Cultural Heritage

A UKOLN Blog for the Cultural Heritage sector (now archived)

Archive for the 'Blogs' Category

UKOLN’s Cultural Heritage Blog

Posted by Brian Kelly on 14th March 2011

UKOLN’s Cultural Heritage blog was launched on 1st January 2009 to support UKOLN’s work for the cultural heritage sector in the area of innovation and the networked environment. It was intended to “inform our readers of developments in this area, speculate on the implications of a rapidly changing environment and encourage discussion on emerging best practices”.

The blog has been running for 27 months now, so how have we done? Well, in that time we have published 186 posts. Some of these have been brief news items, some were more reflective pieces and others described how the sector is using all things digital. Initially most of the posts were written by my colleagues, Brian Kelly and Marieke Guy, and myself.

In addition to those, we started fairly early on having occasional guest posts from people working in the sector. Our first guest post The Black Art of Blogging was by Catriona Cardie, who was inspired by one of Brian Kelly’s workshops on blogging. This was followed by posts such as When Peregrines Come to Town, Dull Library Web Sites and What’s my Email Address Anyway, Miss: Communicating with the Facebook Generation.

Then from April 2010 we changed the focus of the blog to concentrate on guest posts to reflect what people were already doing. Mostly we looked for people in the cultural heritage sector, though we’ve also had guest posts from a school librarian, three academic librarians, a library and information sciences lecturer and a journalist specialising in the library sector.

And what a fascinating set of posts these have been. The guest posts have been interesting and inspiring – a total of 42 guest posts in all. These ranged from My Life as an Object (a Renaissance East Midlands project) to Using a Blog as a Research Diary (by a PhD student), The National Library of Wales and Flickr Commons and Archives 2.0.

There have been lots of interesting ideas with the potential to be re-used elsewhere. So many thanks to all our contributors, you’ve been great.

Posted in Blogs | Comments Off

The Story of a Blog – Dulwich OnView

Posted by guestblogger on 24th January 2011

About this Guest Post

Ingrid Beazley is the strategic advisor to the Community Outreach Department and the E-learning project developer in the Education Department of Dulwich Picture Gallery. She can be contacted at

The Story of a blog – Dulwich OnView

Dulwich Picture Gallery (DPG) is a small, purpose built art museum on the outskirts of London with a fabulous Baroque permanent collection. It’s England’s first public art gallery, founded 200 years ago exactly and is pretty well known. As might be expected the majority of regular visitors are middle aged/old, white, middle class and local. DPG has a large Friends organisation similarly made up. 3 years ago I was chair of the Friends. I also fit neatly into the description of the regular visitor.

Yes, I had made efforts to attract a different demographic to DPG. Through the Friends I had arranged events to attract younger people and families, but basically, as my children explained to me, no person in their 20s and 30s would have any interest in visiting this ‘old fashioned gallery with its stuffy pictures’.

Then I met a dynamic young woman, Yang May Ooi, at a local party who suggested using social media to reach younger people and explode this myth. I agreed and Dulwich OnView was born.

Dulwich OnView is not a museum blog like the ones you might find on museum websites, written by the museum staff. Dulwich OnView is an independent blog run by members of the local community on a voluntary basis. It has a large number of guest contributors who write about/take pictures of/make short films, podcasts about the local community as well as DPG.  About 2/3 of the posts are NOT about DPG.

So Dulwich OnView is of interest to people who wish to read about local history/events/people/pubs/parks/festivals etc. They might Google ‘Dulwich walks’ and up would come Dulwich OnView’s numerous articles on these. Then they would notice all the references to DPG and be lured to read those posts and follow the wealth of links to the DPG website. We have stats to prove that this happens.

image of promotional material

Dulwich OnView minicard

Community interaction

For Dulwich Picture Gallery, Dulwich OnView complements its official website as, like all blogs, it is informal and interactive. Many of the DPG staff write for it, from the director, the marketing, education and curatorial staff, to the warders and interns. The Friends have the opportunity to put up lots of background information about the events that they run which is not appropriate for the main DPG website, and there are many local people who submit reviews of the special exhibitions or just descriptions of their favourite paintings. DPG links to many of these articles from their website. It is an opportunity for DPG to have conversations with the local community via the Dulwich OnView comment boxes.

