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, September 28, 2009

Jennifer Trust outreach programme wins the National Lottery Award

A whilst back I blogged/tweeted about the fact that the Jennifer Trust, which supports sufferers of Spinal Muscular Atrophy and their families, had been shortlisted for a National Lottery Award for Best health Project, recognising the quality of the work of their outreach programme. I'm really pleased to hear that it won the award (Lottery news item here).
Unfortunately the Lottery funding came to an end in May and the award itself brings no cash at all, but I dearly hope it will raise awareness of and support for the Jennifer Trust's work, which offers hope to many thousands of people in the UK, and indeed support to those who have no hope and may have lost their beloved children.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Anglo-Saxon partnership

Not being much of a historian I don't know how much the Angles and the Saxons saw themselves as a partnership or how much they were just lumped together as such by the residents of these islands left behind after the Romans' holiday, or by later centuries of ignoramuses. I suppose it's a question I might find an answer to if the following suggestion ever came to be.

Today I read of a wonderful find from the North-East, where the burial of an Anglo-Saxon "princess" has been uncovered and the rich remains are to be displayed in a new display at Kirkleatham Museum, Redcar. The cross-over with the Prittlewell "prince" that MOL's archaeology unit excavated a few years back is obvious, no less the uber-famous royal burial at Sutton Hoo [tour]. The fantastic Portable Antiquities Scheme has brought many smaller finds to the knowledge of the heritage community and no doubt they all add to the sum of our knowledge about life at that time, whether noble or otherwise. It struck me, as one who often talks about partnerships but is lacking the imagination to come up with many good candidates for it, that this was one such, where the evidence of Anglo-Saxon royalty that's thinly scattered round the country could be united digitally. Not exactly revolutionary, but it shouldn't be too hard to make it happen, at least in part via the magic of machine interfaces. The PAS has Dan Pett's excellent API, the BM (home of many Sutton Hoo treasures, as well as the PAS, as it happens) has it's fab new-ish Merlin system, and we have...oh bugger, nothing at present but in due course the Museum of London's Collections Online system will emerge. Sadly the Prittlewell finds aren't ours, though we look after them for now, but we have plenty of info about the site as well as other A-S riches from within Lundenwic. Perhaps it's a nice student project to bring these all together. Anyone up for it?

Now I'm looking forward to Thursday, for when Dan is threatening exciting news. Can't wait!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Not very news: I won a competition

Well, well, well. Apparently back in March I actually won something, but it's only by stumbling across this blog post today that I found out. It's quite cool, actually, that I get to have a product (an "Open Source animal bones database for use by Archaeologists") named with my suggestion, although I really like some of the others (SQLETON, anyone?). No other prize, but as a latent bones person myself it's really nice (human bones, though). Apparently, looking back at my reply to the Antiquist mailing list, I suggested "zooos" because (obviously) the zoo relates to animals and the "os" to:

bone, as in "os animalis". Short and sweet! And maybe the extra "o" makes
it more memorable in a way. Then again, it could just be frivolos :-)

Mixing my languages of course but never mind. Strangely I didn't make the point Joseph makes, which is that the OS also puns with Open Source, and which is why they've amended it to zooOS. Shame I don't do PHP much, or PostgreSQL.

More important than the name is the idea of the Open Archaeology Software Suite itself, not to mention Oxford Archaeology's Open Archaeology project that sits behind it. I mean to look at these more carefully and to prod our Archaeological Applications Development Manager, Pete, to do the same. Cool idea.

Museum websites aren't down

Just thought I should mention, some time after the fact, that the sites aren't down any more. For a while they were up-n-down like a wh... no, like my eyelids during one of those structural geology lessons back in my undergrad days (mainly down, then), but now they appear to be reasonably stable, so I'll tempt fate by saying as much

That really was a crap week. Looking forward to moving on and catching up now.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Museum of London websites down

...and will be for a bit. Our just-appointed Head of ICT, Adam Monnery, is doing his bit. With any luck things will be running by the weekend but don't hold your breath.