Digital content & social media

A while back I was in Melbourne again to deliver a couple of talks. The prime reason was a keynote for the 2008 SPERA (rural education) conference and I also talked to members of VALA one night on much the same subject matter.
I’ve uploaded the presentation (using Apple’s Keynote for the first time) to SlideShare, but as they are still sorting out a new way to bring hyperlinks with uploaded presentations, I thought I’d shove a quick post in my blog along with all of the URLs and some explanatory notes, so here it is (I’ve even corrected most of the typos!).

Notes and hyperlinks for some of the slides

Slide 4: This is our current major project and the diaries of all of the Australian units that served in the First World War are being uploaded progressively as we complete the scanning and checking. This is our online collection access system and users can search it for almost 300,000 digital images and catalogue records for art works, photographs, relics, and personal manuscripts in our museum collection.

Slide 13:
This slide highlights a few examples of the ways we’ve started using Web2.0 features to “tour the web” and put our content out well beyond our home website, reaching bigger social networks and engaging new audiences at the curatorial level. RSS underpins much of Web2.0, by allowing the public to select their subscriptions and then have them delivered to them on a regular basis. The links takes you to our podcasts page. Podcasts were our first foray with Web2.0 and RSS. We have just gone live with ArtShare – a program developed by Brooklyn Museum to allow for selected art works to be featured on Facebook profile pages. The blogs have been the simplest, easiest to use model that has allowed our curators their own voice on the web about our collections and their work. Previously all content was much more formal, using institutional voice. WordPress is used by the Memorial and some of our staff use Blogger (externally, eg. this blog).
Facebook plunges us into growing social networks with more reach than we have and allows us to communicate with those who are more comfortable in that space. People seem more comfortable and relaxed in their feedback. &
Flickr is also a two-way process allowing us to share images with everyone and to learn from the public’s visual pointers to their interests in us. YouTube is another vital way to engage a large audience interested in the moving image. We think it is important to re-use our content and provide interpretation of it on that large network. We’ve long been a major contributor to Picture Australia, a fantastic portal to cultural images from NLA. It is a great model for further collaborative projects along the same lines. We use Ning internally as a social network platform to share ideas, learn about social media, discuss proposals and to help move projects forward. And we’ve started using social bookmarking to leave “muddy footprint trails” across our large website for content that isn’t well exposed or that easy to find. We are still learning what can do for us.

Slide 14: We have been in touch with Flickr Commons and images from our collection are likely to be added on 11/11/08. We are seriously looking at CreativeCommons attributions to cover content that we’ve developed for our presence on the web, so as to enable its appropriate re-use. As we use WordPress as our blogging platform, we will probably take a good look at BuddyPress when it goes live later in 2008. It may extend our blogs to become more of a hosted social network. Your Archives (from TNA in the UK) might offer us a good model to facilitate public contributions and a bit of personalisation relating to our archival collections. QR codes might be used by us in several ways to facilitate the provision of packets of information to mobile devices with cameras in and the required software. We are looking at this now. Currently we maintain our own military history encyclopedia and it is a pretty big drain on our own resources to keep adding new content, so maybe migrating the content to (and helping to manage it) or hosting a wiki where the community could contribute will work for us. We really like this mash-up that is related to the US Vietnam Veterans Memorial and we are trying to trial much the same thing with our Roll of Honour. Our trial will probably focus on the Korean War panels.

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