Everyone’s looking for large datasets these days and Google is here to help with its recent release of YouTube-8M which is comprised of 8 million videos tagged with over 4800 visual labels (I contenthaven’t looked but surely there are tags for that perennial genre of viral video involving inter-species animal friendships). Let the video analysis begin as this trove hosts over 500,000 viewing hours!  According to Google, all videos selected are public and have over over 1000 views.

content2There are large-scale image datasets out there (such as ImageNet) but this YouTube-8M is the fist of its kind for video.  The precursor to this newly minted dataset is Sports-1Mcontaining over a million video URLs tagged with 487 labels. (Sports-1M is actually included in Youtube-8M.) You can learn more about this new open access resource from the recent Google Research Blog announcement, or just dive right into the dataset itself here.

Speaking of YouTube research, check out these titles:

The Impact of YouTube on U. S. Politics by LaChrystal D. Ricke (Lexington Books, 2014).

Unruly media: YouTube, music video, and the new digital cinema, by Carol Vernallis (Oxford, 2013)

Out online: Trans Self-Representation and Community Building on YouTube, by  Tobias Raun (Routledge, 2016)

The YouTube Reader, edited by Pelle Snickars and Patrick Vondera (National Library of Sweden, 2009) 
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Searching Pictures in Lexis-Nexis?

Doesn’t seem possible does it? Since there are hardly any images in Lexis-Nexis Academic documents. All true, but when an image is included in an article it is tagged with metadata that is maintained and can be searched on. As Jennifer Matheny explains in a Lexis-Nexis Wiki post a couple months back:

Are you curious to see how many newspapers re-ran an Annie Liebovitz photo on a particular day? Do you want to know how many Getty Images are used by newspapers this month? Use the GRAPHIC section in your search!

On the Power Search form, select a publication or a group file. Then, the Add Section search should pop up. Select “GRAPHIC” from the drop-down box. Type in your term and click the blue Add to Search button.

Of course you still can’t view the pictures but sometimes all you want are counts, pictures of Palin versus pictures of Biden, for instance, or such search results provide an interim step for locating pictures elsewhere–on microfilm or electronic files that offer page facsimiles.



Just discovered an interesting site called ONandOnScreen.

“Here poems and videos meet their match: poems are written for videos, and videos are made and paired with poems. The poems may enhance the videos and the videos may glamorize the poems.

ONandOnScreen is a conversation between moving words and moving images, on and on.”

The site does not feature video of poets reading poetry, but rather poems and videos “talking” to each other.

Edited by Thomas Devane (check out his Burning the Bear Suit with accompanying video), and published quarterly, ONandOnScreen is currently accepting submissions.

Research focus: Depictions of Blacks in LIFE Magazine, 1936-2000

Advertising images as social indicators: depictions of blacks in LIFE magazine, 1936-2000, by John Grady, is the lead article in Visual Studies (December 2007,Volume 22, Issue 3). The journal is available from the Library’s home page (E-resources).

One of the most important prerequisites for building a more visual social science is demonstrating that visual data provide answers to research questions, which are not addressed satisfactorily by the use of more conventional, non-visual, methods. In this article the author argues that a systematic analysis of the images in print advertisements not only accounts for patterns in contemporary American race relations as reliably as findings derived from national surveys like the General Social Survey (GSS) and the US Census, but also illuminates questions that are often raised by, but seldom resolved with, quantitative data. These questions include, for example, consideration of what factors might encourage respondents to espouse some attitudes – or to make certain choices – but not others. More specifically, a close examination of trends in advertisements published in Life magazine between 1936 and 2000 reveals that, while the white commitment to racial integration appears to have taken longer to develop than survey data suggests, this commitment seems to be much firmer than findings based on census data imply. Nevertheless, the trend in advertising images also shows that, even with a steadily growing white commitment to racial integration, there are still areas of social life where whites are wary of blacks and find it hard to imagine scenarios that exemplify relations of moral equality.

Visual Communication Research websites

Studies in Communication Sciences, the Journal of the Swiss Association of Communication and Media Research, has a special section of its latest issue (Volume 7, Number 2, 2007) devoted to visual communication research, including a leadoff piece by Marion G. Muller titled: What is Visual Communication? Past and Future of an Emerging Field of Communication Research. In the back of the issue is a small but useful list of visual comm websites. Here’s the list:

Web Directory on Visual Communication Research

Websites in German and English:

Visual communication section of the International Communication

A research initiative on image critique and analysis in the social sciences.
An academic collection of projects, people, and online recorded lectures on the image in the media and in history.
Resources on the role of images in science and society hosted by the Herbert Burda foundation.
Website of the visual communication section of the DGPUK (German Association for media and communication research).

