Friday, 26 September 2008

Cataloguing backlog? Advice via podcast

The National Archives has released a podcast by Dr Jessica Gardner in relation to the National Cataloguing Grants Scheme. The podcast is 13 minutes long and looks at tackling a cataloguing backlog and strategy, promotion and funding from the Cataloguing Grants Scheme.

Wiki slide

I decided to include wikis as part of the presentation because they are very flexible and can be used internally or externally and also because of the great work the TNA has done with Your Archives.

Wikis allow archives to capture information about their collections without having to monitor, check and verify each entry as they rely on a principle of self-regulation and other users highlighting incorrect information to the site owner. (More on how wikis work.)

I like Your Archives a lot. I think it shows what you can achieve with a bit of imagination and an active user community. In the first 6 months of its live launch 1.6 million page views were recorded and 187,419 visits. However, community participation is the key here a wiki is only as good as its community and most pages take time to build up participation and contributions from users.

Other examples that I found when researching this were:

I particularly like the Cornish Archives Wiki which is more of a grass roots initiative and aims to create creating a "one-stop website covering all of Cornwall's archives, providing useful, accurate and up-to-date information."

Tuesday, 23 September 2008


I've broken the cardinal rule of blogging and not posted anything for a couple of weeks. All I can say in my defense is that I've been putting together a photo book as a gift and found that I can spend hours endlessly tweaking pictures and page formats.

I used blurb to create my book and it got me thinking that it would be a really good way to put together a book for an archive, perhaps as part of a small exhibition or to publish popular images. Blurb would work well for this kind of thing because they have a bookshop section on their website. This allows you to publish the books you create allowing others to buy copies of them. With books starting at £7 its a cheap way to publish very professional looking books of your digital images.

There is an example on their site of a book compiled of columns taken from a local paper by the Horseheads Historical Society called Bygone Days. This shows that the idea can be extended to any text that you have and own the copyright for and want to publish.

I'll be back to posting about the slides again soon.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Flickr slide

My flickr slide discussed how you can use flickr to share and collect digital images, allow people to comment on those images and link through to your official site.

The examples I mentioned were the National Library of New Zealand, the National Library of Scotland and the Great War Archive flickr group by Oxford University.

The National Library of New Zealand started a pilot in June 2007 to post a small selection of their collection images onto flickr. They have posted about the pilot on a blog run by staff at the NLNZ:

In this post they've shared information about their viewing statistics which show that they get an average of 28 views a day and have had nearly 57,000 this year.

The National Library of Scotland uses flickr to showcase its collections, giving a taster of three or four images and then linking back to their own website. According to the digital library blog they decided to use flickr and other Web 2.0 tools as "a little experiment to offer up our content to our customers where they are, rather than expect them to come to the Library or the Library’s website."

They have another interesting post on this blog which discusses the choosing of some images and uploading them to flickr.
The University of Oxford is using flickr to collect images as part of its Great War Archive project. This project aimed to collect digital images of memorabilia from the First World War.

These three examples and the other organisations using flickr all benefit from the large user community that exists on flickr (26 million members according to this report). This allows them to tap into this huge market and share their collections with a global audience.

Presentation follow ups

There was a lot of information about the four technologies that I couldn't talk about or fit on my slides last week. So I'm going to do a series of posts about the slides that will pull together some more information about them.

First up: the Flickr slide

Monday, 1 September 2008

Presentation slides

Finally managed to get my slides onto slideshare:

Alternative uses for web 2.0

Although I've mostly focused on using web 2.0 technologies for awareness raising and outreach purposes, it can be used in other ways. At the conference on Thursday a couple of people mentioned how they were using web 2.0 for internal purposes in their own working practices.

Suggestions were varied and included:

  • Podcasts as a way to disseminate management talks to staff dispersed over a large area or in different countries.
  • Wikis as a way to develop new policies or procedure manuals. This works well for manuals that may be updated frequently and removes the need to publish entirely new versions of a manual.
  • Blogs could be used within teams to share news about progress on particular projects and update colleagues on what different parts of the team have been doing.
Using web 2.0 in this way can work very well for your organisation and it can also help to show its effectiveness and get management on board if you want to use it for external awareness raising purposes.

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