More than 140,000 images for open data app competition

On 16 June, the Nationaal Archief (NA) presented a collection of over 140 thousand images during a hackathon organised by Hack de Overheid (Hack the Government – a Dutch open data initiative). The images from the Anefo press photo collection have been made available to developers as open data for the purpose of creating apps. The Nationaal Archief will award a € 2,500 prize for the most innovative application aimed at target groups that as yet make little use of the NA.

App competition
The collection was presented at the first app competition with ‘cultural data’ (descriptive data or meta data as well as audio, video, images and documents), which was organised by the Open Cultuur Data (Open Culture Data) network as part of the hackathon. Over 100 developers were challenged to build apps to help extend the reach of cultural institutions in the Netherlands to a wider audience. In addition to the Nationaal Archief, open cultural datasets were provided by (amongst others) the Rijksmuseum and the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. The NA collection was digitised within the framework of Images for the Future, a digitisation project that is also providing funds for the award. 

Open access to cultural data for the purpose of reuse is one of the spearheads of the Nationaal Archief. NA director Martin Berendse recently commented in an article that “open data provides the controllers of our democracy, as well as researchers, journalists and private reusers of information, with a wealth of sources.” Partnering with Open Cultuur Data also makes it possible to reach a large group of developers. The applications that are being developed as a result of this help make culture available to a wide audience.

The collection of over 140,000 photographic images comes from the archives of the Dutch press photo agency Anefo and are being made available as open data under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike (CC-BY-SA) license. The images’ accompanying metadata (descriptive data) has been made available under a CC0 license. The dataset embodies a cross-section of political, social and cultural life in the Netherlands between 1959 and 1989. All of the major and minor news events from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s have been captured by Anefo photographers. From major events such as royal weddings, political crises and European championships to small news stories such as toppled lorries on the motorway, jam-packed beaches during the summer’s first heat wave and cats being rescued from trees by firemen.

The competition’s deadline is 31 December 2012. An expert panel will judge the entries, awarding a cash prize of € 2,500 to the winner.