Titelillustration Bericht vom 4. Culture Community Plenary

Titelillustration Bericht vom 4. Culture Community Plenary

For all those who were unable to attend and for all those who like to reminisce, here is a report on the emotional highlights of the Culture Community Plenary: What was it like to take part in the plenary online? What was going on in the chat and on the Miro board? And, of course, the participants themselves also have their say.

Plenary Day 1: Exchange - NFDI4Culture today and tomorrow

The 4th Culture Community Plenary (CCP) starts on Thursday morning with everyone meeting in the CCP Zoom room. The NFDI4Culture staff from the Coordination Office are clearly recognisable by the "baby" blue Zoom background - after all, this meeting is about the birth of the new work programme of NFDI4Culture 2!

Welcome and current status of the consortium

In her welcoming words Dörte Schmidt, Chairperson of the NFDI4Culture Advisory Council, takes a brief look at the beginnings of NFDI4Culture. She emphasises that it was above all the the joint commitment and coming together of the "right people" that led to the founding of NFDI4Culture. The further development of these original ideas, which are now blossoming in the culture community, is thanks to the contributions of all those involved, who once again today have the chance to contribute with their feedback.

Torsten Schrade, spokesperson of the consortium, brings everyone up to speed on the current state of affairs in the Consortium - in his usual likeable, engaging, easy-going manner and easy to understand even for non-insiders (despite the fact that he seems a little out of breath and you can tell from his slightly raspy voice that he has had to talk a lot in the last few days).

The appreciative speeches by Dörte Schmidt and Torsten Schrade with their repeated thanks to all employees for the organisation of the plenary and the successes of the first phase of NFDI4Culture earned a lot of virtual applause, which was not audible but visible on all "Zoom tiles".

A bit off the beaten track: Miro board, Zoom chat, breaks and breakout rooms

As at most conferences, the interesting things often happen alongside and between the main agenda (a bit like the "kitchen get-together" at a party, where it's always the most fun): You meet old acquaintances and new faces, exchange news, make jokes and chat out of the sewing box. There are several ways to do this at the Plenary:

A Miro board is available as a digital pinboard - for guests, too, of course. Above all, it offers the opportunity to actively contribute and, for example, leave comments on digital post-its. This is explicitly encouraged!

First of all, everyone can check in virtually with their name on the Miro board, in a wonderfully fairy-like, colourful fantasy landscape - one of those incredibly impressive AI-generated images that are so rich in detail and colour that you can't get enough of them.

fantasy landscape with post-it notes

Check-In on the Miro board

"fantasy landscape with post-it notes"

The Miro board not only provides orientation in the course of the agenda, there is also more to discover: In a specially created "Community Info Corner", for example, there is space to exchange information about current events and the like.

Miro board CCP 4

Miro board CCP 4

"Miro board CCP 4"

The Zoom chat is also very popular throughout the day. Newcomers are always integrated into the action via the chat and brought on (Miro) board - with a special greeting to participant No. 100!

Questions can also be asked in the chat during the talks, e.g. "Where can I find an overview of the 62 NFDI4Culture software tools?". These are either answered directly (conveniently supplemented by links, for example to the NFDI4Culture Registry) or taken up again later and discussed verbally in detail.

During the break attendees can meet in a special Zoom breakout room, the virtual tea kitchen, to chat informally - just like at a face-to-face event - and exchange greetings with friends and acquaintances.

Programme highlight #1: NFDI4Culture services

For many, the presentation of the NFDI4Culture services is certainly a highlight of the day: In 10 different breakout rooms, interested parties gather in small groups for the practical "hands on" sessions to take a closer look at selected NFDI4Culture services and have them explained. The sessions are repeated in a total of three rounds: After half an hour the rooms can be changed and the respective information block starts again, so that everyone can enjoy at least three service presentations.

Even if, despite the three rounds, it is unfortunately not possible to savour all 10 services on offer, which also applies to the writer of this report, she has made every effort to collect and record as many impressions as possible:

In the Helpdesk room, for example, you learn how to submit a request to the helpdesk via the NFDI4Culture portal, plus "great insights" (to quote one participant) into how the NFDI4Culture staff processes these requests. The tour is complemented by a relaxed discussion in which participants can ask questions and make suggestions to the team.

At the Culture Research Data Academy the discussion focuses, among other things, on the Educational Resource Finder: Those present are enthusiastic about the "depth of description of the training offers", especially the information on the processing time of the further education offers and the categorisation into beginner and expert levels. In addition, you can also learn something about the deliberations behind the scenes regarding this categorisation.

