Case studies

Several case studies will be carried out throughout the project. Current case studies:

  • Study of place related photography on Instagram in the town of Södertälje, Sweden
    Period: 2017-03-01 – 2017-12-31
    The purpose of this case study is to look at images on Instagram connected to the city of Södertälje, in order to examine the relation between Instagram photography and place, through hashtag #södertälje and geotag Södertälje. Images representative of Södertälje, i.e. demographically (age, gender, ethnicity), but also connected to statistically common topics from personal accounts (f.ex. Scania trucks, self motivation/gym, etc.). The Södertälje Case Study is ongoing. Metadata from January is being collected through third party service Notified. We have extracted metadata from March 16–31 looking closer at the content and testing coding and classification. This is a period where we also have made screenshots from images with hashtag #södertälje and geotag Södertälje. We have in dialogue with Associate Professor Paula Uimonen interviewed three women from Södertälje, about their posting on Instagram. We are planning to do more interviews using photo elicitation. By using the metadata from Notified we have also looked into coordinates of the images from March 16–31 and plotted them onto an open source map. Latest activities involve analysing geotagged images and extracting categories that will be used in an upcoming collecting initiative.
  • Public Questionnaire about the use of personal photographs in social media
    Period: 2017-03-27–ff
    We have launched an online questionnaire “Do you post images in social media?” on about habits of posting photos in social media. We have encouraged people from Södertälje to respond, but also posted the link in social media open for everyone to respond. So far there are 69 responses to the questionnaire, and the responses will be analysed as a next step.
  • Terrorist attack in Stockholm April 7 2017
    Period: April 2017 (with following analysis)
    Shortly after the terrorist attack in Stockholm April 7, the Stockholm County Museum launched a collecting initiative in collaboration with the Stockholm City Museum. The website Samtidsbild was used for collecting photos from the event. A few days later the Nordic Museum launched a collecting initiative on in order to compare the results with Stockholm County Museum. Different ways of outreach was used, a press release and a great media coverage compared to a sponsored post on Facebook and on Instagram. As a parallel effort metadata was collected through third party service Notified, in order to get an overview of the total amount of images posted online about the event. The main purpose of these initiatives was to learn how to collect social digital photography in connection to larger events/crises in contrast to ongoing everyday life. The purpose was also to further test the collecting websites and Samtidsbild. The results will be more closely analyzed and compared.
  • Current work practices around photography collections
    Period: 2017-05 – ff
    Professor Helena Wulff has performed interviews around current work practices for photograph collection management. This has been complemented by a survey to Swedish museums and archives in order to assess if they have started to collect social digital photography, and their thoughts about this. The survey will be complemented with further interviews and surveys in Denmark and Finland.
  • Social Media Diaries
    Performed by The Finnish Museum of Photography.
    In Social Media Diaries, the aim was to document and collect visual interaction on social media by two informants. In order better to understand the complex ecosystem of visual social media, one would benefit from asking who connects, where, and in what ways. In the study, the goal was to gain insight into how the informants self-reflected their own practices, networks, interaction, and choices of platforms. The informants were invited to keep a logbook of their use of social media during one day. The images they shared on social media were collected during two days in August 2017. One of the days, they were aware that the museum was collecting, and kept a video log of what they were sharing. All images and videos shared on their public accounts were collected by the museum or sent by the informants to the museum later, and were complemented with screenshots showing likes and comments.
  • Pre History of Visual Social media
    Performed by The Finnish Museum of Photography.
  • #Metoo
    Performed by the Nordic Museum.
    In October 2017 the Nordic Museum launched an online collecting initiative at in order to capture people’s reactions to the viral campaign #metoo. The result has been analyzed by Associate Professor Paula Uimonen and will be published in an upcoming article in Ethnis, later this year.
  • #knytblus
    Performed by the Nordic Museum.
    Another viral Swedish campaign took place in Sweden in April 2018, partly related to the Metoo-campaign. The project team decided to once again launch a collecting initiative in order to compare the use of photographs in social media in relation to both campaigns.
  • #juliaalborg
    Perform the Aalborg City Archives.
    Aalborg City Archives initiated digital collection from Instagram by launching the project #Christmasinaalborg in December 2012. The archives have conducted the project for six years, with the latest hashtag #christmasinaalborg17 (#juliaalborg17); today, it is one the case studies in CoSoPho. The advantage of the long period of time is the possibility to identify changes in the use of the platform (Instagram), user behavior, as well as in motifs. The time span allows comparison of observations, as is used in the tradition of longitudinal studies in other research fields.

The case studies will deliver empirical material framed by the research questions:

  • How can data collection policies and practices be adapted to create relevant and accessible collections of social photography?
  • How can digital archives, collection databases and interfaces be adapted to more accurately disseminate collections to different stakeholders and end users?
  • How can museums and archives change their role when collecting, to ensure user participation in the production of cultural heritage?

Results from the case studies will create the basis for the new recommendations.


Three different methods of collecting will be explored:

  • User-generated collecting performed in cooperation with the users, where the users choose what should be collected to the museum/archive.
  • Curated collecting where the museum/archive professionals select and acquire photographs.
  • Harvesting photographs as part of “big data”.