Featured Image courtesy of the the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.
We are excited to announce the winner of the Pixel Acuity Artificial Intelligence in Cultural Heritage Exploratory Research Grant (PA ArCHER Grant): The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.
Based on the quantity and quality of proposals we received, it’s clear the CH community is excited to explore the use of Artificial Intelligence. The proposed projects were diverse and fascinating, spanning collection types from Restaurant Menus to Lantern Slides, and tasks such as label detection and image segmentation to OCR of handwritten ledgers. Relying on our Grant Advisory Board we ultimately selected the proposal that we feel will most benefit the broader cultural heritage community, submitted by Cecilia Peterson at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.
The driving force of this grant is to help the entire community learn what tasks and problems are well-suited to AI, and which are not. To that end, we will be providing detailed feedback and a review of each proposal by the AI experts at RIVER ai and the CH community members that comprised our Grant Advisory Board. For those institutions that agree, we will post those reviews publicly so everyone can read what elements of each proposal were deemed a good fit for the capabilities and efficiencies of AI.
We look forward to publishing and presenting the results of the awarded grant project, alongside with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage early next year. The proposal is to leverage AI to describe and enhance the value of the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections (RRFAC), one of the largest archival collections of ethnographic and cultural heritage material at the Institution. The Digital Transitions and RIVERai teams look forward to digging into this exciting task with Cecilia Peterson, Digital Project Archivist, and her colleagues at the Center.
Finally, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank Bethany Davis of the University of Iowa Libraries, Todd Swanson of the J. Paul Getty Trust, Luciano Johnson of The Frick Art Collection for their contributions as Grant Advisory Board members, and to each of the institutions that prepared and submitted proposals. This granting process, and the conversations it sparked, was a pleasant reminder, in a year of social distance, that this is a tightly knit and warm community.
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