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  1. 1. What Does Openness Mean To The Museum Community? Brian Kelly UKOLN University of Bath Bath, UK [email_address] UKOLN is supported by: Co-Author: Ross Gardler, JISC OSS Watch, University of Oxford http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/conferences/mw-2008/ This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial- ShareAlike 2.0 licence (but note caveat) Resources bookmarked using ‘ mw2008 ' tag Mike Ellis Eduserv Bath, UK [email_address]
  2. 2. About The Facilitators <ul><li>Brian Kelly: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>UK Web Focus – a national Web advisory post </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Based at UKOLN, a national centre of expertise in digital information management, located at University of Bath, UK </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advisor to HE and cultural heritage sectors </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mike Ellis: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Head of Web for the National Museum of Science and Industry for 7 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Now working at Eduserv, Bath </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interests include user generated content, Web 2.0, ubiquitous computing and innovation and how to exploit these to gain maximum benefit for cultural institutions </li></ul></ul>BK Introduction
  3. 3. About This Professional Forum <ul><li>Openness: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A positive term </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Covers open standards, open source, open content, open services and open culture </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the limitations of openness? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To what extent do we wish to embrace the concept of openness? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do we respond if we feel that openness concepts may (a) be flawed (b) endanger our business models or (c) not be sustainable? </li></ul></ul>BK Introduction
  4. 4. About You <ul><li>What responsibilities do you have? </li></ul><ul><li>Why have you chosen to attend this professional forum? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you hope to get out of the session? </li></ul>BK Introduction
  5. 5. Benefits Of Open Standards <ul><li>Open standards can: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide device- and application-independence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid vendor lock-in </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide an open marketplace for development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maximise access to resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enhance interoperability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide architectural integrity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide long-term access to resources </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Benefits are widely accepted by the development community: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mandation of open standards in procurement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lists of recommended open standards for digital library development programmes </li></ul></ul>Benefits Of Openness BK
  6. 6. Benefits Of Open Source <ul><li>Open source software can: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide freedom to use, modify and redistribute software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Encourage competition which can increase the quality, satisfaction and flexibility of software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Help to ensure that software remains valuable to an organisation regardless of changing strategic objectives of any single software development organisation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ensure there is no incentive to attempt to lock-in a customer by using proprietary extensions to file formats or data standards </li></ul></ul>Benefits Of Openness BK
  7. 7. Benefits Of Open APIs <ul><li>Open APIs ... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>..are systems which allow free sharing of data, programmatically </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Typically have open standards at their core, or at least an open framework </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Examples include RSS, REST, SOAP, OAI-PMH, for data sharing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Usually have XML or JSON as interchange format </li></ul></ul>Benefits Of Openness ME
  8. 8. Benefits Of Open APIs <ul><li>Why is this good? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fundamental to the web now is user-centricity . RSS etc. allow users to get what they want and how they want it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shared data inspires creativity: “ we is better than me ” – see the Frankie & Seb show... </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It frees us (and others) to use tools like the MIT timeline, Yahoo Maps, Google charts, etc – usually for no or low cost . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Additional benefits like mobile version are “easy” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The more data the better! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Also – if we don’t do it, services like Google images, Dapper etc will do it for us! </li></ul></ul>Benefits Of Openness ME
  9. 9. Benefits Of Open Content <ul><li>Open Content: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is content which can “got at” and shared </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A hidden API or RSS feed isn’t “open”.. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Word/PDF/Fax/email (etc.) isn’t “open” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is often associated with CC licences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>...which means it is usually free </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As per Open APIs, if you provide access then you can see blossoming creativity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Throws up issues around income... </li></ul></ul>Benefits Of Openness ME
  10. 10. Benefits Of Open Content <ul><li>Open Content: </li></ul><ul><li>...is reusable content. </li></ul>Benefits Of Openness ME
  11. 11. Benefits Of An Open Culture <ul><ul><li>Openness is a core component of web 2.0 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If we can’t use the web to connect with our users, then why use the web at all...? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 (actually, the web) is becoming more and more about people and relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A lot of what we’ve talked about this week is about or around Open Culture! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. “Web 2.0: where do we go from here?” </li></ul></ul>Benefits Of Openness ME
  12. 12. Problems With Open Culture <ul><li>Problems with user generated content: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not all users are nice! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Users may prefer to listen to voice of authority </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Automated spam is an increasing annoyance (email, blog comments, …) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussion often degenerates into flam wars </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May be legal implications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s expensive to monitor </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Open culture – great in theory; flawed in practice  </li></ul>Limitations Of Openness BK
  13. 13. Problems With Open APIs <ul><li>Problems with making use of 3 rd party APIs and services: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They don’t do this for our benefit, but to make money </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The long-term business models are unproven </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They can change their T&C at any time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They can withdraw services cf Amazon withdrawing their SOAP interface </li></ul></ul>Limitations Of Openness BK
  14. 14. Problems With Open Standards <ul><li>Open standards: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be too complex </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be difficult to implement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May fail to be accepted in the market place </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Take long time to reach agreement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We can seek to deploy too soon, before limitations, costs, etc. are understood (RDF?) </li></ul></ul>Limitations Of Openness BK
  15. 15. Problems With Open Source <ul><li>Open source software: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Has been over-hyped </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Didn’t bring long the demise of western capitalism! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May be issues related to: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>documentation support </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>SLA sustainability </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Source Forge as a dumping ground for failed Open Source projects </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The discussion now is more about sustainability & fitness for purpose, whether OSS or proprietary </li></ul>Limitations Of Openness BK
  16. 16. Contextual Approach <ul><li>Contextual approach to open standards: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Developed to support JISC’s development programmes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Described at MW 2007 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Based on annotated descriptions: ownership, purpose, maturity, risks, … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decisions on policies and compliance delegated to appropriate level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extended to include policies on open source software </li></ul></ul>Addressing The Limitations BK See “ Addressing The Limitations Of Open Standards ” and “ Openness in Higher Education: Open Source, Open Standards, Open Access ”
  17. 17. Problems With Open Content <ul><li>Problems with allowing others to reuse content: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Undermines one’s business </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Duplication of popular services but neglecting of minority interests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This isn’t liberal; it’s privatisation (similar to deregulation of public services) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The content owners are likely to be unhappy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why should Facebook, MySpace, … make money from our content? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Open content – like socialism great in theory; doesn’t work in practice! </li></ul>Limitations Of Openness BK
  18. 18. Open Content - think about: <ul><ul><li>Scarcity vs Scale...which for us? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Long Tail and the Niche </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do we address notions of intention ? Answer: we can’t! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Power of marketing vs power of commerce without marketing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pirate Coelho. It worked for him! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Freemium, try before you buy? </li></ul></ul>Benefits Of Openness ME
  19. 19. Any conclusions...?

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