In the same way as you are more likely to be persuaded to go to an exhibition by your friend in a conversation at the pub, than you might be by reading the marketing blurb on an official website written by a person paid to write it, so posts recommending DPG written by locals are more convincing than reading the official information on its website.

Being a section of a local community website enables DPG to be seen as part of the local community itself, and to show its human face.

Younger people tend to read blogs, and in the case of Dulwich OnView, to accept the invitation to contribute to it. Our youngest blogger is in primary school and we have teens and university students contributing too. We also have authors in their 80’s as increasingly, older people go online not only for information but interactively too. And they tell their friends about their article – perfect viral marketing.

Blog stats.

Dulwich OnView is just 3 years old and now gets about 20,000 hits a month. The referrers come from local organisations/businesses/charities that we have featured and who link to the article from their websites, from forums where we are mentioned and from the DPG website itself. We can tell from the search engine terms that people are not looking for DPG (e.g. ‘east Dulwich cinema’, ‘Ann Shelton’, ‘South London Youth Orchestra’) but that about 2/3rds of onward clicks are to pages on the DPG website.

National and International Recognition

I have talked at numerous national and international conferences from Montreal, Denver Colorado, Iceland (Nodem), Glasgow (Museums Association) and our own London (EVA and many others), and Dulwich OnView won the prestigious ‘Museums and the Web’ award in Denver last year for the ‘best small museum site’.

How is Dulwich OnView organised?

At its inception, the younger members of the committee of the Friends of DPG (and some others not on the committee) were excited about the idea and we formed a team of joint editors. We would take in turns to be editor on duty – to be responsible for having 6 new posts every week, for responding to all emails, for encouraging contributions, for moderating and answering comments etc. I then finished my term as chair and over the next year the committee members involved with Dulwich OnView left, to be replaced by people not interested in online social networking. (We had also set up a Flickr group, a Facebook page and Twitter).

Image of editorial team

Editorial team get together

Also at its inception, DPG was very nervous about Dulwich OnView. It had no control over the articles, could impose no regulations. Three years ago it was unusual for organisations to have blogs. It took a while to persuade them to mention DOV in the Friends area of their website and to link to us. They had to take us on trust. And in the end they did. All credit to them, and all credit to us for creating a successful website.


Recently the burden of running Dulwich OnView has been on just a couple of people, making the task of maintaining the volume and quality of the articles extremely onerous. I had continued my involvement after leaving the committee, but at the end of last year I had an opportunity to change direction which I wanted to take. It was crisis time. How much did DPG value Dulwich OnView? Would they allow it to die?

No; over the years DPG had come to realise the importance of Dulwich OnView as a modern marketing tool, in particular for younger people, and were prepared to employ 3 part time people to run it. They have agreed that it maintains its independence, which, after all, it its USP, and does not become just another institutional blog.

The DPG route from original shock-horror to creating a mini community outreach department to run Dulwich OnView has been rutted and long. It is with immense pride that myself, Yang May and all the original founders of Dulwich OnView deliver this unique and popular website into the hands of Dulwich Picture Gallery with the full blessing of its Director and Trustees.

Posted in Blogs, Guest-blog, Social Web | 1 Comment »


Posted by Brian Kelly on 17th January 2011

About this Guest Post

Stuart Macdonald is the AddressingHistory Project Manager and is based at EDINA & Data Library, University of Edinburgh. He can be contacted at:

AddressingHistory: a Web2.0 community engagement tool and API


The AddressingHistory project was funded as part of the Developing Community Content strand of the JISC Digitisation and e-Content Programme and ran from April 2010 until September 2010. Led by EDINA in partnership with the National Library of Scotland (NLS), the aim of the project was to create an online engagement tool built using open standards. Such a tool would enable members of the community, both within and outwith academia (particularly local history groups and genealogists), to enhance and combine data from digitised historical Scottish Post Office Directories (PODs) with contemporaneous large-scale historical maps.

Image of map and print directory

Map and Street Directory

Image courtesy of Addressing History – available under a CCAttribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic through Flickr –

Post Office Directories, precursors to modern day Yellow Pages, offer a fine-grained spatial and temporal view on important social, economic and demographic circumstances. They emerged during the late seventeenth century to meet the demand for accurate information about trade and industry due to the expansion of commerce during this period. They were published more frequently than the census and generally had information about local facilities, institutions and associations, listings for private residents, traders, trades and professions, sometimes details of important people, and advertisements.

