Bachelor/master thesis opportunity

I’m embarking on an exciting project with the Shuttleworth Foundation to explore the embedding of metadata for license and attribution requirements in digital works, something that will change the way we work and make it significantly easier to use shared materials from Flickr, Scribd, Facebook, or any other web platform for digital works.

One of the priorities is to establish a proper technical infrastructure for this, but also to create prototypes and demonstrations of what could be achived with the technology. This work includes a lot of opportunities for exciting thesis topics for the right students within the topics of software engineering or computer science. The exact work to be done depends on the qualifications of the student but includes both technical work and academic research to answer key questions about creativity and technology.

Examples of topics that could be explored during a thesis include:

  • Comparative study of technical standards used for expressing license requirements of assets (ODRL, CC-REL, PLUS, and other standards to be evaluated both from a technical and practical perspective)

  • Implementation and standardisation of embedding ODRL into digital works using XMP through extension or repurposing of existing libraries or tools

  • User-centered study into the way people use technology to use works found on the Internet, identifying the technical challenges and proposed further work

  • Implementation of a module in Wordpress or other CMS system to enable a basic understanding of licensing terms embedded in digital works using CC-REL and XMP

  • Extension of the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP), Inkscape or other graphical tool to enable correct behaviour in regards to the permanence of embedded metadata, potentially including also behaving correctly in regards to the actual metadata (depending on the length and level of the thesis)

  • Comparative study of technical standards for provenance, licensing and attribution requirements, suggesting ways in which current standardisation efforts could align their work better with one another across doamins.

Some of the work on this has been started by others, but there are significant challenges in understanding the concepts and relating them to each other, ultimately advancing the state-of-the-art in relation to embedded metadata.

In order for a thesis to be successful and truly useful for the community, I would request but also offer the following to a potential thesis student:

  • Meetings or calls on at least three occasions during the thesis work with the students’ academic supervisor to evaluate the progress and the joint understanding of the academic work.

  • If any travel or additional resources is needed for the thesis work, then I will of course cover the costs for this (though this should be cleared before starting the work).

  • The resulting work should be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license, or the GNU General Public License in the case of free software tools developed. This will be governed by an agreement with the student(s) before starting any work.

  • While thesis work is a part of the students’ education and no salary is usually given for it, I’m offering a fixed remuneration of 500 Swedish kronor per academic credit of the thesis (typically then 7.500 Swedish kronor for a bachelor thesis and twice this for a masters thesis). This remuneration is paid on the completion of the work.

  • Access to a place of work is relevant and to the extent possible, student(s) are invited to work from my office, though this depends on the number of concurrent students and the way this can be practically solved.

Interested students should submit a brief description of themselves and their qualifications to me at jonas@ffkp.se.

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