Creating an open repository of digital cultural artifacts is a valuable start, but then the question remains, what will users do with this content? This panel seeks to answer how an active audience can be involved in online cultural material. How can institutions involve audiences in sharing describing, reviewing, tagging, and especially reusing the digital commons? How can audience make use of these resources in a meaningful way? What kinds of licenses should institutions require, and how might the artists themselves feel about having their materials available online? This panel will be part show-and-tell, part discussion of best practices, as curators, scholars and directors of cultural institutions explain how they promote engagement and creative re-use of online collections.

Michael Edson, Director of Web and New Media Strategy for the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian Commons
The Smithsonian Commons
The Smithsonian Commons will be dedicated to the free and unrestricted sharing of Smithsonian resources and encouraging new kinds of learning and creation through interaction with Smithsonian research, collections, and communities. The initial Smithsonian Commons will be a Web site (also designed for mobile devices) featuring collections of digital assets contributed voluntarily by the units and presented through a platform that provides best-of-class search and navigation; social tools such as commenting, recommending, tagging, collecting, and sharing; and intellectual-property permissions that clearly give users the right to use, re-use, share, and innovate with our content without unnecessary restrictions. The architecture of the Smithsonian Commons will encourage the discovery of content deep within Smithsonian unit Web sites and will expose connections and commonalities across Smithsonian projects. The Smithsonian Commons will also be a platform for formal and informal collaboration and content sharing inside and outside the Institution.

Sandra Fauconnier, Collection, Netherlands Media Art Institute
NIMk: Mediating Media Art
Since its foundation in 1978, the Netherlands Media Art Institute has assembled an extensive distribution collection of video and media art. It comprises more than 2,000 works at present, varying from the earliest video art experiments through recent media art productions by more than 500 Dutch, international artists and rising talents. NIMk also manages the video collections of the De Appel Foundation, the Lijnbaan Center in Rotterdam and the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage (ICN). The video art collections of other Dutch museums and institutes, including the Groninger Museum and the Kröller Müller Museum are preserved and in some cases made accessible by NIMk. In making its collection accessible online, and as an intermediary for media art, NIMk adopts a pragmatic attitude when dealing with tensions between openness, publicness, ethical choices, copyright and accessibility. We attempt to balance artists’ and the public interest. For makers, an important question at this moment deals with the new role of distribution and new business models: how to generate a sustainable income when artistic production, promotion and distribution go digital? Makers adopt many different positions in this discussion, from extremely protective to totally open. For the public interest, a healthy, rich and qualitative public domain is at stake. NIMk defends both interests, which it actively tries to balance and reconcile, with a strong and prominent mission towards accessibility.

Michael Murtaugh, writer, web designer, and creator of the Active Archives
Active Archives
Creating web pages and displaying information on-line has become easier and easier for non-expert users. The Active Archives project starts from the observation that most of the interesting cultural archives that have been developed over the last few years have taken advantage of those new facilities for instant publishing, but mostly in the form of websites that mirror regular information brochures, announcements and text-publishing. Often, they are conceived as “We” give information to “You”. Within Active Archives, we aim to set up multi-directional communication channels, and are interested in making information circulate back and forth. We would like to give material away and receive it transformed: enriched by different connections, contexts and contradictions.

Annelies Termeer, Coordinator of Celluloid Remix at EYE Film Instituut Netherlands
Celluloid Remix
Celluloid Remix is an online video remix contest organized by EYE Film Institute Netherlands and Images for the Future. The first edition ran from April to September 2009. For this contest, EYE made a selection of 21 film fragments from the Dutch Early Cinema collection (1917-1932) available for creative reuse. These films had been restored and digitized as part of the Images for the Future project. Participants in Celluloid Remix were asked to use the available film clips to create their vision of ‘modern times’ and shape it into a creative motion production. EYE collaborated on the project with art schools, festivals artists, and VJ’s. Ever since Images for the Future took off in 2007, much effort has been put into its infrastructure. From its backbone of data centres to trained personnel–much of this work has been as valuable as it is invisible. In the end, however, audiovisual heritage is only of true value when it is accessible for people who can use (and reuse) it as they choose. Celluloid Remix tried to achieve just that.

Eric Kluitenberg is a theorist, writer, and organiser on culture, media and technology. He is head of the media program at De Balie – Centre for Culture and Politics in Amsterdam. He lectures and publishes regularly on culture, new media, and cultural politics throughout Europe and beyond. Previously, he taught courses on “Culture and New Media” at the Institute for Interactive Media, Hogeschool van Amsterdam, and at the University of Amsterdam, “Media Theory” for the post-graduate education programs in art & design and new media at Media-GN / Frank Mohr Institute and Academy Minerva in Groningen, the Royal Academy of Visual Arts in The Hague, and worked on the scientific staff of the Academy of Media Arts Cologne.

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