Tracking Down Cultural Data in Kent (part 1)

Culture Kent wanted to find out what cultural data is already available to people. We know that there is an enormous amount of information freely available on the web, from events listings to individual cultural organisations’ websites. What are the barriers preventing all that information being brought together in one place? We commissioned Culture24 to give us an overview of the situation and the next three posts are a summary of some of their findings.

So what is Cultural Data? We are thinking of information related to the following categories:

  • Comedy
  • Dance
  • Festivals
  • Film and Animation
  • Museums & Exhibitions
  • Cultural heritage sites
  • Live Music
  • Poetry & spoken word
  • Theatre & performance
  • Visual Art
  • Talks (if related to one of these other categories)

Hopefully, anything else you might think of will be a sub-category of one of these main groups. For tourism purposes, we might want to include other venues like nightclubs, bars, pubs and restaurants – but for the moment we are sticking to the categories above (unless one of those events is taking place in a nightclub, bar, pub or restaurant… confused? you will be!)

Now we’ve defined our categories, we can look at what kind of information is out there. There are really two sorts – functional information and cultural content. Generally, cultural ‘content’ is created information that is owned by, or attributed to, its creator. This includes digitised collections, editorial, user reviews or comments, photos, videos, and podcasts. Whilst this content is often used alongside venue and events listings data to make things more interesting for the audience, we are excluding any purely content-driven sources of information from our work.

At the moment, we need to keep things as simple as possible so we are focusing on the information about what is happening, when and where. We think there is core information we need to collect for every event.

  • Up to date opening hours/event timings and entrance rates
  • Accurate geo-locations
  • Name and a basic description of the venue or event
  • Venue or event website url
  • Breadth of coverage of relevant domain

Research shows that people like to easily find information about well-known places first – this gives reassurance that quality information is available. But people also want to find out about new, interesting and slightly different options.

Having got the basic information of a good range of venues and activities, it is then important to provide interesting and useful information. Listings might, therefore, include:

  • A relevant/interesting/appealing image, cleared for use, at the required size and resolution
  • Subject tags to facilitate discovery, personalisation and sharing
  • Target audience information
  • Detailed, audience-appropriate, descriptive copy
  • Direct route to booking service (if relevant)
  • ‘Special offer’ or discount information
  • Additional venue information (if relevant), such as:
    • Venue facilities (e.g. disabled access, parking, cafes, gardens)
    • Venue services (e.g. education or identification services, wedding or conference hire)
    • Exhibitions (e.g. permanent and temporary)
    • Collections (e.g. overviews of collections, key exhibits, key artists)
    • Resources (e.g. loan boxes, bookable learning sessions, books, podcasts, websites, leaflets, games, and teachers’ packs)
    • Associated events/venues
    • Associated content – video/audio/text

So, this is the kind of information we are looking to collect. In the next post, we’ll look at what is available already (online and in print) and how that information is currently gathered.

The full report is here for downloading

CKP Culture24 Data Mapping Research FINAL

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