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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Seriously, this is the coolest website I’ve seen in a long time. Check out Griffonage-Dot-Com, which is the fabulous creation of Patrick Feaster (ethnomusicologist, media historian, and three-time Grammy nominee for voice and sound resurrection). In the driest terms the site is devoted to historical media. And if you just say Feaster explores historical media you’re still not doing justice to the site. Rather, he brings forth or, to use his term, “educes” media–makes it accessible to the senses, transformatively I’d say.

For starters, what’s griffonage?   Explains Feaster, “It’s generally defined as careless or illegible handwriting, and that’s one of the meanings I mean to invoke here.  The materials I’ll be examining are typically challenging to decipher, so “illegible handwriting” is either a good metaphor for them or, in some cases, literally true of them… I wanted to find some new domain name that would reflect my interest in deciphering, educing, and interpreting old media of various kinds.  Alas, every promising combination of “media” with other words seemed to be taken at the dot-com level, no matter how obscure.  So I turned to the auspicously-named for ideas, seeking synonyms for “media,” “writing,” and so forth, which is where I ran across the word griffonage.  I’d never encountered it before, but its rich mix of denotative and connotative meanings seemed perfect for what I wanted to do—whether digging up nuggets of gold out of the dross or deciphering semi-legible traces scratched with a stylus.”

As for categories on the site, topics range from speech synthesis to tintypes, from face averaging tor image polar-to-rectangularmorphing, and from animation to waveforms. Last November he posted a fascinating piece on how to make sound out of a picture of a sound wave. Say what? It’s all rather technical…and arty, and  philosophical…and technical back again.

If you want more Patrick Feaster, his previous home on the internet was Phonozoic, dedicated to the history of the phonograph and related material.  But these days he’s broadened his interest to visual media as well.