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From digital to social collections. A short story of collections online.
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From digital to social collections. A short story of collections online.



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  • 1960s: early databases 1970s: more and bigger databases 1980s: content management systems 1990s: cultural heritage on the World Wide Web 2000-2012: rapid and exciting developments
  • 1960s: first computer databases of collections 1970s: collections management systems develop, first professional bodies emerge 1967: MCN (Museum Computer Network) USA, MDA (Museum Documentation Association) UK 1970s: first efforts for national and international inventories- National Inventory Program (Canada), Inventaire General (France) 1980s: archivists develop 1 st generation content management systems
  • 1990s: scanning technologies develop, digitization of collections, development of standards for documentation 1994: birth of the World Wide Web 1994: first museum websites emerge (National Museum of Science & Industry) 1995: first online exhibition (Museum of the History of Science, Oxford) 1995: Virtual Library of Museum Pages (VLmp), 12 museum websites 1996: Virtual Library of Museum Pages (VLmp), 630 museum websites 1997: Virtual Library of Museum Pages (VLmp), 1200 museum websites
  • Even in the early Web 1.0 the VLmp list of museum websites attracted a lot of interest and shows the rapid growth of museum site numbers: 12 museum websites in 1995 630 museum websites in 1996 1200 museum websites in 1997
  • METROPOLITAN Onsite visitors 6 million Online visitors 47 million TATE Onsite visitors 4.5 million Online visitors 18 million MOMA Onsite visitors 2.2 million Online visitors 22 million
  • MOMA has more than 1 million likes on Facebook


  • 1. From Digital Collections & Digital Curation to Social Collections & Citizen Curators Elena Lagoudi September 2012
  • 2. Digital collectionshave a 50+ years history
  • 3. 1960s-1980s: digitization and cataloguing
  • 4. 1990s: first collections online
  • 5. Characteristics of digital collections 1960-2000► National standardization► National catalogues► Communities of interest► Personalization► User participation► Virtual exhibitions► Early metrics
  • 6. Even in the beginning, digital culture was about the people:► From object oriented to people oriented► Interest in communities of users► Searchability and findability was a key issue
  • 7. Example 1► Digital collections are people oriented
  • 8. Even though the early Web was ‘read-only’, museum technologists experiment with:► Personalization SAGRES system (Bertoletti and Costa, 1999)► Crowdsourcing + User Participation InTouch exhibition, Science Museum, 1998► Communities of interest Los Angeles Culture Net (LACN), one of the first crowdsourcing projects, 1997
  • 9. User-centriceven with web 1.0 technology SAGRES system, Brazil, 1999
  • 10. Example 2► Digital collections are organized in such way as to be searchable and findable by people
  • 11. Documentation standards even with web 1.0 technologyCIDOC Board Members, 1995 ICOM’s CIDOC 1st newsletter, 1989
  • 12. Even though in the early Web 1.0 data did not interact with each other much, museum technologists discuss:► National standardization CHIN (Canada)► International standardization ICOM’s CIDOC► National catalogues National Inventory Program (Canada), Inventaire General (France)
  • 13. Example 3► Digital collections are to be studied, improved and developed
  • 14. Metricseven with web 1.0 technology Museum pages in WWW Virtual Library, 1995
  • 15. 1200 sites in 1997 630 sites in 199612 sites in 1995
  • 16. Professional bodieseven with web 1.0 technology 1st museum technologists’ conference, 1995
  • 17. Even in the early Web 1.0 museums understood the importance of sharing expertise and nurturing communities of interest:► 1967: MCN (Museum Computer Network) USA, MDA (Museum Documentation Association) UK► 1987: Museums and the Web conference, discussing innovative ideas: 1997 Museums and the Web presentation: ‘The Anatomy of a Web Raising: Building Communities in the Digital Frontier by David Jensen,Getty Information Institute‘ about Los Angeles Culture Net (LACN), one of the first crowdsourcing projects referred to as web raising‘
  • 18. 2000-2012:The rise of web 2.0 culture
  • 19. The social web: it’s about connections►Sharing content: blogs, wikis, podcasts►Self-publishing content: YouTube, Flickr►Adding to existing content: Wikipedia►Discussions: forums, chats►Tailoring information: RSS feeds, email alerts►Bringing people together: Facebook, MySpace