For Scotland there are at least 750 Post Office Directories spanning the period 1770 – 1912. The NLS are in the process of scanning using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) techniques and publishing this historic collection in conjunction with the non-profit Internet Archive.

During the 6 month project period the AddressingHistory ‘crowdsourcing’ tool focussed on three volumes (1784-5; 1865; 1905-6) of the Edinburgh digitised PODs and mapping from the same periods. However the specifications were such as to accommodate the full Scottish collection as and when they become available.

One significant deficiency of this collection, which the AddressingHistory online tool aimed to redress by ‘crowd sourcing’, was that the addresses were not geo-referenced. It was the pre-existence of large scale geo-referenced and contemporaneous maps (as supplied by the National Library of Scotland) against which the historic post office directories were contextualised that thus allowed manual (geo)referencing down to individual house address level to be accomplished. This is achieved by simply moving a pin on the map i.e. the map is the mechanism through which the geo-reference is allocated by the user to a particular POD entry.

To assist the geo-referencing exercise addresses from each of the directories were parsed using Google’s geocoding software in order to assign a geo-reference.

Technical Development

The AddressingHistory tool and Application Programming Interface (API) comprises several software components, each built with resilience and sustainability in mind. Open Source software was chosen in several instances, allowing for great flexibility and a feature-rich application, whilst containing costs.

Development initially began by scoping the application’s requirements, designing a database structure to store the information contained in the Post Office Directories in conjunction with pre-processing and data-loading software.

An API is available, allowing access to the raw data via multiple output formats. It is accessible via a RESTful web service.

The client application was built upon the API, featuring web based mapping. To the OpenLayers mapping, we added a collection of historical maps from NLS, contemporary to the three Post Office Directories of interest. A user registration, facilities to edit the stored data and suggest specific changes were added towards the end of the development, together with various enhancements – including a view to the original scanned directory pages.

User Generated Content

The AddressingHistory project raised a number of issues regarding user generated content (UGC) created by the community such as mediation, validation and cross-checking of UGC.

At present the AddressingHistory team retain the option to check UGC and will do so on a periodic basis. It has also installed a logging facility in order to identify inappropriate behaviour (e.g. spam) or inaccurate UGC.

Social Media

Screenshot of project blog

AddressingHistory blog

A key element in determining the success of the project was the establishment of a mechanism whereby the ‘crowd’ could contribute to the creation of a fully geo-coded version of the digitised directories. In part an avenue through which such community engagement could be realised was via communication with Edinburgh Beltane – a national co-ordinating centre for public engagement and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Knowledge Transfer Office. Social media channels were also deployed to engage the public, to develop links within the community, and to act as a vehicle to expose the tool and API to a wider audience.

At the outset of the project a WordPress blog (, was deployed as the key space for communicating and engaging with interested members of our target audiences.

Twitter was an unexpectedly useful space for the project with over 160 Tweets posted under the @addresshistory account with many messages receiving ReTweets and a Facebook page was also created for AddressingHistory for sharing short updates, useful links and to encourage viral sharing and recommendation.

As a longer term strategy we intend to maintain where practicable blog activity, Facebook and Twitter presences. A mailing list has been set up to ensure we can remain in contact with those interested in AddressingHistory developments and a Google group has been established aimed at users interested in using the AddressingHistory API for their own websites, projects, or mashups.


AddressingHistory was an ambitious project which combined a range of technologies from data processing and database design, to Web 2.0 and web mapping services. Much was achieved within the relatively short project in terms of public engagement and amplification through social media facilities and channels, and the delivery of a robust and scalable website and API capable of empowering the ‘crowd’ with the facility to search and edit geo-referenced content from the Scottish Post Office Directories and digitised historic maps from the same era.

With more funding, the AddressingHistory website would benefit from more engineering work on the data pre-processing and loading – perhaps making more use of the different sections of the directories together with advertisements etc.
AddressingHistory would also profit from the addition of further content (for other areas of Scotland) to potentially broaden the user community.

Gauging the success of the project however goes beyond the delivery of engaging and innovative online tools. It will be ultimately be measured by continual and extended use within the wider community.

To access the AddressingHistory online tool and API please point your browsers at:

Posted in Blogs, Libraries, Twitter, Web 2.0 | 2 Comments »

Places still available on Social Web workshops

Posted by Brian Kelly on 4th January 2011

In Spring 2011 UKOLN will be running further workshops for the cultural heritage sector on using the Social Web. Attendance is free. Booking is now open, see links below.