The Culture Knowledge Graph is particularly well attended. A lively discussion develops among the participants, who join in with their concrete questions, including technical ones. The big interest in the Knowledge Graph is also reflected in personal conversations with NFDI4Culture employees: "With two of our projects we are now at the point that we would like to 'push' into a Knowledge Graph, and the NFDI4Culture Graph seems to be the right one from our point of view."

Participants are also encouraged to leave feedback and suggestions about the individual services on the Miro board. There are several post-it notes that say, for example, that the Software Registry entry form is "comprehensive and intuitive" and that Flex Funds are a "unique microfunding service in Germany". With regard to the LIDO agency, some participants are pleased with the "individual advice offered by LIDO users", while others would like even more support with the application. The Helpdesk is even considered an "organisational role model" for other consulting services. As for the Knowledge Graph, "front ends and visualisations [...] that can also be used by non-experts" are desired. All of these remarks will serve to secure the results of the plenary session and further develop the services in the second funding phase. They are therefore particularly valuable, and NFDI4Culture would like to thank all those who contributed so enthusiastically!

Presentation of the NFDI4Culture work program for the follow-up application

After the lunch break, the presentation of the work program for the follow-up application NFDI4Culture follows, in particular the presentation of the four planned, newly structured task areas of NFDI4Culture, with subsequent discussion and participation opportunities for the community.

The community also uses the chat for content-related contributions ("In fact, I think it is very good and very worthy of support that a specific TA should deal with the communities and shared data culture!!!") - or for jokes ("Data retention for the cultural sector!") including funny smiley reactions.

On the Miro board, a user journey summarizes the "research data management landscape" of NFDI4Culture 2 from the user's perspective in picture form.

user journey summarizes the "research data management landscape" of NFDI4Culture 2 from the user's perspective

user journey: research data management landscape

"user journey summarizes the "research data management landscape" of NFDI4Culture 2 from the user's perspective"

For the detailed discussion of the work program, everyone gathers on the miro board. Targeted discussion questions quickly dispel the initial reticence and a post-it hive of questions and suggestions emerges, which are taken up one after the other and discussed together. It is clear that the community is at least in part very well informed about the internal structure of NFDI4Culture, and that an understanding of the (distribution of) tasks in the newly structured task areas is developing.

Program highlight #2: Live podcast

The evening of the first plenary day is rounded off together - with the Live Podcast #arthistoCast - the podcast on digital art history on the topic of "Generative AI models and research data: Opportunities and Challenges" with moderator Jacqueline Klusik-Eckert and her guest speakers. The plenary participants do not have to leave the Zoom room at all, but can continue to enjoy the podcast together in Zoom directly as a stream.

While waiting for the podcast to start, some of the NFDI4Culture employees from the various partner institutions are already toasting the first successful plenary day with a Culture Sunrise Cocktail, some even in the company of their offspring or other interested listeners.

The audience not only follows the podcast with interest but also engages in a lively discussion on the podcast topic of AI among the remaining participants in the Zoom chat.

Live Podcast CCP 4

Live Podcast CCP 4

In conversation with podcaster Jacqueline Klusik-Eckert

After the podcast, producer Jacqueline Klusik-Eckert describes her impression of the first day of the Culture Community Plenary in an interview: "I am always surprised at how many different perspectives and participants there are at NFDI4Culture. Volunteers, too, simply a great diversity of people who are involved in NFDI4Culture or who are committed to the same goals. And I have the feeling that more and more clout is slowly developing." She only finds it a disappointment "that the people who could really make a difference, e.g. directors of art history institutions, were not as strongly represented".

A particular highlight and also a challenge for Jacqueline Klusik-Eckert was broadcasting her first live podcast ever as part of the plenary - with guests who did not know each other beforehand and had not rehearsed the discussion. She is all the more pleased that everything went well and that the individual voices of all three guests were well received and heard in the podcast.

When asked about her view as an art historian and member of the art history community of NFDI4Culture, Jacqueline Klusik-Eckert talks about her observation that "in art history, people often lack the data skills that they need to use the services, e.g. repositories, of NFDI4Culture". She believes: "The topics of NFDI4Culture need to be brought even closer to the individual disciplines: For example, data management plans are not just about extra work for researchers, but things are being developed for us and our needs!".

As the "NFDI4Culture jargon and abbreviations sometimes make it a challenge to follow the discussion", Jacqueline Klusik-Eckert recommends "especially the short videos from NFDI4Culture, which explain, for example, what norm data is".

At the Culture Community Plenary, it definitely became clear to her once again "how actively you can participate in NFDI4Culture yourself. It is not only negotiated by experts in a small circle, but there are also low-threshold participation opportunities. Thanks to the exchange formats at the plenary, I have lost the fear of getting in touch with the NFDI4Culture people, for example to make a helpdesk request". And that's exactly the way it should be!

And so the first plenary day comes to an end - and quite a few are more than just a little exhausted from the many impressions of this long day ;)

Plenary Day 2: Community Day!

