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

Friday, September 21, 2007

Digital collections policies

I just discovered from this page that we contribute to a network
"supporting organisations in London that hold collections of moving image material. It helps researchers and the public find these collections and tries to ensure the preservation of important material made in or about our city"

That page notes that "Film and video is barely mentioned in our current collecting policy", which is also true for multimedia more widely. Stumbled over it whilst googling for any digital collecting policies from museums. Few turned up, though of course libraries do, and there are odd statements from museums about digital material, but nothing very concrete.

This despite the fact my own university offers a module on the MA course looking at "particular issues of digital collections and digital collection management". I guess the problem is partly that I'm distinguishing between a lower-case "collection" of digital assets, and acquisition and accessioning of digital material into the upper-case Collection of the museum. Where the MLA have looked at "digital collections" they mean digitised collections, quite a different thing. Well that's not quite accurate (see here) but it's a somewhat different perspective, and certainly not guidance on a digital collecting policy as such. Netful of Jewels was the same: talking about collections of digital assets in the lower-case "c" sense.

A couple of exceptions: Denver Museum of Natural History's policy

Wellcome Trust's Library's preservation policy

And of course these folks at least have a digital collection, even if I haven't found the policy: http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/research/digital-collections/brooklynbridge/

Still reading Karen Verschooren's dissertation which includes others, so I know there are some out there. Google just hasn't got them all in its brain.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Forthcoming: Yahoo Teachers

Yahoo Teachers looks worth investigating, for my kids' school, as a(nother) model for collaborative web-scraping, and as a possible outlet for MoL educational materials.

Monday, September 10, 2007

MS REST interface action

didn't get far with this, it's been draft for weeks...

Cross-post: SL memorial to 9/11

[also on The Attic]

Museums and memorials both deal with memory (I know, the clue's in the name) and both need sustaining for this to work. Of course many museums act as memorials and sometimes it's not really clear which we're looking at.

The memorial to 9/11mentioned in 3pointDs post sounds like a case in point (I haven't seen it, still no SL account but slowly getting keener on trying it out). "Artworks" in SL are, it would appear, common enough, indeed so are museums and galleries; but something like this memorial seems to be on a level very appropriate to the question I want to ask regarding experience-level resources, and when and how we decide what will happen to them in the future. There are many other questions of a more museological bent: who can feel ownership of this? does that matter anyway? can we be confident of what we see there?

Maybe I'll sign up soon and decide for myself. If it's as powerful as it sounds I hope the memorial is durable, but the chances of that are hard to assess in these hosted virtual worlds. Empty as it may sound, my thoughts go out to those who lost loved ones that day six years ago, and indeed to those who were lost or scarred. The media is doing a good job of memorialising right now, and my mind is quite full of those terrible events; they never seem to settle down into becoming assimilated knowledge, bleached of much of their original emotion, in the way that other disasters so often seem to. The shock is still there.

Friday, September 07, 2007

DAMIA: IBM's "data mashup" editor

Here's IBM's answer to Pipes, Gears and the rest: DAMIA. It looks interesting in itself, and I liked to hear in an introductory video that they use the term "data mashup" to distinguish it from properly user-facing mashups, which might be built using the data produced by DAMIA. It takes the usual inputs - RSS, data as a spreadsheet - plus XML and, soon, database connections.
The other thing that is interesting about the phenomenon of the mashup editor as a whole is that it's an example of a class of application that has totally bypassed the "packaged software" phase. Although one could well imagine, in a previous age, some software company selling a mashup generator for installation on a developer machine and private server, it's only fitting that the sort of development tool that exists purely because of web services (lower case) should itself be born and flourish on the web.
There are of course great benefits arising from letting people build their mashups online, aside from not needing to buy the software (after all, Google et al could in theory charge). There is nothing to do to deploy, there's no need to have hosting for your software etc. The advantages are plain, but since you could see similar advantages for other software it's still interesting that we have entirely skipped the installed phase. Perhaps that's yet to come? There would doubtless be advantages to that approach, too.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ross Gardler on Web 2.0 and Sustainability at UK Web Focus

Brian Kelly's guest blogger today is Ross Gardler (of OSS Watch ) writing on Web 2.0 and Sustainability

Monday, September 03, 2007

And what are the IP connotations of this?

Glad I don't have to worry about this one, anyway:


And here's my lovely daughter, Isabella Simpson. Sort of.

She's always wanted a dog

IP IP 'ooray

Although the life drains from my face when I contemplate IP I guess I'd better keep sort of on top of it. Here's a couple of things from today:

All useful stuff, though I just can't seem to keep my eyes open.