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, January 28, 2008

Nik Honeysett on planning for the "digital museum"

NH writes about a few of the challenges involved in planning here. Of interest is his observation of the recent LoC Flickr move as a way of avoiding the problem of knowledge becoming embedded in individuals who then leave. Flickr is a large, established service with the backing of mega-player Yahoo!, so the LoC's effort has been put into something that should require relatively low maintenance on their part and has a good chance of being durable.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

OT: b3ta is the nazz

Oh what fun. I fear this idea could prove a great distraction for me. b3ta.com challenge: extending album art

Another vote in favour of the NLP take on the Semantic Web

ReadWriteWeb reports on Inform, which is taking a text-crunching, NLP approach to inferring semantic links between their clients' content (and potentially their content and that of other sites). No marked-up content, no RDF, no OWL, no ontologies required. As RWW comments, it would be nice if they at least took their work and used it to create some of the latter to start making some hooks that could tie together the classic vision of the SW with this brute force and NLP-based vision. They're not the only ones doing this, and clearly this vision is running away with the SW project at the moment, although it probably can't (presently) achieve lots of the things that the more formal and explicitly structured approach can. But since the latter is lagging, it would be good to see some bridges being built.

An interesting extra dimension to mapping

Brady Forrest points out some funky Flash-based maps from MySociety, integrating geographic data (house prices in London localities) with time (travel times from those locations to central london). Actually it's two sets of geo data, because apparently the times are calculated already and assigned to localities, but in any case it's a nice app. Not quite "representing time" on a map as BF suggests, but rather an example of how time and geography intersect.

MILE - Metadata Image Library Exploitation

So, do you think these guys are working with the EDL? There's no mention of the latter on the MILE website, and I've not seen MILE on the EDL WP2 list, and perhaps it will turn out that there's not as much overlap as it appears to me in my ignorance, but I do worry that we've got a scenario where two EU projects under the same initiative (i2020) aren't really working together. Perhaps someone with an overview of i2020 does co-ordinate them, but d'you really think so?

Monday, January 21, 2008

...and Yahoo! using user-created tags

TechCrunch reports that Yahoo! is starting to put delicious rankings with its search results. It's unclear if delicious tags are actually used to calculate rankings, which would be a great test of the power of the lower-case semantic web, based on UGC/social tagging. Fingers crossed. Next we'll have to push them to look at other sources of socially tagged data. Come on out, Steve

Google as science repository

From TechCrunch (and all over): Google To Become Open Source Science Repository

So the questions include: what form of access will there be; what tools online; what steps will this take towards semantic interoperability; and how might museums use the opportunity to make their data available, if at all?

Friday, January 18, 2008

More distributed services. Databases this time.

LongJump looks pretty cool for hosting databases, both for the non-developer and the techy type. I don't think an ODBC-like connection is possible but a REST or SOAP interface is available. This might be a useful tool for institutions (including museums, of course) that don't have the tech skills or perhaps the desire to develop or host DBs themselves. Sustainability implications? good and bad, as ever, I suppose.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Yahoo! and OpenID

Take back your digital ID

OK, not much to add to this, another one on board and a very big one at that. According to RWW, this triples the number of people with and OpenID (or access to one) or will when it goes live at the end of the month.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Alex Iskold on "The Danger of Free"

The Danger of Free - ReadWriteWeb

The question we've perhaps ignored rather. It's true, we're all perhaps a bit too keen on getting stuff for free. We see stuff delivered through the screen as intangible, but that doesn't always equate to us thinking it has no value or should be free, so why is this so with web-delivered services and content? Is it just a habit, and one we can back out of if we see that it's going to mean poorer quality goods, or is it just in our nature to go for the free or to feel suspicious of the value we'll get from stuff on the web? If we have confidence that it will be trustworthy and value for money are we more likely to pay?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

DataPortability.org gets real muscle

ReadWriteWeb points to some potentially very significant news on the data portability front:
Bombshell: Google and Facebook Join DataPortability.org
Data portability and identity management are related to semantic web, to UGC, to interoperability and doubtless many other essential issues today, so as a user and a developer this is pretty promising news.

Museum 2.0: Setting Expectations: The Power of the Pre-Visit

Museum 2.0: Setting Expectations: The Power of the Pre-Visit
A well thought out reminder of the importance of the pre-visit role of the website in contrast to the oft-emphasised post-visit role. Timely whilst we're planning the role of the digital experience in Capital City.