Abstract

The purpose of this project is to create a standalone open source tool for uncomplicated sound mapping that will be built in accordance with the current web development standards. Such tool aims at providing a smoother, more interactive user experience and effortless production of future sound mapping projects. By providing a simple and intuitive user interface in back end we aim at equipping British Library’s curators (among other users of the platform) with a tool that requires no web programming or coding knowledge and that can be used as easy as any social network. Our goal is to make sound mapping as simple as posting on Facebook as well as interactive and appealing to general audience which due to short attention span usually overlooks most of the content of cybercartography projects. Tool’s infrastructure will allow it to work as a standalone platform, additionally it can be used for seamless integration with already existing websites.


Research Question / Problem

The research question we are trying to answer is how to present sound collections of museums to a modern audience that lives in the times of very short attention span. While modern audience looks for quick fixes and instant gratification it easily overlooks the content and quickly abandons websites that are not fulfilling their needs and are not visually appealing to their eyes that have been trained by video games and multimedia. We believe that by using the ideas of edutainment and introducing interactivity and gamification to soundmaps we can decrease the bounce rate of visitors and increase the amount of time average users spend exploring each of the soundmapping projects.

Showcasing BL Digital Collections

During the project time period our team would focus on working with the British Library staff at implementation of the new tool to already published sound maps that are part of the UK Soundmap collection. The goal is to create one central hub for all the current and future sound maps of British Library. Instead of current way the maps are presented we suggest one map with the option to browse through categories, time periods, tags, geographical data and curated exhibitions. We believe that this way the British Library can offer its users a wider search of its database of sounds, one that searches through multiple collections for the same term.

Methods

In order to successfully implement this idea our team alongside staff of British Library will conduct two main research methods - sound archive categorization analysis and analysis of end user behavior.

Sound archive categorization analysis:

In this analysis our goal is to have clear list of groups, tags and other important metadata that can be used in the search engine that will browse through UK Soundmap archive of British Library. In this process each sound file needs to be analyzed and labeled with proper tags that will allow for its retrieval upon users input.

Analysis of end user behavior:

We need to understand what are the current habits and behavior patterns of most of the users of British Library’s sound maps so that we can adjust the user interface according to most logical user experience. During this process we shall analyze the user experience and behavior analytics which will be obtained by providing the closed alpha version of the project website to a small group of test users.

Evidence that Entrant(s) can successfully complete the project

Vladimir Radinovic (MA in Digital Culture) is a creator or Belgrade and Sarajevo soundmaps and has been working with soundmaps and various mapping projects for several years. He has also held several workshops on soundmapping at Belgrade University in Serbia and University of Jyvaskyla, Finland.

Belgrade soundmap http://www.zvucnamapabeograda.rs


Marcin Lewandowski (MA in Computer Science) is highly skillful programmer, team leader of online projects and cross-media activist. He is the CEO of RadioKit company that specializes in online audio solutions for radios and broadcasting companies in SaaS model.

RadioKit www.radiokit.org

How idea is achievable on a Technical, Curatorial and Legal basis

Technical

Our team is very skillful in creating web tools and SaaS platforms which will allow us to successfully develop this tool in the project proposed time period. Maps for the platform will be based on Open Street maps which are the biggest open source mapping tool. Interface will be based on React.js - technology invented by Facebook for effective and attractive presentation of content. Parts of this work are already done as we used some of the components in our previous projects, so most of the work that needs to be done is rather integration with Open Street maps, and redesign of our tools to perfectly meet specific needs of British Library archives. It is more like adjusting existing modules, than creating platform from scratch - thanks to that our team can handle it on our own within reasonable time period.

Curatorial

Since our goal is to merely produce a open source tool for sound mapping, all the curatorial aspects are left to British Library and its staff.

Legal

As we stated above, this tool will be built upon Open Street maps, a platform which is already open source. We guarantee that the rest of the code is our own and that we are willing to create it and publish it as open source. All the content represented through this platform can be published under any licence that the user of the platform deems appropriate. By using this platform, British Library will be able to select a unique licence (copyright material, CC, open source) for every single part of the content.

Plan

June 2016 - August 2016

Activity described here (e.g. what, when and by who)

- Vladimir will be co-working online with British Library staff in analysis of categorization of archive in Belgrade, Serbia with occasional visits to London, UK

- Marcin will be working on the development of the platform in Krakow, Poland.

September 2016

Activity described here (e.g. what, when and by who)

- Closed alpha testing of the platform in UK and analysis of the user feedback

October 2016

Activity described here (e.g. what, when and by who)

- Design tweaks based on the user feedback by Marcin in Krakow, Poland.

November 2016

- Presentation of the final version of the project in London, UK.