Crowd Pleasing Made Easy (by Angus Ferguson)


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This presentation was a contribution to ELISA Open Forum, May 2007, by Angus Ferguson of the Digital Resource Development Team supported by East Lothian Museums Service. The team have explored many different different ways of bringing digital content to users by services on a small budget.

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  • Meant to have Andrew talking about podcasting or publishing audio online then Peter talking of resource sharing and public tagging. Now me doing a bit of both.
  • DRDT Logo Where from - My project is to help our partner organisations (anybody with a collection – mostly museums) do things digitally with the minimum of fuss and bother and for a minimum cost.
  • Stop for a moment – see what others are doing ask them why. There are always people round willing to help – or at least ideas lying around that are worth copying or building upon. Why look for (or even ask for) complicated and expensive solutions to engage your target audience when there will already be others using simple free ones?
  • Minimal initial outlay – easy to update – 30min enough training to start with for CMS (Website Baker) – plenty already using it. Questions almost always answered online – others have done it first.
  • Time for training 30 minutes. Time to create page 5 minutes. How? Text already written for email and picture already digitized for use elsewhere. Skills needed: basic word processing vague memory of where on your hdd pix are stored.
  • All done using Open Source Software – Others write it partly to show off - often altruistic. Save money and pay for other things – staff time Open Office, Gimp, Scribus, VideoLAN, Audacity Cross Platform – splendid for re-using your old files and for creating new ones
  • Give Public Access to collections – generate interest Flickr – Photo Hosting, YouTube – streaming Video (believe me - not easy on your own site) Both can be linked back to your own web presence, both have a huge audience and both have an active audience. Your audience can publish their own interpretations and descriptions of objects alongside the ‘official’ curatorial descriptions.
  • ELMS most popular image – We think it’s coz ties into curriculum activities... Since August when set up account and uploaded 61 images we’ve had over 10000 views.
  • Another from our photoset. People using Flickr or YouTube are encouraged and familiar with commenting on your images or videos. For a collection of images such as a museums have this can often extend the range of certain objects to a larger audience. This image of a Victorian/Edwardian wedding initially it’s all we knew. A user comment however points out that the groom’s uniform is that of a musical bandsman. We now know more about the photo and about the uniform – it may at some point lead to the names of those shown.
  • Some of the boiler tubes from a steam engine the museum service is having repaired. YouTube also encourages commenting on the videos posted there.
  • No.6 Escapes is our most popular with over 700 views so far. From the comments left by viewers we see the diverse range of our audience – some almost certainly new to museum service sites eg a trucker from Detroit is almost certainly less familiar with us than a taxi-driver from Tranent. Always happy to please the growing crowd.
  • Of course in the early stages video might be considered a little advanced. Podcasting now a general name for making audio for download – although not strictly accurate. Collect and publish oral history or even our guides for whichever location you want. Customer provides playback equipment. Only basically need microphone/PC/Audacity – favourite software – Mac, Linux or Windoze
  • Initially phone based – latterly published the audio for download
  • Find the site of interest – check its number on the downloadable map – play the corresponding description
  • Use audio to provide extra information. For example...
  • (Audio should play)
  • Again Open Source is the best there is for what you need. Tuition time measured in minutes. Highlight/perform action... Just like word processing really
  • Video editing is now much the same and there’s even a free non-linear editor that finally compares to the likes of iMovie and Premiere – Cinellerra (Linux only). iMovie’s so simple primary children regularly use it – comes with all Macs. Premiere Elements also easy to use for Windows only and around £50. Speak to me later if you’d like to know more – my favourite’s Final Cut Express for Macs.
  • Finally another way to engage your audience is Web-logging aka Blogging – you may have read some eg BBC – you could even try some of the East Lothian Museums’ ones. Again you’re engaging the public – letting them know in our case a little more about what goes on in a small museum service and as with Flickr et al commenting is encouraged. WordPress software again is free. NB top of screen photo feed of our images stored on Flickr – changes each time the page is looked at.
  • Assure that digital learning is not at all complicated – teaching a vast range of abilities throughout all our partners – none getting left behind
  • Fairly Obvious but when even time is impossible or corporate policies or whatever begin to get in the way a little knowledge can go a long way... Commissioning. Just helped Prestonpans make a video about their refurbishment. Now know the process should they ever want to employ a contractor to do similar things in the future although perhaps found it was so easy to do that they’ll get what they want by doing it themselves.
  • Proof of the help that’s out there
  • Exactly the same skills for other things – standalone touch-screen displays for your captive audience too eg Fife museums and libraries or West Lothian too.
  • ELMS Logo
  • Crowd Pleasing Made Easy (by Angus Ferguson)

    1. 1. Angus Ferguson Project Officer, Digital Resource Development Team East Lothian Museum Service [email_address] Crowd Pleasing Made Easy
    2. 3. Stop, Look, & Listen.
    3. 4. <ul><li>What’s The Bottom Line? </li></ul><ul><li>Mostly Your time </li></ul><ul><li>(and not too much of it when you can’t spare it) </li></ul><ul><li>Web-hosting - £30/year </li></ul><ul><li>Domain Name - £3/year </li></ul><ul><li>CMS you update it with – FREE </li></ul><ul><li>Open Source software for almost anything you’d want to do. </li></ul>
    4. 6. Open Source Software <ul><li>Open Office </li></ul><ul><li>Gimp </li></ul><ul><li>Scribus </li></ul><ul><li>VideoLAN </li></ul><ul><li>Audacity </li></ul>
    5. 7. <ul><li>Costs Down </li></ul><ul><li>Interest Up </li></ul><ul><li>Let Others Do The Hard Work </li></ul><ul><li>Flick r </li></ul><ul><li>YouTube </li></ul>
    6. 9. Tagging Not just an activity with an aerosol
    7. 10. You Tube
    8. 12. Podcasting <ul><li>(or making audio files available for download) </li></ul><ul><li>for </li></ul><ul><li>History Collections </li></ul><ul><li>Guided Tours </li></ul>
    9. 18. Only a wee step forward...
    10. 20. <ul><li>  Digital publishing will help to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Preserve the fruits of exhibition research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engage visitors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Find wider audiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase the reach of museums & availability of material </li></ul></ul>
    11. 22. <ul><li>Development opportunities to help build: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Confidence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understanding </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Leaving staff also better placed to commission work from suppliers without being overwhelmed by jargon </li></ul>Staff Benefits
    12. 25. This presentation was made with recycled electrons