Leveraging Emerging Platforms, Tech and Data Practices

Digital tools, methods and spaces to capture, curate and share information, memory and artifacts.



Figuring out how to create systems that let all of us work together to capture Punk's organic, spread-out history - and make it available and usable - underpins our work.


We are developing a platform for crowdsourcing stories, collaboratively annotating photographs, and connecting events, people and ephemera. By fusing weird ideas, network effects and best practices in data and media analysis, digital design and programming, folk culture studies and collections management, we can build a system to document and preserve Punk as personal history, ethnography and culture.

To ensure the value of digital materials in the long run we also need to mitigate rapid changes in technology and the use of Digital content - responding to new forms of rights & distribution; improvements in media and storage formats; opportunities from off-label uses of new tech like AR/VR and 3D printing; and shifts in ways people consume, share and search for content - or that designers and data scientists play with it. All this requires a forward-looking, agile process that can flexibly respond to changes and opportunities. 


The technology part of our project relies on three intertwined elements: 

- an asset management system tied to an app that allows donors and staff to deeply catalogue items in the same way that museum objects and collections are detailed - but with information that maps to early Punk's analogue, DIY creative process;  

- a flexible, secure community space that lets users easily add their own content and stories; search, annotate, discuss and share information on other content (like, tag the people in the audience or id a location); control privacy and shareability of their artistic property; help transcribe and interpret; and create their own digital curations and collections.

- a publishing and presentation space that allows curators to publish interpretive, interactive experiences that leverage the digitization of Punk collections, and experiments with 3D, augmented spaces, linked data and dataflows, and other new uses of tech in the museum, archive and entertainment fields - as well as researchers in non-Punk studies, like social network analysis, graph theory, ontologies and machine learning, OERs, the semantic web and other nerdy practices.

We are also exploring a rights-managed licensing system to represent artists and their photographs, footage, audio and original work, wondering if DIY can do Getty Images and other for-profit licensing and creative-synch providers better: protect artists' rights while providing media to content creators with more open, equitable experiences for all involved.

Finally - while the focus of our Initiative is on American Punk, this is ultimately a prototyping project. Our end-goal is to create a system flexible enough that any creative subculture can be self-documented, made visible and preserved for the future.


the tl;dr

This is where we really go down the rabbit hole. 

Okay, so. The photograph above, by Philin' Phlash, captures Government Issue singer John Stabb (in the striped pants) onstage at [location] on [date]. Behind him, Al Barile of SSD is [doing something]. Also on stage are [FirstName LastName] and [FirstName LastName], known as [AltName]. Also on the bill that night were [Blah blah blah blah...

In just this one example, it becomes easy to see how much information can be carried, or lost, by one person's memory or in the constraints of editorial space. Every highlight is a piece of data. The more you see in the picture, the more data and story opportunities are surfaced.

Imagine a platform where Phil's image can used as a basis for annotation and identification by the community. People could identify themselves or people they know, connect another "object" like a setlist or flyer or geo-tag with address or club name. All that data begins to build a bigger picture that leverages many bits of information held by many people.


Going further, not only can we connect data, people can also connect their own stories and memories (what was Al doing) or point out facts that may be lost over time (why is there an X on his hand?). Someone might want to add information about all the instruments used that night. Someone else might talk about meeting Stabb at this show, which could be linked to other remembrances of John from around the country.


Phil could enter other photographs from the series, controlling access levels, adding his own artistic details - camera settings, darkroom process, whatever. Other photographers could add their images from different angles, having them tagged with details and other information. The images could be made available for licensing (or not) and could be used in the Punk Archive's curations and public programs for the future - all contributing to a giant web of information.