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Benefits of the Social Web: How Can It Help My Museum?

Slides for a talk on "Benefits of the Social Web: How Can It Help My Museum?" given by Brian Kelly, UKOLN at the AIM 2009 conference held in Ellesmere Port on 5 June 2009.


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Benefits of the Social Web: How Can It Help My Museum?

  1. 1. Benefits of the Social Web: How Can It Help My Museum? Brian Kelly UKOLN University of Bath Bath, UK UKOLN is supported by: This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 licence (but note caveat) Acceptable Use Policy Recording of this talk, taking photos, discussing the content using email, instant messaging, blogs, SMS, etc. is permitted providing distractions to others is minimised. Resources bookmarked using ‘ aim-2009 ' tag Email: [email_address] Twitter: Blog:
  2. 2. Using Tools I Talk About <ul><li>Use of Web 2.0 technologies & approaches: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>RSS feeds for structured information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Geo-location data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exploitation of 3 rd party services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Openness of resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Risk assessment / management approaches </li></ul></ul>Talks given in 2008 covered Web 2.0, accessibility & standards. Introduction Note also use of blogs, video blogs, YouTube, Twitter, …
  3. 3. Web 2.0 <ul><li>What Is Web 2.0? </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing term (derived from observing 'patterns') rather than technical standards - “an attitude not a technology” </li></ul>Web2MemeMap, Tim O’Reilly, 2005 <ul><li>Characteristics Of Web 2.0 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Network as platform </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Always beta </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clean URIs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remix and mash-ups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Syndication (RSS) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Architecture of participation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs & Wikis </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Social networking </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Social tagging (folksonomies) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trust and openness </li></ul></ul>Web 2.0
  4. 4. Social Web: “ tools that enable people to create, share and connect with each other ”
  5. 5. Note the focus on the individual rather than the institution
  6. 6. Benefits of Web 2.0 <ul><li>Delivery Mechanisms (“network as platform”): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Global outreach : maximise impact of and engagement with ideas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Outsourced services : allowing organisations to focus on their strengths and small institutions to engage on more equal terms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exploits infrastructure : the standards (e,g. RSS) & services (Google, Amazon, ..) now in place </li></ul></ul><ul><li>User Benefits: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>User can create content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can comment on other’s content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Users no longer passive consumers of content </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. NLW Example (1) <ul><li>National Library of Wales “ Shaping the future: The Library’s strategy 2008-2009 to 2010-2011 ”: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ We propose taking advantage of new online technology, including … Web 2.0 services … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It is expected that the Library itself will provide only some specific services on its website. Instead, the intention is to promote and facilitate the use of the collections by external users, in accordance with specific guidelines.” </li></ul></ul>Example of use of Web 2.0 services embedded within a Welsh Assembly Government funded project
  8. 8. NLW Example (2) <ul><li>Use of Web 2.0 at the National Library of Wales including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of YouTube </li></ul></ul>Examples from guest blog post by Paul Bevan on UK Web Focus blog / Bridging Worlds 2008 paper, National Library of Singapore
  9. 9. NLW Example (3) <ul><li>Use of Web 2.0 at the National Library of Wales including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of YouTube </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of Flickr </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. NLW Example (4) <ul><li>Use of Web 2.0 at the National Library of Wales. Wales, including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of YouTube </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of Flickr </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of a community Wiki </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Museum Example (1) <ul><li>Example of a museum making using Facebook: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Surfacing content in places people visit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allowing visitors to be ‘fans’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Easy to access on mobile devices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Museum Example (2) <ul><li>Example of a museum making using Flickr: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Content embedded on organisation Web site </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of rich 3 rd party user interface </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content also surfaced content in places people visit and comment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Museum Example (3) <ul><li>Social Web isn’t just for visitors – it’s also used to support communities of practice: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs/RR </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wordle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bookmarks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Twitter - Supporting a CoP <ul><li>Twitter: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Used by early adopters at MW2007 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Now becoming mainstream </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Uses by professionals being identified </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Possible uses: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple discussions at conferences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Amplified conferences (cf #CILIP2) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supporting distributed communities of practice </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Twitter – Delivering a Service <ul><li>The Historic Royal Palaces use Twitter for Henry VIII’s 500 th anniversary – picked up by the Telegraph </li></ul>
  16. 16. Twitter & User Engagement <ul><li>Museums & heritage bodies are now following tweets and responding. </li></ul><ul><li>Being user-focussed & innovative or spooky? </li></ul>See <>
  17. 17. What Can Twitter Offer? <ul><li>The Tweetdeck client for the Twitter micro-blogging application </li></ul>
  18. 18. Recognising The Barriers CyMAL (Newport) workshop Sep 2009 Concerns identified in discussion group sessions at various UKOLN 1-day workshops for the cultural heritage sector CyMAL (Bangor) workshop Sep 2009
  19. 19. The Challenges Challenges Resources Expertise Time Money Understanding Legal Issues IT Services Colleagues Management Accessibility Sustainability Reliability Cultural issues Technical Issues Interoperability Privacy, DPA, FOI, .. Council OK, there are barriers. Does this mean we don’t do anything?