  • 20. What are the characteristics of the web 2.0?► Social networks make the web a social interaction platform► Sharing is easy: everyone is a broadcaster► Multi-media win over simple text► Participatory culture calls for user involvement from design to evaluation
  • 21. Digital collections develop rapidly► Digitization standards improve► Documentation standards develop► International depositories grow► Digital curation emerges► Interpretation for digital platforms gets more sophisticated► E-learning platforms develop► Mobile content and m-learning become bigger
  • 22. ► Traditional collections ► Digital collectionsAuthority ExperiencesClosed narratives StoriesExclusive InclusiveObject oriented People orientedObscure FindableInvitation-only Open and accessible
  • 23. Digital collections are more visited MOMA TATE 22 milliononline visitors 18 million Metropolit an 47 million 2.2monsite visitors 4.5m 6m 0 10000000 20000000 30000000 40000000 50000000
  • 24. Museums become social
  • 25. Collections go mobile
  • 26. Digital collections need digital curators► Digital curation: the active management and appraisal of digital information over its entire life cycle. (Pennock)
  • 27. Digital curators:►manage the context of digital collections,►define their semantic context,►facilitate data exchange►fulfill the ‘5 rules for cultural heritage content’
  • 28. 5 rules for cultural heritage content1. Discoverable- it is where I am and where I look for it2. Meaningful- I can understand it3. Responsive- to my needs, moods, location4. Useable, shareable- I can pass it on and share5. Available at all 3 locations- onsite, online and offsite Seb Chan, 2009
  • 29. 5 steps for digital collections infrastructure1. Great digitization- so that they are preserved2. Great documentation- so that they are interpreted3. Great content- so that they are engaging4. Great collections management- so that they are structured5. Great open, linked data- so that they are searchable and findable
  • 30. Digital collections of digital assets► What makes a digital file into a digital asset? Re-usability► The life-cycle of a Preservation Interlinking digital asset: Creation/authoring Distributing
  • 31. Good documentation depends on good standards► Conceptual models for documentation:CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CRM)EDM Conceptual ModelFRBROO► Metadata schemasCataloguing Cultural Objects (CCO)Categories for the Description of Works of Art (CDWA)MARCDublin CoreSPECTRUMMIDASVRA CoreLightweight Information Describing Objects (LIDO)
  • 32. Why are standards important?► So that authenticity can be guaranteed► So that documentation can be homogenous► So that data can be semantically linked to each other► So that interoperability is achieved► So that users can search for cultural data across many collections, in many countries, in many ways
  • 33. From web 2.0 to web 3.0► The ‘web of data’ or the ‘semantic web’ is a web where: ►Data relates to each other ►Searches produce meaningful connections ►New research is facilitated
  • 34. The semantic web is data and people oriented► ontologies ► social discoveries► taxonomies ► folksonomies► standardization of ► semantic searches metadata ► immersive experiences► conceptual reference ► crowd-sourcing models ► user generated content► interoperability +community generated► depositories content► contextual authority
  • 35. Digital collections and the semantic web today:3 facts that underpin everything we do
  • 36. FACT 1Digital collections today facilitate new, open and distributed contextualization structures
  • 37. FACT 2Socially-oriented cultural heritage content creates inter-connections across groups and communities
  • 38. FACT 3 The social role of cultural heritage organizations and the culture of openness that Linked Open Data advocate presentopportunities for creating new and collective knowledge
  • 39. Examples of new projects that have to do with people (‘social discovery’) and maps (‘deep mapping’)
  • 40. Crowd-sourcing:the act of taking work once performed within an organisation and outsourcing it to the general public in an open call (Howe 2006)
  • 41. Old Weather Project: crowdsourced documentationThe public helps scientists recover weatherobservations made by United States’ ships sincethe mid-19th century.These transcriptions will contribute to climatemodel projections and will improve knowledge ofpast environmental conditions.Historians will use this work to track past shipmovements and tell the stories of the people onboard.
