Invitation to the Open Collections Network
We would like to extend our invitation to open collaboration, ongoing for years in music and film in the open data area, to open culture and open knowledge collaborations. We want to unleash the power of open data, open science, open knowledge and open culture to link and strengthen small local ecosystems.
In many cultural sectors, the digitisation of cultural access, participation, and paid consumption is almost complete. On the production and service side, while live entertainment plays a perhaps increasingly important role, the creation of new text and literary works, photographs, music, and film, is at least partly, but often fully digital. Few novelists write in ink, few composers write notes, and analogue film production and photography are a niche. Museums and archives increasingly receive for the preservation and exhibition of born-digital cultural objects.
Table of Contents
Big data and AI reinforces inequalities and help the strong
✋🏾 Avoid technological monopolies
Learn to use and improve open source solutions that are suitable for small organizations without a dedicated IT function.
Digital systems favour size because they tend to be largely automated. Digitisation, automation, big data and AI provide benefits for large national institutions, the biggest corporations, and the most affluent research centres. Yet, in Europe and everywhere in the world, culture is decentralised. The vast majority of cultural and creative industries, museums, archives, and collections are small organisations with limited technical capacities and digital skills.
Independent record labels, book publishers, record and book stores, documentary film-makers, photographer and their agencies are disadvantaged on global music, film, book or photography platforms because automation helps those who manage millions of assets at scale. Most cultural and creative businesses and organisations are inherently small: they do not have millions of digital assets, they do not have a data engineering team–often not even an IT function–, and they do not have a rights management or clearance department. They cannot train algorithms that work for them. Instead, they see that algorithms create music that takes over their public performance business, provides illustrations and makes their photography redundant, or finds audiences for big film studios.
🧩 Collaborate to reach scale
Use open digital platforms to reach joint independent volumes and weight on proprietary, often monopolistic global platforms.
We believe that big data and AI creates new inequalities and reinforces injustice. The newer layers of web 2.0 and web 3.0 create global competition in music, film, books, and photography. This competition often threatens local cultural ecosystems that are small and lack large data and information technology infrastructure. What knows is that AI reinforces the historical exclusion of women from the cultural mainstream or keeps historically marginalised national or subcultural communities on the periphery because machine learning is always learning from the past.
Stop reinventing the wheel
Use open-source, transparent automation for repeating tasks, particularly to make your inventory books machine-readable on global platforms without error.
- Simple, transparent, cheap and often free solutions to participate in large open collections, such as archive.org or Europeana, even if your organization has now IT department, data engineers, or rights management experts.
📈 Use algorithms that work for you, not against you
Use trustworthy data and AI to protect yourself against big data and algorithms that work against you.
Curate and create open source software, rooted in reproducible research and open science, help the automation and validation of machine-readable documentation which is essential on global cultural platforms like Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, Apple, or YouTube.
Curate and create open source software to perform important, data-driven HR, marketing or rights management functions in collaboration.
🖇️ Link open data
Connect small catalogues, small documentation, and small inventory books into large, interlinked, collective ones to become competitive with big data and large data monopolies.
- Down-to-earth, simple, non-technical solutions to take benefit of the new web 3 layer of the internet, global knowledge graphs or the semantic web, with linking open data, and creating linked open collections. This will make your own catalogue our collection more findable, more accessible, more interoperable and reusable (FAIR).
Our solution to these problems is inspired by open-source software development: the idea of an agile, open collaboration to solve problems in a way that fits individuals, micro- and small-sized organisations, and often large national institutions.
- Avoid technological monopolies: use open-source software without technological vendor lock-in and transparent code without hidden agendas; share the burden of peer review with many users to spot bugs, mission creep, and any signs of technology starting to work against you, and not for you.
- Collaborate to reach scale: Use open digital platforms to reach joint independent volumes and weight on proprietary, often monopolistic global platforms.
- Stop reinventing the wheel: use open source, transparent, trustworthy automation for repeating tasks.
- Link open data: connect small catalogues, small documentation, and small inventory books into large, interlinked, collective catalogues, documentation, and inventories to become competitive with big data and large data monopolies.
- Update your documentation, particularly in small languages, to language-independent, machine-readable documentation to remain visible on automated global cultural platforms.
- Store, process, document, data, text, images, sound recordings and videos at scale with trustworthy automated systems. Use trustworthy data and AI to protect yourself against big data and algorithms that work against you.