  20. 20. Take-up Of New Technologies <ul><li>The Gartner curve </li></ul>Developers Rising expectations Trough of despair Service plateau Enterprise software Large budgets … Early adopters <ul><li>Chasm </li></ul><ul><li>Failure to go beyond developers & early adopters (cf Gopher) </li></ul><ul><li>Need for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advocacy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Listening to users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Addressing concerns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deployment strategies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul>This talk looks at approaches for avoiding the chasm & reshaping the curve
  21. 21. The Backlash Is Predictable <ul><li>When significant new things appear: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Enthusiasts / early adopters predict a transformation of society </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sceptics outline the limitations & deficiencies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>There’s a need to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Promote the benefits to the wider community (esp. those willing to try if convinced of benefits) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be realistic and recognise limitations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Address inappropriate criticisms </li></ul></ul>Web 2.0: It’s a silly name. It’s just a marketing term. There are lots of poor Web 2.0 services. There wasn’t a Web 1.0. What follows it? It does have a marketing aspect – and that’s OK. It isn’t formally defined – it describes a pattern of related usage. There will be poor (and good) Web 2.0 services – just like anything else. Any usage will arrive at a follow-up term. Twitter? Another silly name. Trivial junk. Only for people with nothing better evolves to We must have a Twitter feed – impact; marketing; audiences; … and then (from the early adopters) It was meant to be fun. It’s been institutionalised, We want it back!
  22. 22. Beware The IT Fundamentalists <ul><li>We need to avoid simplistic solutions to the complexities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Open Standards Fundamentalist: we just need XML </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open Source Fundamentalist: we just need Linux </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ownership Fundamentalist: must own everything we use </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vendor Fundamentalist: we must use next version of our enterprise system (and you must fit in with this) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accessibility Fundamentalist: we must do WAI WCAG </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User Fundamentalist: must do whatever users want </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Legal Fundamentalist: it breaches copyright, … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perfectionist : It doesn't do everything, so we'll do nothing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Simplistic Developer : I've developed a perfect solution – I don't care if it doesn't run in the real world </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 : It’s new; its cool! </li></ul></ul>Organisational culture
  23. 23. The Librarian Fundamentalists <ul><li>Librarians who have failed to evolve: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think they know better than the user e.g. they don't like people using Google Scholar; they should use Web of Knowledge (who cares that users find it easier to use Google Scholar & finds references they need that way?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think that users should be forced to learn Boolean searching & other formal search techniques because this is good for them (despite Sheffield's study). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don't want the users to search for themselves (cf folksonomies) because they won't get it right. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They still want to classify the entire Web - despite the fact that users don't use their lists of Web links. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Want services to be perfect before they release them to users. They are uneasy with the concept of 'forever beta' (they don't believe that users have the ability to figure things out themselves and work around the bugs). </li></ul></ul>Organisational culture
  24. 24. From ‘Curator Coelacanth’ to ‘Curator Sapiens’ <ul><li>Curator Coelancanth:   </li></ul><ul><li>Rarely spotted in the wild (sometimes found in the depths of the museum). “ almost worthless ” - species that failed to take risks & evolve. </li></ul>How should the museum profession evolve? Curator Raptor:   Terrifying beast, rapidly destroying many of its competitors. However destruction of   IT Servitus proved its own undoing. Species in grave danger of becoming extinct following an inability to respond to the rapidly changing climate.  Curator Sapiens:   Not as intimidating as its predecessor but has the agility & mental capacity to respond quickly to changing environment 
  25. 25. Let’s Be Realistic <ul><li>Want to provide a safe social networking environment? </li></ul><ul><li>You can with Ning. </li></ul>But what of the pitfalls? “ Am I bovvered?” Over-hyping expectations
  26. 26. The Council Firewall <ul><li>The reality: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Useful Web services do get blocked </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There is dodgy/illegal/ dangerous material on the Web </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It may be simple to have a blanket ban </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Suggested approaches: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We accept certain risks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More sophisticated responses are needed (cf Childnet and Digizen ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We should share the approaches we’ve taken </li></ul></ul>New Internet access policy for children From December 2008, children will be able to enjoy improved Internet access in all Portsmouth Libraries. The current “Walled Garden” arrangement will be discontinued. The Internet access offered will be similar to that provided in Portsmouth schools but we will also be allowing access to games, Web chat and social networking sites. For further information, please contact Patricia Garrett on … Should the sector (a) welcome bans to dodgy places or (b) seek to open access and educate users? Organisational barriers
  27. 27. Some Concerns <ul><li>Sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>What happens if Web 2.0 services: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are unreliable? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Change their terms & conditions (e.g. start charging)? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Become bankrupt </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Interoperability </li></ul><ul><li>What happens with Web 2.0 services if: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You can’t get the data back out? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You only get the unstructured or poor quality data back out? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You can’t get the comments, annotations, tags out? </li></ul></ul>Sustainability / Interoperability Again, this can happen within our sector (e.g. AHDS)