  • 42. http://www.oldweather.org/► National Maritime Museum UK in collaboration with Zooniverse
  • 43. Old Weather Project:logbooks and the people that kept them
  • 44. Ancient Lives: crowdsourced archaeologyAncient Lives is putting hundreds of thousands ofimages of Greek papyri fragments online andasking the public to transcribe and cataloguethem.Its goal is to increase the momentum by whichscholars have traditionally identified known andunknown literary texts, and the private documentsand letters that open up a window into the ancientlives of Graeco-Roman Egypt.
  • 45. www.ancientlives.org► Zooniverse + researchers, papyrologists and Egypt Exploration Society
  • 46. ‘Deep Maps’digital cultural mapping geo-narratives spatial narratives
  • 47. Deep maps:A dynamic virtual environment that allows users to identify and experience the reciprocal influences of space on human culture and human events for the purpose of constructing spatial narratives and making spatial arguments.A deep map contains geolocated information from multiple sources that convey their source, contingency and context of creation; it is both integrated and queryable through indexes of time and space. The Polis Centre Blog, 2012
  • 48. Deep mappingis an epistemology for studying spatial patterns,processes, or phenomena through the integration of a wide-range of spatially and temporally enabled sources. From the Summer Institute ‘Spatial Narratives and Deep Maps: Explorations in Advanced Geo-spatial Technologies and the Spatial Humanities’, June 2012
  • 49. HyperCities: exploring urban history► HyperCities is a collaborative research and educational platform for traveling back in time to explore the historical layers of city spaces in an interactive, hypermedia environment.
  • 50. HyperCities: Rome base map
  • 51. HyperCities: 1659 map of central Europe
  • 52. ArchAtlas: mapping archaeology► ArchAtlas is a web-orientated archaeological mapping and research project, founded by the late Prof. Andrew Sherratt, which continues to be developed at the Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield, UK.
  • 53. ArchAtlas
  • 54. ArchAtlas
  • 55. CivilWarData150: deep mapping history► A collaborative project to share and connect Civil War related data across local, state and federal institutions during the four year sesquicentennial of the American Civil War.► The project will utilize Linked Open Data to find and create connections between archives and help increase the discovery of these resources by researchers and the general public alike.
  • 56. ConflictHistory.com utilizes the Freebase APIand Google Maps Flash to present a dynamic view of the history of war.
  • 57. CultureSampo: a national deep map► CultureSampo is a Finnish national communal publishing conduit for both institutional memory organizations as well as private citizens.
  • 58. Finnish Culture on the Semantic Web
  • 59. Historypin: a community curated map of the world► Historypin is a way for millions of people to come together, from across different generations, cultures and places, to share small glimpses of the past and to build up the huge story of human history.
  • 60. historypin
  • 61. historypin
  • 62. The Megalithic Portal: funded and run by volunteers► A community contributed portal with maps identifying megalithic monuments in the UK, Europe and the World.
  • 63. TheMegalithicPortal, UK
  • 64. LookBack Maps: historic photographs on a map► A simple, yet robust way of visually organizing, exploring and engaging in history and historical photographs through web and mobile-based maps. Through the online mapping of high- resolution public photo collections and geotagging technology, Lookbackmaps creates collaborative, standardized views into the past.
  • 65. LookBack Maps
  • 66. Historic Churches of Great Britain
  • 67. The future of digital collections► From closed websites to integrated open web presence► Approaching digital content differently to the physical museum: new models,new structures► Putting digital content where audiences are and ensuring findability► Listening to and building collaborative communities with audiences