Easily create animated GIFs from the Art Institute of Chicago’s collection using the online editor at https://artgif.netlify.app/

February 2021 saw Cogapp’s fourteenth hackday, with a theme of “museum APIs” so myself and my colleague Matt Chapman worked together to produce a system that let’s people make their own animated GIFs from artwork images.

Zooming in on the lips of a carved wooden figure
Zooming in on the lips of a carved wooden figure
Kissey Kissey (feat. Male Figure (Nkisi Nkondi))

I had long wanted to make an online editor to do this, right back to the time before the enforced homeworking when we gathered ideas on Post-Its on the office wall.

Using machine learning to develop the ultimate MuseWeb paper

We’re all going to be replaced by robots. We all know this. Don’t fight it any longer.

While the focus has mostly been on machines taking over manufacturing and transport, nobody’s thinking about thought leadership in the museum digital sector. Nobody, that is, except us.

A crack team of artificial intelligence enthusiasts at Cogapp used machine learning to create MWbot — the computer that writes the ultimate paper for the popular MuseWeb (formerly Museums and the Web) conference.

This is our story.


MuseWeb have all past papers online for humans — and now machines — to use as research.


Summary: we created an interface to query search terms from the Qatar Digital Library, and you can play around with it yourself using the online demo.

Deciding what to do

During the most recent Cogapp hack day, we invited members of the British Library’s Qatar Foundation Partnership Programme to join us here at Cogapp towers, with an exclusive focus on working with the dataset available from the Qatar Digital Library (QDL).

For the uninitiated, the QDL is a free online resource of primary source historical documents related to the Gulf region, and currently features over 1.7 …

Hello and welcome.

What follows is an account of all the questions that were asked as part of my session at the Museum Computer Network conference 2017, in which I invited participants to ask anything they wanted to about the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF). Questions were selected using the Lean Coffee format and answered by myself and/or IIIF experts that were embedded in the crowd.

Questions are in popularity order, and I’ve added a few at the end that we didn’t have time to cover during the session (there were fifty Post-Its so quite a range to choose from!)…

How we took an archive of sheet music and used software to turn it into sound.

When dealing with readable archival material we commonly end up performing text analysis on scanned images. There are powerful OCR tools that can convert scanned documents into machine-readable text, which makes records much easier to find and read.

However, there are other kinds of archive content that we might want to have in a machine-readable format. Take sheet music, for example. What if you could take scanned sheet music from the page to your speakers, and listen to scores from a museum archive? This was the task we set out to accomplish. Read on to see how we did.



Last Friday saw the very first Cogapp hack day, and the project I worked on was to create a prototype mobile air quality-sensing system. To do this we invited Bruno Beloff and Jamie Campbell of South Coast Science to join us, and to bring a prototype of their hitherto-static air-pollution monitoring system.

The sensor unit

Their box of tricks included five electrochemical sensors from Alphasense, accurate to 5 parts-per-billion, along with custom electronics to carry out the analogue-to-digital conversion of sensor data, a general purpose computer (Beaglebone and Raspberry Pi), a GPS unit, a GSM modem and a rechargeable battery capable of powering…

Tristan Roddis

Director of Web Development at @Cogapp

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