  28. 28. Support Issues <ul><li>I don’t have the time to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Understand it all </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use the technologies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Embed technologies in daily working practices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Train my colleagues </li></ul></ul>Common Craft video clips <ul><li>You can: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>View them at work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Listen to the podcast on the Tube </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use them in training </li></ul></ul>Training & staff development
  29. 29. Deployment Strategies <ul><li>I want to do use the Social Web but: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The IT Services department bans it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The council bans it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>My boss doesn’t approve </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Area of interest to UKOLN: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Just do it” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subversive approach – ‘Friends of Foo’ if Foo can’t use it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Encourage enthusiasts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t get in the way </li></ul></ul>UKOLN briefing papers available with Creative Commons licence. (over 40 docs published) Training & staff development
  30. 30. Deployment Strategies <ul><li>Interested in using Web 2.0 in your organisation? </li></ul><ul><li>Worried about corporate inertia, power struggles, etc? </li></ul><ul><li>There’s a need for a deployment strategy: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Addressing business needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Low-hanging fruits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Encouraging the enthusiasts (don’t get in the way) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gain experience of the browser tools – and see what you’re missing! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff training & development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Address areas you feel comfortable with </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Impact analysis and assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Risk and opportunity management strategy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. Use Netvibes! (or similar) <ul><li>Suggestion: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Signup (for free) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Import RSS feeds for your areas of interest </li></ul></ul><ul><li>No time? Unsubscribe form a few mailing lists! </li></ul>Low-hanging Fruit
  32. 32. Use Your Mobile Devices! <ul><li>Understand mobile technologies using devices you own: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you’ve got a smart phone or WiFi device use it to gain an understanding of the potential </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you’ve got a Vodafone contract, you can have Twitter posts delivered to your phone for free </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you’ve got a portable MP3 player, you can listen to podcasts while you are on the Tube </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If you haven’t got an iPod Touch, ask for one for your birthday  </li></ul>Low-hanging Fruit
  33. 33. Create RSS Feeds <ul><li>You may have a home page like this: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>About the organisation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Key links </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>News items </li></ul></ul>Low-hanging Fruit Your news items are important – content that changes But is your news available as RSS? If it isn’t it is trapped inside your Web site  NB blog software can be used to create RSS
  34. 34. Have A Blog <ul><li>Set up a blog. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Easy to create (e.g. Blogger, Wordpress, …) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You have staff who care </li></ul></ul><ul><li>You can try it: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For fixed-term event </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For internal purposes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>You can easily learn more: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>UKOLN’s cultural heritage briefing document (~10 of blogs and blogging) </li></ul></ul>Low-hanging Fruit <ul><li>Still unconvinced? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Try Posterous (you can use email, can’t you?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explain why you don’t want to engage with your users! </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. Check Your Wikipedia Entry <ul><li>Check you have an entry in Wikipedia – if not, you are probably missing out on Web traffic </li></ul>Low-hanging Fruit <ul><li>Check your Wikipedia entry: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it accurate? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it appealing? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Check the history of the entry: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>When was it created? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How has it changed? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What did the original entry say? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How long might this have been the first thing Google users saw? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Might this have been counter-productive? </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. Perhaps Have a Facebook Page <ul><li>It is simple to create a Facebook group page for your museum </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Popular area </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Syndicate content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engage with users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But remember other issues: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sustainability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work flow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul>
  37. 37. What Next? <ul><li>Beyond the low-hanging fruit what else can you do? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Risks and Opportunities Framework </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘Critical Friends’ and friendly critics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Working as a community & making use of the social networks (which get better as the number of users increase) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engage with the challenges (the council firewall?) </li></ul></ul>To be explored in workshop sessions
  38. 38. Conclusions The future is exciting - but Curator Sapiens will need to address the challenges. Acknowledgments to Michael Edson for the Web Tech Guy and Angry Staff Person post / comic strip