Cultural heritage collections in a web 2
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Cultural heritage collections in a web 2



Slides from Iowa Library Association presentation 10/14/2011

Slides from Iowa Library Association presentation 10/14/2011



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Cultural heritage collections in a web 2 Cultural heritage collections in a web 2 Presentation Transcript

  • Cultural Heritage Collections in a Web 2.0 World
    Lynne M. Thomas
    Iowa Library Association Conference
    October 14, 2011
  • Where we began
    “Those who prefer to wait and see how digital […] technology shakes out before making the administrative commitments necessary to ensure long-term preservation are shirking their responsibility to help define the terms of the debate”—Paul Conway, 1996
  • What is meant by “Web 2.0”?
    • Wikipedia definition: “A trend in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aims to facilitate creativity, information sharing, and, most notably, collaboration among users. These concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities and hosted services, such as social-networking sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies.”
    • Characteristics:
    • Network as platform – “cloud computing”
    • Based on user expectations, not publisher expectations; content flows to user
    • Openness – open architecture, open standards, open source, open content
    • Sharing – people and organizations sharing content, users sharing opinions, tags, rankings
    • Explosion of ways to connect – people connecting through social networks, communities around blogs, wikis, Flickr groups; and people connecting information sources through tags, RSS feeds, mash-ups . . .
  • Overview of most common Web. 2.0 tools/sites
    • RSS – makes it all possible
    • Blogs
    • Microblogs (Twitter, Tumblr)
    • Podcasts (video and audio)
    • Image sharing sites (such as Flickr)
    • Video sharing sites (such as YouTube)
    • Wikis
    • Tagging and social bookmarking (delicious)
    • Social Networking sites (such as Facebook and LinkedIn)
    • Advanced topics: "mashups," widgets, Second Life
  • What else is new?
    Hathi Trust
    Google Books
    Social media explosion
    Mobile revolution: “There’s an App for that.”
    Cloud Computing
    Crowd-sourcing (Wikipedia, Kickstarter)
    Open-source for everyone?
  • What do we know?
    Social media use is rampant among our patron base, in one way or another.
    We need to let go of the notion of controlling everything.
    What we do hasn’t changed *that* much; the tools with which we do it, though, have changed significantly.
  • What can we do with 2.0 tools?
    Raise awareness of our existence and our awesome collections
    Push our digital materials out to the public, repurposing via numerous formats
    Engage with our users directly online
    Keep up with multiple donors simultaneously
    Crowdsource some metadata tasks, like photo identification
  • Generalizations
    You may find more of an audience if you head for where more people are hanging out on the internet (i.e. not your institutional website)
    Understand that sharing means setting free: you can’t always control what happens to your materials (LOLbooks, anyone?)
    Increased web visibility may lead to increased usage of the physical materials; are you and your staff ready?
  • Exhibits
    Organization & Metadata management
    Useful tool: Omeka
    What’s more effective: simple and broad, or detailed and narrow?
    Static vs. moving images?
    How can online exhibits expand upon the physical ones?
    Great example: Brooklyn Museum
  • Your Online Presence
    How can you make it interactive? Should you?
    Student/patron-created content based on Special Collections holdings?
    Facebook page?
    Content/collection driven Twitter stream?
    • Video tour!
    Making YouTube (videos) or Flickr (images) about the collections available to faculty for teaching
    Check out the YouTube channel for the Smithsonian or the Folger Library for great examples.
    Just like in person, enthusiasm sells a good story
    Contact information!
  • Social media
    Quick and easy way to get the word out
    No need to do everything (but doing something can be quite helpful)!
    Institutional vs. Personal accounts
    Importance of response: this is meant to be interactive!
    Persistence + Personality builds an audience.
    As in all things on the Internet: if you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t post it.
  • Social Media (cont’d)
    Privacy: filters are your friends!
    How personal do you want to be?
    The idea of perpetual beta: keep tweaking!
    The more you establish your internet presence, the more you control your internet presence.
    Baby steps are fine: comment first, then launch your own stuff, if you like.
    You get what you pay for (and most social media is free)
  • Administrivia
    • Friending policies: have some. Make 'em public.
    • Manage user expectations (e.g. blog frequency)
    • Preservation possibilities?
    • Metrics tell you whether it’s worth doing (Google Analytics)
    • Checking with legal vs. being informally linked to your institution
    • Have fun! Enthusiasm and a sense of humor are great for building an audience.
    • If it isn’t fun, if it doesn’t work for you, don’t do it.
  • That’s nice. Now how do we document it all?
    “We promise to keep the server(s) running” is no more a digital preservation plan than “I think we have insurance” is a disaster plan.
  • The Beauty of “Benign Neglect”
    Stabilize it, shelve it, ignore it.
    “Benign neglect” often does the trick
    …Except when it doesn’t
    Audiovisual materials
    The Digital Age
  • Benign Neglect is not enough
    Saving / backing up data to a CD/DVD/flash drive/external hard drive is not enough.
    “Benign Neglect” doesn’t work on digital objects. The data will degrade unless it is continually refreshed and checked. This is called “bit rot.”
  • You want me to preserve what?
    A change in preservation thinking: it’s no longer only about the physical object.
    How do we preserve what doesn’t physically exist?
    When the original is a digital file, how can we prove it’s really the original?
    How do you choose what to save?
  • The Devil is in the Details
    Digital objects can easily separate their content (the text itself), their context (how the text is rendered on a computer screen), and their metadata (the “title page” of the text) from one another.
    Digital Preservation requires saving all three components, and linking them together in perpetuity.
  • Brave New World:Digital Preservation
    Creators of digital content often aren’t thinking long-term. That’s our job.
    I love standards; there are so many to choose from!
    Choose wisely; create and use a digital collection development plan
    Collaboration is key; this isn’t cheap.
  • Ways it can come in…
  • Once it’s here, how do we save it?
    LOCKSS – Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe
    The biggest cost is staff to run the servers, add metadata, program the software, etc.
    Storage media (i.e. servers) keep getting cheaper
    Open-source software for gathering and managing data objects and metadata
    Internet Archive is always an option to start with.
    NDIIPP (
  • But what about…
    Email and other dynamic formats?
    Lack of funding?
    Lack of know-how?
    Lack of administrative support?
  • Don’t Panic!
    Leverage Creative Commons licensing, and make use of public domain materials, whenever possible
    We are not the only ones trying to figure out how to archive email.
    Funding is out there, and much of these things are open-source and DIY, so you can invest time rather than cash.
    There are lots of tutorials, cheat sheets, and great information, with a little google-fu.
    Special Collections 2.0 is specifically designed so that you can give your administrators a copy or a chapter to answer their questions.
  • Resources to start…
    Chris Prom has put together an email preservation bibliography:
    IMLS National Leadership Grant at NIU (two funded years to study the problem and come up with viable models for smaller institutions)
    There are LOTS of ways to get up to speed on digital preservation of all kinds:
    And of course, the catch-up primer, Special Collections 2.0. Also check out Kate Theimer’sA New Kind of Web, which is a volume of case studies.
  • Questions?
    Confessions of a Curator (blog):
    NIU RBSC homepage:
    Twitter: @lynnemthomas
    Slides will be posted on SlideShare after the conference under the username “lynnemthomas”)
    Whittaker, Beth and Lynne M. Thomas. Special Collections 2.0: New Technologies for Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Archival Collections. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2009.