A site containing resources and e-learning modules to increase the active and passive visual literacy for communication, business, and engineering.
A virtual research institute of German-speaking researchers dedicating to exploring image sciences.

An international research network site dedicated to the world language of key visuals or graphic stereotypes that shape public communication globally.

Websites in French:

Le college iconique: 40 rechercheurs francophones se rencontrent mensuellement pour des discussions thematiques.
L’institut national de l’audiovisuel (INA) a mis en place un systeme tres performant et unique au monde de consultations d’archives audiovisuelles.
Encore une adress INA, celle des ateliers metholdologiques, une reunion mensuelle oeverte a tous les universitaires

Media Archeology at The Early Visual Media Website

Interested in early forms of multimedia? Then check out The Early Visual Media Website which showcases the precursors to today’s multimedia, virtual reality, and time-based media techniques but opens its gates to “all media where people try to reconstruct the visible world around us for artistic and/or entertainment purposes.” According to the site’s author, Thomas A.E. Weynants, archivist at Ghent University, viewing the variety of “wondrous devices…opens a lot of opportunities for research and discovering in the field of Media Archeology.” He admittedly focuses on the more spectacular examples of early visual media. The site is rather confusingly displayed but on the left hand side there is some clear sorting: of Pre-cinema, Photography, Early Film, Television, Fairground Art, Conjuring Arts, and Death Dance. One can also find an extensive list of links to other sites on the web divided into useful categories such as Pre-cinema and optical toys, Chronophotography, 19th Century photography, Daguerreotypes, Stereotography, Fair and vaudeville, Prestidigitation and illusions, Physical culture, the History of television, and others.

The Cartoon Research Library at Ohio State University

Here’s a neat research goldmine for a dissertation or two: The Ohio State University Cartoon Research Library, the largest, most comprehensive academic research facility in the nation documenting American printed cartoon art (editorial cartoons, comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, sports cartoons, and magazine cartoons). A portion of the Library is searchable, in a well developed database though it isn’t clear from the site what percentage of total holdings is represented. Nine methods of searching are available: Creator, Publication, Title, Date, Topic, Shown, Genre, Format, or a combination of criteria. Playing around with it I was less successful with topics (most I tried don’t exist and there’s no list to browse) than I was with “Shown” which is very cool. It provides a crude little content analysis of the visuals through a series of tags. I punched in “TV” and retrieved 239 records tagged “TV set.” Here’s the first record that came up:

Creator: Priggee, Milt, 1953-
Title: In the spring a young man’s fancy..
Genre: editorial cartoon
Format: original art
Topic: USFL
Shown: Man, TV set, easy chair, beercan, cupid, bow, hearts, bee, flowers, butterflies, quiver, arrows, bird, grass, baseball cap
Publication: Dayton Journal Herald Date: 1983-03-07 Media1: ink Media2: white ink MediaSupport: paper
FindingNumber: MP 2 55
Size: 28x38cm
Notes: Numbered 62B
Credit: Milt Priggee Collection, The Ohio State University Cartoon Research Library.

Included in the Cartoon Research Library holdings is the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art, acquired by the CRL in 1998 and containing approximately 2.5 million items. It appears this part of the archive is separate, accessible through another finding, not the database.

Founded in 1977, the Library has just turned 30 and is getting some well-deserved press. “Under the direction of curator Lucy Shelton Caswell [the CRL] has amassed 2.5 million comic-strip clippings, about 250,000 original cartoons and 51,000 serial titles, including comic books. Its book titles number 34,000,” describes Ann Fisher in a recent Columbus Dispatch article on the Library.

Journal Feature: foto8 and Ei8ht

foto8, the online journal of international, award-winning documentary photography, has been exploring new ways of storytelling since 1998. It “believes that photojournalism performs an essential role in modern society” and is “a valuable tool of communication as well as a vital part of educating ourselves about the lives of others which are often distant from our own. ” My favorite photo essay currently on the site is called Car Park by Astrid Schulz. A close second: Remains of the Journey by Francesca Phillips. Photo8 also produces the quarterly magazine of photojournalism, Ei8ht, now available at the ASC Library.

Network visualization site is a resource space for anyone interested in the visualization of complex networks. The project’s main goal is to leverage a critical understanding of different visualization methods across a series of disciplines as diverse as biology, social networks or the World Wide Web. The site displays hundreds of projects that “either provide advancement in terms of visual depiction techniques/methods or show conceptual uniqueness and originality in the choice of a subject.” Whatever one’s level of understanding of the workings of the software used in these projects or of the depicted networks themselves, the displays are aesthetically stunning.

For more information about information visualization the site includes a page of resource links to related sites, including SPIDER: Social Psychology of Information Diffusion–Educational Resources and An Atlas of Cyberspaces, (maps and graphic representations of the geographies of the Internet).