Cultural events are of increasing importance as value creators in our society. They can serve to promote the attractiveness of a region, to, increase social interactions and the quality of life and, not the least, to boost local economies. Today, a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of cultural events in our region is missing mainly due the fact that information is distributed across different actors, communication channels and different media (e.g., individual organizers, commercial vendors, community calendars, newspapers calendars). Moreover, information across different regions (e.g., the whole of Småland) is vastly scattered. Not the least, existing calendars of events usually do not match the functionality expected by end-users, which leads to other types of difficulties in accessing and sharing information. All these result in the fact that it is very hard to get a quality overview of what the region can offer to individuals and groups.
With the purpose to significantly increase access to information and awareness of cultural attractiveness in the Linnaeus Region, both for its inhabitants as well as tourists, the following are our long-term aims:
- We want to build a research-based, quality-control information portal supported by semi-automated classification mechanisms and modern web and mobile technologies in which information about all available cultural events would be organized for easy identification and retrieval by the individual and groups. The outcomes of these efforts would thus increase the value of the already made large investments into the culture.
- We also want to support the notion of preservation of information on cultural events over time, which would serve as the basis for analyzing the development of a given region in terms of cultural events over a period of time, numbers of participants, their profiles and the like. These efforts are in line with the national policy of collecting digital information, coordinated by the National Library of Sweden.
- The collection and structuring of the different data sets described above will form the basis for research in Digital Humanities in order to increase our knowledge about the role of culture in regional development, quality of life, social media and digitization opportunities and entrepreneurship.
Our short-term aims (during 2017) are to select a couple of locations in Småland in order to validate the ideas above using these sites as test beds with focus on contemporary art. In particular, our objectives are to:
- Conduct a feasibility study about the different actors who serve as providers of cultural events and those that serve as information providers.
- Create a list of metadata and browse/search functionalities for such a portal, based on scanning of needs of different groups of end users (e.g., young adults, seniors, users with special needs etc.).
- Define the initial functional requirements for the initial conceptual design of a semi-automated demonstrator (crawling data from different providers, basic browse/search functions, interactive content creation like tagging and reviews).
Expected strategic values to be developed are uniting and consolidating the expertise and knowledge we already have in the region to create new constellations for collaboration leading to the aims and expected results outlined above.
Collaborative partners among faculties and the wider community are the following:
- Koraljka Golub, docent, project co-leader, Library and Information Science, Department of Cultural Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Humanities
- Marcelo Milrad, professor, project co-leader, Department of Media Technology, Faculty of Technology
- Anna Lund, docent, project consultant, Cultural Sociology, Department of Cultural Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Humanities
- Cultural institutions, different organizations and companies from the region
- Nya Småland, represented by Anna Lund, Jonatan Habib Engqvist, and Mike Bode
- Selected expert researchers from the DARIAH-EU network of excellence.