Sisyphus and the troll on the gate ofthe digital divide


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Paper for the ACRN/CASPAR wor

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Sisyphus and the troll on the gate ofthe digital divide

  1. 1. Sisyphus and the troll on the gate of the digital divide Barriers to participation with the PortableQuote from Camus – quinnanya on Flickr Antiquities Scheme online
  2. 2. The Portable AntiquitiesScheme online First database online in 2001 The HLF funded next iteration at £150K Holds data for over 750,000 objects Since 2006 developed entirely by speaker Most recent iteration cost £48 + salary Online audience has grown 63% in last year Over ½ million visitors in 2012 Annual budget of £4,000 for web production Has accounts on most social media;integrates via api for all of them Resources for a niche audience Big stories get huge attention spike
  3. 3. PAS audience is 48% C2DE and over 60 ‘Yet a significant proportion of the population still don’t use the internet. Most of them are over 65, disadvantaged or on low incomes.’ - digital-participationFrank Basford shows Sir Barry Cunliffe how touse our resources.
  4. 4. Scheme’s online presence Not all of these are highly populated – time precludes this.
  5. 5. Experimentation is key
  6. 6. Back in 1996, Tim Schadla-Hall said: ‘…how ready is our collections information for the super highway? I suspect the answer is that a lot of it is not ready for the mud track or even the occasionally trodden grassy path!’MDA Information, vol. 2, no. 4 Tim as Lenin by gaigysyz on flickr and facebook
  7. 7. Barriers exist for the ‘producer’ and ‘Consumer’
  8. 8. Barriers for the producer Lack of funding and resources Draconian local IT policypreventing access to services Lack of knowledge to produceadequate or satisfactory output No sustainability in originalfunding for ICT projects tocontinue Reliance on one individual tomaintain web presence Lack of vision frommanagement (not so in our case,web is mission critical) Time constraint Data security – eg findspots,personal details Damocles reclining – BM AN1091371001
  9. 9. Barriers for the consumer Poor usability, rubbish UX design Draconian local IT policypreventing access to services(apparent in local authorities – IOWban flickr, see HER forum) Lack of skills to interrogate or useresources to potential Slow network services e.g. Norfolkis on the digital divide Lack of vision to use born digitalresources for research Warham Camp, Iron Age Fort – Sue Walker White CC image Fear of the unknown Flickr Restrictive license for your output No documentation on what to do
  10. 10. Impact: are you getting through? If you still measure hits, leave the room Unique visitors, bounce rate,interactions and visit length are key tosuccess Is your site search engine friendly? Are you just worried about followers? Are you an authoritative source of info? You don’t need social media or searchengine optimisation consultants. Think ofquack doctors in the Wild West
  11. 11. Search engine-fuSearch for Roman coins – 1st result
  12. 12. Spread your information freely
  13. 13. The internet troll and anti- social behaviourFreemont Troll – CC image by Tony in WA on Flickr
  14. 14. We once had a forum.... Had 600 members Had over 17,000 comments Was derailed by aggressivearchaeological postings from severalmembers; therefore removed Significant impact on staff time Outreach was then moved to internetforums hosted by metal detecting We are now subject of blog posts thatcontain many inaccuracies Does one have time to monitor the netand reply to all such instances? Can you cope with vexatious posts?
  15. 15. Why did I mention Sisyphus? Anyone producing digital output is always pushing a rock up a very big hill. You get to the top and start again. Technology changes at a faster pace than you can keep up with You will never please everyone, whatever you do! None of us have enough time to complete what we set out to do.
  16. 16. In summary Time Lack of knowledge Skills Search visibility Accessibility Niche audience
  17. 17. The endEmail: dpett@britishmuseum.orgTwitter: @portableant | @findsorgukTelephone: +44 (0) 207 323 8618Web: http://pinterest/findsorguk