New online materials on the Watanabe Collection at the Archive Center for Anime Studies, Niigata University

We are happy to report that the Archive Center for Anime Studies at the Asian Link Research Center, Niigata University has published a detailed website about their ongoing research in relation to the Watanabe Collection, one of their core collections. This comprehensive overview explores not only the story and contents of the collection itself, but also the development of handling intermediate production materials in the anime industry in general, and the various legal implications of these practices past and present especially regarding preservation and research work with such materials.

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Visiting the Archive Center for Anime Studies

Beginning of June we visited the Archive Center for Anime Studies at the Asian Link Research Center, Niigata University, and met with lead researchers Minori Ishida and Joon Yang Kim. The archive currently houses two collections (the Watanabe Collection and the Takeda Collection) of intermediate production materials – such as storyboards, animation cels, background images, etc. – used in the creation of animation works.

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Project funding is extended by another 36 months

The Japanese Visual Media Graph project is funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG). The first grant was for a period of 36 months and the funding program allows for a second grant to continue the project.

We applied for the continuation grant in 2022 and in early June 2023, we received the notice of approval. The reviewers lauded the project idea and the results of the first project phase.

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Report on FanLIS 2023: Halliday Journals and holodecks: audiences and information in sci-fi fandoms

This year saw the third installment of the FanLIS symposium series (see our reports on the first and second event) – organized by CityLIS – take place on the 18th of May, once again online. All talks and the corresponding chat history are now available online. This year’s title and theme was Halliday Journals and holodecks: audiences and information in sci-fi fandoms. As Ludi Price, co-organizer of the event, explained in her opening address the theme of SF is quite central to the intersection of fan studies and library and information science for a number of reasons. First of all, SF is one of the most important genres for the development of organized fandom as we know it today. Second, the roots of fan information behaviour can also be traced to the genre and the beginnings of fanzin culture. Third, SF is an important domain for the historicizing of fandom. For example, in The Comet, the first SF fanzine, we can see how the modern fan world began to take shape. Fourth, SF works also hold up a mirror to how we conceptualize information needs: are librarians needed in the far future?, after the apocalypse?, or once information access becomes omnipresent? Will information be savoured or so interwoven with our everyday ways of operation that it will no longer be visible as a result of being taken for granted. Fifth, fans have also been at the forefront of appropriating new technologies for fan activities and information provision activities and in this way are always representatives of the near future SF that is just around the corner.

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A Tiny Use Case approach to a preliminary overview of formal and stylistic transformations of character designs between the 1990s and 2000s

This is a guest post written by Oscar García Aranda, who is currently a PhD Candidate and pre-doctoral researcher in the Department of Translation, Interpretation and East Asian Studies of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), and who undertook a short research stay at the JVMG project with us in Stuttgart to work on further developing his dissertation research.

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Presenting at SWIB 2022

The annual conference SWIB 2022 was held for the 14th time, and the third time online due to the pandemic. SWIB focuses on Linked Open Data in libraries and related organizations, where IT staff, developers, librarians, and researchers meet and learn from each others.

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Thank you and farewell to Senan Kiryakos

At the end of 2021 our colleague, Senan Kiryakos left the JVMG project to pursue other professional goals. Senan had been responsible for a lot of the work on processing the data we received from the communities and integrating them into the JVMG Knowledge Graph. He wrote two extensive posts for this blog on some aspects of this work: Turning Fan-Created Data into Linked Data I: Ontology Creation and Turning Fan-Created Data into Linked Data II: Data Transformation.

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Milestone: Public access to the knowledge graph

The project has reached an important milestone. The collected data from six sources is available in RDF and can be viewed on the domain. Currently, only the transformed original data is available, as we are still working to complete the next step in the data integration process.

We would like to use this opportunity to thank all the enthusiast communities who make data available under a free license on the web and specifically the communities who kindly supported the project by attending our initial workshop, and exchanged ideas on data in the Japanese visual media domain with us. We are especially grateful to the communities who have agreed to offer us a specific open licence (detailed information is available here) for the parts of their data that have been integrated into our database.

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Exploring the JVMG knowledge graph

The JVMG project collects data from multiple sources and converts it into the RDF format. One of the core characteristics of this format is that all entities and attributes are represented as URIs, while the value of said attributes are either URIs (thus linking two entities using a property) or literal values.

The SPARQL language can then be used to formulate search queries on RDF stored in a database, but this requires the user to be both familiar with the query language as well as the structure of the RDF data.

As all entities and properties are identified by URIs, one way to explore RDF data is having a web server that serves the domain that the data URIs are residing in and shows all information that can be associated with a given URI.

This functionality is one of the main ideas of linked data: a linked data frontend can serve “raw” RDF data to programs that try to resolve an URI while human users using a browser to resolve the same URI get a human-readable HTML view of all the data that is associated with this URI.

Such a frontend also allows for simple exploration and navigation of a dataset, as all URIs in the human-readable view can be made into clickable links.

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