Program highlight #3: Lightning talks from the community

On the second and final plenary day numerous participants once again gather in Zoom and on the Miro board - despite the "early" hour on Friday morning (in the course of the morning, the mark of 100 participants will once again be surpassed), because today is Community Day! In Lightning Talks, community members present their projects that are funded by NFDI4Culture with the MusicAward or the NFDI4Culture FlexFunds (the next call for FlexFunds is by the way planned for the end of July). The projects include databases and archives: the Graphic Design History Database (GERD), the Motion Bank and the Berlin Techno-Archive. The second round of project presentations is about more technical topics and tools such as the 4D Browser, iART and Open Refine. The presentations are accompanied by music samples, videos and great pictures and also address present-day, socially relevant topics, such as the dying of clubs in Berlin.

In the open discussion that follows, possible connections between the individual tools and archives even emerge. In response to the request for ideas and feedback on the projects, references to tools, events and contacts for the presenters are received on a spontaneously set up "theme parking lot" on the Miro board. A genuine dialog even develops with the post-its. There is great interest in networking, and support and advice is also offered.

In addition to questions, the chat also provides help and networking opportunities - not to mention lots of thumbs ups and smileys. The interaction and mutual support intended by NFDI4Culture seem to be a total success!

In conversation with Theresa-Sophie Herget from NFDI4Memory

Last but not least, the sister consortia of NFDI4Culture are also part of the community as a whole. During the break, there is time for a brief chat with Theresa-Sophie Herget, Communications and Community Management Officer at NFDI4Memory. She describes the atmosphere at the 4th Culture Community Plenary with the feeling of a "large community that is not in competition with each other and of which you are part yourself".

She notices that - in contrast to the NFDI4Memory consortium, which primarily represents the historical sciences - very different disciplines belong to NFDI4Culture (architecture, art and music to theater, dance, film and media studies). In her opinion, "the overlaps and interfaces between the various disciplines became clear time and again. NFDI4Culture succeeded well in representing these in a balanced way."

Theresa-Sophie Herget was particularly enthusiastic about the intense exchange between the humanities consortia, which together form the MoU group (Memorandum of Understanding). "When Holger Simon emphasized the presence of the MoU group in the NFDI and described it as a success story, this 'MoU feeling' was clearly palpable," she enthuses. "There's a bit of pride in this joint achievement of uniting the disciplines. And we want to collaborate even more regarding our services in the future."

She also remembers the hands-on sessions on the NFDI4Culture services: "You get a good feel for the possibilities of NFDI4Culture. Breakout rooms like these create good points of contact in small groups. It's much more personal. You also feel more confident to ask a question." She was particularly pleased that there were three rounds: "I was able to get a taste of several services and exchange experiences."

Compared to the first plenary day, which for Theresa-Sophie Herget was characterized above all by the intensive exchange and a veritable flood of information, she found the second day to be more practical: "On Thursday, the foundation was laid, so to speak, with the presentation of the consortium and the past and planned work programme. On Friday, it became clear this is what it actually looks like in practice."

Theresa-Sophie Herget finally says goodbye, as the next item on the agenda is already underway: the panel discussion on knowledge graphs, which she is particularly looking forward to, as NFDI4Memory is also actively involved here.

Panel discussion on knowledge graphs and final feedback

And Theresa-Sophie Herget is obviously not the only one interested in the panel discussion "Is this meta or can it go away? Which data (from your discipline) belongs in the knowledge graph?". The number of participants is skyrocketing once again. The details of the panel including the lively and critical discussion about knowledge graphs (not without minor controversies) are summarized in a separate plenary report.

Final feedback on the plenary as a whole can be found on the Miro board. The participants see many of their expectations fulfilled: "Participation worked well digitally (technically)" and was " intense and inspiring in a positive sense". They also liked the Miro Board itself, "it also helps to report back to colleagues from the plenary session". However, suggestions were still raised, such as more diversity among the speakers.

The community is not entirely unanimous when it comes to the online format of the plenary. Some say: "Stay digital or hybrid! That works really well with this kind of content." Others have a bit of regret mixed in: "Mini weakness of the digital format: Unfortunately, you don't get to know the other participants (and their expertise) very well."

However, no one really seems to have much to complain about, because although comments can also be left anonymously, the corresponding section remains empty. For all those who want to make up for their feedback, there is a survey on the NFDI4Culture 2 work plan. Of course, positive comments are just as welcome as constructive criticism ;)

The very last word in this report on the 4th Culture Community Plenary should be left to the voice of the community with a particularly nice farewell from the chat: "Thank you very much, the plenary was great, very well prepared and above all it showed how much substance has emerged in the NFDI in the process!"