Written by Mariel Marshall, with contributions from Adrienne Wong

On Monday, November 6, at the Alt Hotel in Ottawa, I delved into the rapidly evolving world of artificial intelligence and its impact on the creative performance landscape. This conversation was part of CAPACOA’s 2023 Confluence conference, featuring Canadian artist Adrienne Wong.

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More often than not, artsgoers of all ages are discovering new artists, shows and festivals through some sort of digital device. Whether they’re searching “events near me” on Google or asking Alexa to find a playlist that fits their mood, they increasingly look no further beyond what their device (and the algorithm behind it) recommends.

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The Linked Digital Future initiative (LDFI), as we have known it until now, is giving way to an exciting new project, thanks to funding from the Canada Council of the Arts and the Government of Canada’s Canada Cultural Investment Fund and Community Services Recovery Fund. A project that will continue to enhance the discoverability of the performing arts, while growing and strengthening the community surrounding the Artsdata knowledge graph. We call it the Artsdata Linked Open Data Ecosystem

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A hand holds a smartphone horizontally, displaying Google search results for “Events near me today”. An arrow points to the results, with the invitation to “Boost your digital presence so audiences can easily find your organization (and your events)”.

Calling all performing arts organizations! You are cordially invited to participate in the newest edition of CAPACOA’s Digital Discoverability Program, as part of the Linked Digital Future Initiative (LDFI) and in support of the Artsdata project.

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Tablet showing a graph of the number and sources of events in Artsdata, beside the LDFI logo and "Annual Report 2022-2023). There are abstract, interlinked diamond shapes in the background.

The Linked Digital Future initiative was launched in 2018 to promote the discoverability of the live performance sector. After just over four years, has this discoverability challenge remained just as critical? Or has increasingly advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) solved the problem for us?

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In our previous blog post on Wikimedia Commons, we explained how wonderful a discoverability opportunity this platform can be for performing arts. Over our series of data literacy workshops, we further stressed that everyone in the performing arts has a need for good live performance photos: performers, designers, presenters, journalists, associations, etc. Free-use images make common sense. In this blog post, we’ll explain that publishing free-use images is actually easier than you might think.

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Indigenous artists have historically been underrepresented or inaccurately represented in library catalogs and in knowledge sharing platforms such as Wikipedia. The latest report from the Linked Digital Future Initiative addresses this issue in relation to Wikidata, an open knowledge base that is part of the Wikimedia movement. 

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Currently, much of the information about Canadian performing arts sector entities (including performers, directors, designers, choreographers, organizations, venues and events) is not properly formatted to be found, read and processed by search engines and other discovery technologies. As a result, it is too often ignored or underutilized.

The Linked Digital Future Initiative (LDFI) was created to make performing arts-related information findable and to help build better connections in our sector – between arts workers and audiences – in the digital age. One of the ways this has been achieved is by converting already publicly available information into reusable and accessible data in open databases, such as Wikidata and the Artsdata knowledge graph.

Although LDFI is leading this work, it will take many leaders in Canada’s performing arts sector contributing information to turn this vision into reality.

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Four people form a semicircle on stage, smiling and holding a series of hoops in their outstretched hands.

Two years ago, the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance (IPAA) and the Canadian Association for the Performing Arts (CAPACOA) set out to undertake an unusual project. Noting the scarcity of information about Indigenous artists in open databases, the two associations saw a gap that had to be filled.

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CAPACOA is thrilled to announce that the LIVE Performing Arts Directory is now (in fact) live!

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