Web 2.0” is an umbrella term that is used to refer to a new era of Web-enabled applications that are built around user-generated or user-manipulated content, such as wikis, blogs, podcasts, and social networking sites.
Pew Internet (2009): 19% of UK adults have used Twitter
The concept of the archive online is still a relatively new one, and as a community we are still very much exploring the implications of these evolving spaces for the understanding of the archive. In the last decade, certain online activities have become commonplace in our outreach practices: the creation of online exhibitions, use of listservs, emailers and newsletters to reach target communities. And in the late 1990s, especially, issues of online access came to the forefront of our discourse, with groundbreaking work on developing electronic archival description, archival networks and interface design as a means to reach out to many more users, and also create efficiencies for existing ones. Daniel V. Pitti, “Encoded Archival Description: the Development of an Encoding Standard for Archival Finding Aids,” American Archivist 60, no.3 (1997): 268-283. National Council on Archives, “Archives On-Line: The Establishment of a United Kingdom Archival Network” (1998) Wendy M. Duff, Penka Stoyanova “Transforming the Crazy Quilt: Archival Displays from the User’s Point of View”, Archivaria 45 (Spring 1998): 44-79
What are the lessons we can learn from those who are taking pioneering steps before us, and the stories which are detailed through these case studies? The changing nature of outreach via the wealth of Web 2.0 channels available to us means we are in a period of experimentation – discovering new ways to engage with end users, and to be archivists in new spaces. As the case studies demonstrate, we are in a period of flux, where we are renegotiating issues of control, authority, voice and trust. As Stephen Fletcher puts it when referring to the creation of a blog about processing the Hugh Morton collection: “we faced no institutional formalities or approvals, wrote no mission statements, policies, nor measures of success.”
Importance of cost/benefit analysis Importance of a strategic direction – understanding your priorities, understanding how best to achieve your aims. Ease with which many Web 2.0 tools can be used Sense of something informal – not ‘serious’ Probably do need to start to get evidence of impact. Managers may start to require this as web 2. tools become more embedded into our mindset and culture. Maybe, like everything else, they will need to be justified.
Book: Realising The Potential of Twitter: The Complete Guide for Museums
Appealling to people in a way that is appropriate to the channel usedThe social web is built around people posting content on things that interest them personally
I think there’s a vague sense of threat with this big new world where users seem more in control. I wonder if there are still many archivists like someone I know quite well who told me she saw no point in being on the Hub or A2A because they have their own catalogue.
Professional, expert, trustworthy (vs) Engaged, approachable, flexible, open
“a lot of what we think we know about categorization is wrong” http://www.shirky.com/writings/ontology_overrated.html Physical constraints do not apply in a virtual world
Make sure archives are safe and secure. Archives are a result of human activitiy and part of culture and society We should acknowledge and use our collective responsibility But do we want to move away from niche audiences and academic preconceptions? Shift to filtering after publishing Hub on Twitter: 1,470 followers (we are following back 1,199 ) Hub blog – for past year 10,053 views and 7,569 unique page views. Average time on page 1:55.
There is a sense of equality around web 2.0. Traditional hierarchies count for a great deal less. It irons out differences in income and education. 51% of American internet users post content they have created themselves; 34% if you just take 30-49 year olds.
Web 2.0 technologies, intrinsically participatory, and focused on sharing, collaboration and mutual meaning-making, are now being effectively exploited by many among us in order to find new ways to reach out to users, and promote not only new use of the archive, but also new understandings of it. In many regards, these new forms of outreach are logical extensions of existing outreach activities, but social media in particular is transforming the concept of outreach itself in positive, and sometimes challenging, ways.
Concerns over interoperability (different formats working together), government regulation and commercial interests were seen as key barriers to a universal internet. "Real interoperability will be contingent on replacing our bias for competition with one for collaboration. Until then, economics do not permit universal networking capability." (Douglas Rushkoff, author and social commentator) The repondents were split over the whether the impact of people's lives becoming increasingly online, resulting in both less privacy but more transparency, would be a positive outcome. Will the powerful remain less ‘transparent’?
Web 2.0 is a mindset
The Impact of Web 2.0 on Archives
The impact of Web 2.0 on
Jane Stevenson, The Archives Hub
Look-Here! Project workshop on Web 2.0
What does Web 2.0 mean for the
– the unknown
– the personal and the professional
– letting go
– making the most of our environment
– preservation issues
Pew Internet: http://www.rahmn.com/pew-study-shows-growth-in-use-of-online-social-networks-not-just-for-kids-anymore/
A leap of faith?
• “There were no formal usability studies.”
(Case studies: blog)
• “..colleagues strong-armed me into joining.”
(Case studies: Facebook)
• “[It] started as an experiment…it was on a
whim that our Director of Online Strategy
signed us up for an account.”
