About Me

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Web person at the Imperial War Museum, just completed PhD about digital sustainability in museums (the original motivation for this blog was as my research diary). Posting occasionally, and usually museum tech stuff but prone to stray. I welcome comments if you want to take anything further. These are my opinions and should not be attributed to my employer or anyone else (unless they thought of them too). Twitter: @jottevanger

Monday, October 30, 2006

Bad data

Tim O'Reilly's example here http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2006/10/the_persistence_of_bad_data.html is an amusing (for people other than Lou Rosenfeld) illustration of the perils of letting your data out and losing control of it - derivatives of it persist long after the original has been updated or deleted. A sustainability downside to the Web 2.0/data web story.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Lorcan Dempsey's point (Networkflows) about workflow reminds me of an aspect I haven't addressed porperly, namely the fact that networked materials may have started out relatively isolated/standalone but now we are seeing a web where people don't necessarily pay an explicit visit to a site to gather material or experience, but are fed them through means that might make the source invisible to the user.
As we start to see our materials built into the workflow, their failure may result not in the traditional server error/page not found message, but in the breaking of a service for reasons opaque to the user. Like Google's spellchecker, Flickr etc., people will only build their applications using our materials as a source of data or services if they are confident that they will be reliably available - and if we don't offer our assets as data sources then we will be sidelined and perhaps others will step in.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


TechCrunch reviewed this nice new Flash app which brings together various resources held elsewhere including RSS and other feeds, streaming audio, images, and lets you mash them into a time-based "web movie". Lots of effects and actions available. Plenty to sort out, too, but I explained why it might be interesting to the dude who gave me access thus
"...basically we and lots of others in the museum sector in the UK (and elsewhere, of course) are keen to see where SW can fit in with what we want to/should be doing. At the same time I am doing a PhD in the sustainability of museums' digital stuff (which SW has a potentially large part in). It was cool to see an innovative example of how we can use and reuse semantically organised resources. RSS, podcasts, feeds from Flickr etc. are all used in various ways, some more creative than others. TagLoop looked like it could do something completely fresh, and whilst it may or may not prove useful to us or other museums just as it is (and I'm sure it can), I think it will get us thinking afresh about what is possible with our news feeds, events listings, image collections, audio tours, blogs etc
It caught my eye also because I'm no Flash whizz, we commission that sort of work from others, and it's only recently that we've started to understand the scope for feeding XML and external assets into a Flash "framework" file. TagLoops seems to take this to quite an extreme. I'm sure that you could create quite a market in customised versions of it, too."