can benefit from this:
As noted earlier, all the talks of the technical workshop in London are recorded on video and can be found here

##Digital Humanities Advisory Board

In June the DM2E Advisory Board gathered in the confines of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin to give their feedback on the first demo of the tools being developed as part of the project and to determine guidelines for the future functional evolution of the DM2E scholarly toolset. The initial focus of the meeting was the demo of two tools developed by Net7 as part of DM2E and now in prototype phase

Professor Stefan Gradmann presented his proposed model for the scholarly domain as a whole and his elaboration of the scholarly primitives concept foundational to the Digital Humanities since John Unsworth’s pioneering work on the subject

At the meeting it was confirmed that at the very start of 2013 a group of about 10 Wittgenstein scholars will begin working on Wittgenstein’s Brown Book manuscripts as they are made available by the Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen to DM2E as well as on scholarly material related to this text.

This will enable the scholars interactions with the texts in Korbo and Pundit to be traced and fed back into the platform itself, further honing its functionality so that it responds precisely to the needs of scholars working in a digital environment.

The scholarly semantic graph resulting from this incubator activity will be an object of scholarly work itself, as the modeling of this dynamic aggregation of RDF statements and of its evolution may create new insights into the way thought and discourse form and evolve in virtual research environments.

##Other News

  • We now have a promotional flyer for DM2E that is particularly targeted at the Digital Humanities community which can be found here:
  • The University of Bergen presented their work on Wittgenstein and the Semantic Web on the DH2012 conference in Hamburg. A full video can be found here:
  • WP1 has finalised the “Requirements Report” that will provide WP2 and WP3 with precise information about metadata and APIs currently available for accessing digitised objects contributed by each content provider.
  • WP2 has finalised the deliverable on the “Initial Version of the Interoperability Infrastructure”. This version of the infrastructure combines the D2R Platform for RDFisation of relational data, the Mint Tool for the RDFisation of XML data with the Silk Link Discovery Framework for the contextualisation of the RDFised data. Within this infrastructure we were able to start with the specification and development of our extensions and specifications of our Europeana Data Model (EDM+) which enables to semantically model all provided specific information as well. From a technical point of view, the infrastructure can handle most of the provider’s sample data. Regarding the semantics of the data, the EDM+ model has to be extended and refined in order to cover all aspects of the data
  • WP3 has finished the “Initial Specification Report” which presents functional specifications for the further development of both Korbo and Pundit. Furthermore, WP3 created a “Scholarly Discourse Model” which draws on John Unsworth’s “Scholarly Primitives” in order to describe basic functions of humanities scholars work. This model will be applied to the Pundit platform as an ontology.
  • Stefan Gradmand had an in depth working meeting with Marco Grassi and Rob Sanderson (lead of the Shared Canvas project) potentially resulting in co-operation of our networks.
  • John Unsworth, currently Vice Provost for Library & Technology Services and Chief Information Officer at Brandeis University has shown interest in the DM2E project  and may end up cooperating with us as a content provider