(Case studies: Twitter)
Joining the Web 2.0 world
• Often a lack of preparation, more
• Sometimes reverse-engineering business
drivers to fit
• What can be gained from embedding this into
• What can be gained from a spirit of adventure?
• The impact of changing expectations
An intellectual exercise?
• Twitter for Museums: Strategies and Tactics
– “a 412-page hardback book, containing 25
practical, how-to articles and case studies from
leading international museum professionals and a
highly-experienced International Advisory Board”
• "A Different Kind of Web: New Connections
between Archives and Our Users with Web
Weighing it up
• If you can do it quickly, then finding out whether
it works by doing it *might* be more fruitful than
discussion, debate, reports, background reading
and attempting impact analysis before the event.
• But think about what you are committing to:
– A good blog requires regular blog posts
– Building a following on Twitter requires regular tweets
– Providing images on Flickr or videos on YouTube does
not require regular effort, but IPR is an issue
“I have found that one of the most significant
challenges with using Facebook is striking a
balance between your own personal and
private persona and the persona and role the
individual plays as an information provider
and advocate for their repository and its
holdings via Facebook.”
(Case study: Facebook)
• Blending of professional and personal
• Personality and informality is part of the image
• What is appropriate?
• What do we feel comfortable with?
• Is it easier for ‘digital natives’?
The issue of control
• Control of...
– the archive over time - preservation
– the handling of the archive - access
– the description of the archive – potential access
– the sense of the archive
– the reputation of the archive
The values we hold dear...
Concerns of the archivist
Benefits of Web 2.0
• More users
• Added value
• Greater access
• Numerous contexts
• Professional support
• Individual points of view matter
• “By forgoing formal classification, tags enable
a huge amount of user-produced
organizational value, at vanishingly small
cost.” (Clay Shirky)
• “Each individual categorization scheme is
worth less than a professional categorization
scheme. But there are many, many more of
• The “wisdom of crowds” may be controversial
• The power of crowds is unarguable:
(...at least in theory)
• Some data versus no data...?
We want to:
• Grow our audience
• Diversify our audience
• Show that archives are relevant and meaningful
• Encourage active engagement
So we need to:
• Move from the passive to the active and
• Understand our new/potential users
• Take some risks
• Let go a bit!
Web 2.0 can help with
• Building networks
• Professional support
• Making friends
A recent UK study Higher Education in a
Web 2.0 World, concludes that Web 2.0
has a profound effect on the behaviour
of students, in particular encouraging a
strong sense of communities of interest
and a greater tendency to share and
participate than previous generations.
The report concludes that the “world
they [the students] encounter in higher
education has been constructed on a
wholly different set of norms.”
Ann Hughes (Bellevue Consultancy), “Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World”.
“Media that's targeted
at you but doesn't
include you may not be
worth sitting still for”
Blogs provide a new type of
• DNA and social responsibility blog
• PaxCat project for Peace Archives
• Kew Trainee’s blog
YouTube and Flickr access mass
• University of Glasgow YouTube:
• National Maritime Museum Flickr:
Some thorny issues?
• Is it permanent?
• Is it interoperable?
• Is it transparent?
• Is it using standards?
• Is it open?
• It is trustworthy?
• And how on earth do we measure its impact?
• Who is responsible? What should be preserved?
• Can we address preservation early in the life-
• Might scholars have a role in this (around their
area of research)?
• What about the importance of context?
• Technically, many Web 2.0 channels are not
difficult to archive, at least in a basic sense (LoC –
• Most people don’t pay attention to what
software and hardware are doing with their
stuff (Chris Prom)
• So who is archiving their social media content
at the moment....?
• Hanzo provides “internet memory” and “real-time
capture and playback” of your websites. Our superior
crawl and archiving technology can capture your entire
site with Flash and video streaming media. We lead in
the provision of webarchives using state of the art
software to capture your online presence on Social Web
platforms and can reliably playback archived content in
their native form.
• Leading edge or trailing edge?
• Does the ‘mainstream’ of archivists have the
enthusiasm, have the desire, to engage with
• Is it a question of time? Is it a question of
Some philosophical musings
• Traditionally we organise archives in advance of
the researcher using them
• If a user wants something that hasn’t been
described/categorised/indexed in the way they
are thinking about it then...?
• The archive is what it is, however we choose to
describe it. Or does the naming of the world
• Will differences in expression change the nature
Where to now?
The internet will be a thriving, low-cost network of
billions of devices by 2020, says a major survey of
leading technology thinkers.
• The Pew report on the future internet surveyed 742
experts in the fields of computing, politics and
• More than half of respondents had a positive vision of
the net's future but 46% had serious reservations.
• Almost 60% said that a counter culture of Luddites
would emerge, some resorting to violence.
Pew Report from 2006: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/5370688.stm
• Pew Internet: http://pewresearch.org/
• Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies: 15
mind blowing facts about the internet
• Twitter for Museums
• A Different Kind of Web: New Connections between
Archives and Our Users with Web 2.0 (ed. Kate