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Rethinking Evaluation Metrics in Light of Flickr Commons: The Smithsonian Institution

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Rethinking Evaluation Metrics in Light of Flickr Commons: The Smithsonian Institution

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This presentation examined how several institutions on Flickr Commons – the Library of Congress, the Powerhouse Museum, the Smithsonian, New York Public Library, and Cornell University Library – are navigating the concept of evaluation in an emerging arena where compelling statistics are often qualitative, difficult to gather, and ever-changing. The joint presentation looked at how these different institutions managed metrics and evaluation in highly collaborative Web spaces.

This presentation examined how several institutions on Flickr Commons – the Library of Congress, the Powerhouse Museum, the Smithsonian, New York Public Library, and Cornell University Library – are navigating the concept of evaluation in an emerging arena where compelling statistics are often qualitative, difficult to gather, and ever-changing. The joint presentation looked at how these different institutions managed metrics and evaluation in highly collaborative Web spaces.

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Rethinking Evaluation Metrics in Light of Flickr Commons: The Smithsonian Institution

  1. 1. The Flickr Commons:  The Flickr Commons: Smithsonian Institution Effie Kapsalis, Smithsonian Institution Archives @digitaleffie      kapsalise@si.edu
  2. 2. 12 Divisions • American Art Museum  • American Indian Museum American Indian Museum • Anacostia Community Museum • Archives of American Art • Archives of American Gardens • Astrophysical Observatory • Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage • National Museum of Natural History,      Division of Fishes • National Postal Museum • Smithsonian Institution Archives Smithsonian Institution Archives • Smithsonian Institution Libraries • National Portrait Gallery
  3. 3. What we track on Flickr 1 Quantitative Number of views, changes in comments and ‘favorites,’ and notes about   significant referrers/spikes in traffic and potential causes. significant referrers/spikes in traffic and potential causes 2 Qualitative Case studies on how images  Case studies on how images are used (blogs, craft projects,  Wikipedia) and other  qualitative results (donations,  research, Wikipedia). Collect  research Wikipedia) Collect comments and tags for  archiving purposes. 3 Press Mentions Significant press/blog coverage  (Google Newsreader)
  4. 4. Quantitative  Highlights 2200 + photographs,  p g p prints and graphics + 4.75 million views  since  + 4 75 million views since June 2008 (~160K/month) 55%  images commented 87% images  favorited 87% images ‘favorited’ 99% images viewed g
  5. 5. Quantitative results: Smithsonian Libraries Portraits of Scientists After 3 months on Flickr,   received nearly as many visits as  received nearly as many visits as during the previous 5 years  on Smithsonian Libraries website. 
  6. 6. Case Study: Photo  Discovery on Flickr Leads  Discovery on Flickr Leads to Significant Donation September 2008 :  p Uploaded previously unpublished photos  documenting the Tennessee v. John Thomas  Scopes Trial * July 2009:  Henrietta Silverman Jenrette contacted  the  Smithsonian  after seeing photographs on  Flickr, offering a donation of 10 photos of the  , g p trial from her father who attended with his   high school biology teacher.  “I appreciate the way the photos I appreciate the way the photos  the Smithsonian has are available  online for all to see.” ‐ Henrietta Silverman Jenrette *http://www.flickr.com/photos/smithsonian/ 2898243103/ 
  7. 7. Case Study: Improving  Collection Data Most of Smithsonian Archives photos have  collection‐level finding aids and no  descriptions at item‐level.  Experimented posting 8 unidentified  photographs from the Science Service  morgue file and asked public for help in  fil d k d bli f h l i March 2009 . 4 of 8 identified. 
  8. 8. “To see this story go from an image  with initials to a full biography with  with initials to a full biography with images and living memories, through  crowd‐sourcing, is wonderful, one of  the very coolest parts of the whole  Flickr Commons project for me,” Flickr volunteer, Penny Richards.
  9. 9. Other Results Increased Traffic to Smithsonian Archives Websites & Use of Resources I d T ffi t S ith i A hi W b it & U fR • Flickr.com is the blog’s #13 referring site • Visitors have low bounce rate, view more pages on the blog, and spend more time than the  average visitor on the main website as well. • The Flickr Commons  accounts for 23% of  the Smithsonian Archive’s overall press. • The Flickr Commons Women in Science set has successfully increased traffic to and use of  the Science Service Finding Aid (Single Digits to 78 views/month) New Audiences • Ichthyologist s on Fish Specimen  Groupp • Research scholar affiliated with  UCLA’s Center for the Study of  Women • Wikimedia/Wikipedia users  / p
  10. 10. Effie Kapsalis Smithsonian Institution Archives Smithsonian Institution Archives @digitaleffie     kapsalise@si.edu

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