Welcome Wednesday 21 September 2012

This week we heard from Amit Sood (Group Manager) and Piotr Adamczyk (Data Lead) from the Google Cultural Institute, who presented on recent Google Cultural Institute efforts, including:


Amit Sood – Founded G Art Project; Director of G’s cultural activities

Piotr Adamczyk – Used to work at the Met; works on metadata on the art project

Robert – Product Manager focused on user-based content

Mystique – Public Affairs for Google


Cultural programs start as “20% Projects”; now w/ need for structure, Culture Institute developed (Paris) to dedicate full time staffers to these projects

Sites seek to create emotional connections with users


  • Started working with Israel-based org (Yad Vashem)
  • 2ndproject – Nelson Mandela Found (archiving project)
    • Focused on transforming assets to an online experience
    • Google Art Project
      • Bottoms Up approach (a 20% project http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/05/googles-20-percent-time-in-action.html – now full time staff dedicated)
      • 151 museums in 41 countries; will be launching new museums every month
      • Wonders of the World
        • Assembly of cool archaeological sites; UNESCO world monuments fund aggregation
        • Soon to launch – new project (Freer is related) – has to do w/ archives
        • Other projects partnering w/ institutions – e.g. Google Goggles; Street View

Demos and Tools

Art Project

  • No information on screen other than art until mouse is moved
  • Each object has metadata w/ hover – click for further info; content managed
  • Gigapixel images – super high resolution to zoo to see details for 55 objects
  • Street view component for each object
  • No commonality to vocabulary used across museums for descriptions of objects (Getty uses a “common vocabulary:)
  • User Galleries (currently hundreds of thousands)
  • Hangouts app – allows you to take friends on a tour (http://www.googleartproject.com/hangouts/)
    • Live stream of educators talking about content
    • Streamed to Youtube and recorded for future use

World Wonders

  • Street view tech allows to explore sites
    • Gives visitors an idea of what real visits might be
    • 3D Models (Google Earth)

Nelson Mandela Centre

  • Digitized archives
  • Enable centre an opportunity to tell the story about the archives
  • Interact through set of exhibitions
  • Users can also explore archive

Yad Vashem Museum

  • Online archives
  • They have a great deal of material, but not backgrounds on items
    • Users can submit info about objects via comments (crowdsourcing); not currently searchable

Google Cultural Institute

  • One in Paris, one in Tel Aviv, one in London
  • Allows these projects a way to collaborate
  • Also users in about 20 other locations, focused on local partnerships

Google Goggles

  • Allows users to point at an object and get information on it
  • Much (but not all) objects in G Art Project are in goggles
  • Works especially well for outdoor spaces; issues occur inside b/c cell phone use isn’t allowed or bad signal inside buildings


  • How did process work?
    • Working as partners for each steps of process
    • Once understanding established, moved to technical work
    • Moving forward, there will be many partners, so G will be taking broad strokes and streamline the process
    • Process will all be online to minimize back and forth
    • Interoperability will be up to each institution
    • Will there be a “Google Commons” that will allow research?
      • Barriers come from institutions; Google would be happy to support the collaboration
      • Is there a timline on the G Art Project
        • Numeric dates created issues for partners; ranges have created problems.
        • Is object origin on map?
          • Y; data must be included in metadata
          • How are you measuring success of projects
            • Depends on each project
            • Traffic increase; footfall increase
            • Investing in the conversation of how art is viewed online – investing in the future
            • G measures the impact its making online in terms of users and how the institutions feel about projects
            • Moving forward, each partner will have an analytics account
            • Smaller museums tend to have overall greater increase in traffic, but it seems like users gravitate to the larger and more popular works/museums
              • Prompts to look at related works can especially help out smaller museums
              • How do museums use Hangouts?
                • White House museum using it; teachers groups hosting workshops; Museum directors taking visitors on a tour through their own curated collection

See also:

Google Knowledge Graph (http://www.google.com/insidesearch/features/search/knowledge.html)

Europeana http://www.europeana.eu/portal/

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