Sound of the Netherlands

Crowdsourcing the Dutch Soundscape
The Sound of the Netherlands is a unique online sound archive that combines historical sounds from the collection of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision with new recordings created by enthusiasts. It uses SoundCloud as a third-party distribution infrastructure and crowdsourcing as a mechanism to complement the collection of Sound and Vision and to stimulate active engagement. The online archive is made available to enable creative reuse, to open up the collection to research and to attract a broader audience interested in cultural heritage. To this end, all sounds are labeled with Creative Commons licenses. The sound archive of Sound and Vision contains recordings from the 1950s to the 1990s, showing the changing soundscape of the Netherlands. Typical historical sounds, such as horse-drawn trams, people walking on wooden shoes and recordings from the famous Eleven Cities ice skating tournament can now be found on the The Sound of the Netherlands platform, next to contemporary sounds such as the beep of a microwave contributed by a member of the public. This mix of historical and new sounds creates a unique overview of the changing soundscape of the Netherlands. The Sound of the Netherlands is a collaboration between three partners: the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Kennisland and De Auditieve Dienst. Since the launch of the platform in June 2012, hundreds of user-generated sounds have been added. All the sounds in this online archive are geo-referenced and made accessible through an interactive sound map. This interface provides, both in space and time, a direct overview of the coverage of the sound archive and is used to encourage users to add their own sound to complement the archive. The Sound of the Netherlands makes use of the SoundCloud infrastructure for storing and sharing the sound recordings. SoundCloud is a widely used social sound sharing infrastructure. In addition, a mobile application has been developed to support sharing of recordings from mobile devices. With this infrastructure in place, the Sound of the Netherlands platform provides a frictionless process for uploading sounds, from where they are automatically placed on the sound map. All sounds in the archive, including the new recordings that can be uploaded via the website or through the free mobile application for iPhone and Android devices, are made available for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License (CC BY-SA). This license explicitly allows anyone to reuse and distribute the sounds, as long as they mention the origin of the sounds and share new creations under the same conditions. The dataset has already been repurposed in new applications, for instance in the Mix of the Netherlands and Sounds Visual. The first allows users to make a remix of the collection of sounds. The latter explores visual alternatives to textual tags. Users make drawings that represent the sounds. They are subsequently used as access points to the sounds. Both applications are created outside of the scope of the project, by third parties. It showcases how open access to these resources support new and creative services. In 2013 and 2014 the Sound of the Netherlands will be further expanded, in collaboration with Europeana. The aim is to built, in collaboration with partners across the EU, a sound map with sounds across Europe. In addition, the partners have joined forces with Wikimedia Netherlands to enrich the articles from Wikipedia with sounds of the online sound archive. The Sound of the Netherlands is a historical resource that brings a rich and unique collection online and makes it widely available. Making the the sound archive available online and enriching it with user-generated recordings creates a unique overview of the changes in the national audio landscape. The use of Creative Commons licenses and SoundCloud as distribution infrastructure makes this project a groundbreaking example of end-user engagement with archive collections. See the project's video introduction here. Workshop images CC BY-SA by Sebastiaan ter Burg.

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