Research project Culture Vortex - Public 2.0

In April-June, the Netherlands Media Art Institute has conducted user research about its online collection and catalogue. This research was part of Culture Vortex, an innovation program to encourage public participation in online cultural collections, and was performed by Janneke Kamp and Lorena Zevedei. The research report is available now. More info:

Download the research report (PDF)

In September 2010, the Culture Vortex program continues with new program lines by a.o. consortium members HvA Lectoraat Netwerkcultuur and the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.

In the public and cultural sectors, collection holders have raised questions concerning the online distribution of creative material. Until the present moment, research and funding programs have focused mainly on the digitalization and licensing of large collections. On the side of the institution, the professional is wondering: How do I involve the audience in my online collections? And how do I inform the artists about the possibilities of sharing their works online? On the other side, artists are unsure about the added value of offering their works online.

The main question this Culture Vortex study seeks to answer is therefore:

How can an active audience be involved in online cultural material and an elaborate network culture be facilitated, in which participants will share, describe, review, tag, reuse or otherwise interact with the cultural works?

NIMk participates in Culture Vortex with its own program line: Public 2.0.

NIMk: Culture Vortex program line Public 2.0

Four years ago NIMk (Nederlands Instituut voor Mediakunst) published the catalog of its collection online. Over the course of this time it became apparent that the catalog needs to be renewed. Necessary next steps for this revitalization include developing a business model, a legal and handling model, as well as embedded applications for different target groups. To increase public outreach, different user groups are identified and examined. Experience gained in the GAMA project (simultaneous searches through/in various media databases, techniques for automatic indexing and user participation) is very useful here.


Questions in this program regarding cultural collections and the public are:

* What needs do users have in relation to the collection?
* Internal needs: information and records
* External user groups are: education and research, collection holders, artists, the general public

Specific example questions are:

* Is there a need for active user participation and how can this be fulfilled?
* What innovative applications (from tag clouds to mobile sites) are useful for end users?
* What new business models can NIMk develop with (distribution of) its collection?
* How can we learn from successful online initiatives and applications?


The ultimate goal is an online strategy for opening and distributing the collection, and applying this in the new platform for NIMk's media art collection.

We will approach our goals in the following way:

* To map the needs of users;
* To evaluate during the development process;
* To generate ideas for meaningful user participation, active use of the collection by the target audience, and business models.


The Culture Vortex program line Public 2.0 is doing active research in the following areas:

a. Preliminary research by user groups (3 months, April-June 2010), in collaboration with educators and researchers
* Professional online collection keepers and curators (with the other consortium partners who own a collection)
* Artists (from network of NIMk and Video Vortex)
* General public
b. Development process of a new online catalog (3 months, on account of NIMk)
c. Test phases during the development process (in collaboration with the MediaLAB for usability testing and user-defined groups)

Expert meeting Culture Vortex


* Final report of research
* Reporting of interim evaluations and tests (including usability testing carried out by the MediaLAB)
* Presentation of the total research on the conference and in the Culture Vortex reader.

Coordination and participants

Program leader Culture Vortex: Hogeschool van Amsterdam, Lectoraat Netwerkcultuur

Coordinator program line Public 2.0: Nederlands Instituut voor Mediakunst

Consortium: HvA Lectoraat Netwerkcultuur en MediaLAB Amsterdam, Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid, Nederlands Instituut voor Mediakunst, Virtueel Platform, Amsterdam Stadsarchief

Program participants: Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, IDFA, VPRO, Video Vortex netwerk and Urban Screens Association