The Social Web: Opportunities in Difficult Times
Ann Chapman will facilitate a 1-day workshop The Social Web: Opportunities in Difficult Times to be held at Discovery Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne on 26th January 2011.

The Social Web: Opportunities in Difficult Times
Ann Chapman will facilitate a 1-day workshop The Social Web: Opportunities in Difficult Times to be held at University of Manchester, Manchester on 3th February 2011.

The Social Web: Opportunities in Difficult Times
Ann Chapman will facilitate a 1-day workshop The Social Web: Opportunities in Difficult Times to be held at Museum Studies Building, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, Leicester on 22nd February 2011.

Posted in archives, Blogs, Libraries, Museums, Twitter, Web 2.0 | Comments Off

Blogging, why bother?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 21st December 2010

About this Guest Post

Claire Welsby is the Senior Producer (Digital Media) at Kew Botanic Gardens. You can follow her on twitter [] and contact her at

Blogging, why bother?

Following a couple of recent posts that I’ve written for Kew’s Digital Adventures blog (run by the Digital Media Team), Ann Chapman from UKOLN got in touch to ask if I’d share a little bit more about why we set this blog and what we (the team) get out of it.

Why we set up Digital Adventures

We originally set up the Digital Adventures blog to document the re-launch of Kew’s website and create a space for the Digital Team to write about things that interest them and share information and knowledge with each other and the broader sector.

To date member’s of the team have written behind the scenes posts about trips to the Herbarium and the Queens visit as well as more digital focussed posts that reflect on knowledge sharing events that we’ve attended, such as Top hints and tips for making great audio slide shows for the web (our most popular post to date) and Why open data projects are here to stay.

screenshot of Kew Gardens blog post

Most popular post to date on Kew Gardens blogs

6 reasons to start a team blog

There are many reasons why people get into, and enjoy blogging. The most important thing to remember is the delicate balance at play in terms of blogger motivation. From personal incentive on the one side (what am I getting out of it) and knowledge sharing on the other (what am I giving back). In the context of my work at Kew, here are some of the reasons that I share when talking to people who express an interest in blogging.

Blogging is great because you can:

  • Build interest in your work and inspire others
  • Take part in conversations that are happening online around your area of interest and establish a profile within these communities
  • Invite comments and feedback from readers to increase your awareness of their interests and views
  • Be generous and share knowledge about the things you know so others in your industry can learn and benefit too
  • Provide your peers and interested audiences with unique access to your work, regular updates and exclusive behind-the-scenes insights
  • Use writing as a way of thinking things through and working things out.

Encouraging others to get involved

screenshot of Kew Gardens blog listing

Kew Gardens now has 11 blogs

Over the last year, as well as setting up our own blog, we’ve also developed a growing network of bloggers who represent different areas of Kew’s work. One year on, Kew is now the proud host of 11 blogs spanning the Library Art & Archive, the Tropical Nursery, the Herbarium, the Alpine & Rock Garden and the Economic Botany collection.

If you’re considering starting up a blog network in your organisation, as well as being supportive and encouraging, the three pieces of advice that I can give you when you’re starting out are:

  • Have a strategy, but start small. Be content to grow your blog network over time.
  • Focus your energies on supporting and encouraging colleagues that ‘come to you’ with a proactive interest in blogging – other people and departments will follow in time.
  • Develop shared and agreed guidelines for blogging and dealing with comments as soon as you are able. This helps your colleagues feel more confident in managing their blogs proactively and coming to you for support.

What’s next for blogging at Kew?

There are two (and a half) things that I’m interested in developing in the context of blogs at Kew in 2011. The first of these is growing our blog network to cover even more areas of Kew’s work. The second is improving Kew’s profile online and becoming part of the wider blog network.

In terms of the first point, this is really about extending our reach internally and continuing on with what we’re already doing. I’m happy to say that since we launched Kew blogs, colleagues from around the organisation regularly get in touch with us to open up dialogue about blogging at Kew.

The second aim is much more of a challenge, but one that I’m incredibly excited about.  To raise Kew’s profile across the blogosphere and become part of a wider blog network we need to start extending our reach outside the walls of too – in a more strategic and proactive way. This includes promoting our blogs on other platforms (such as blog aggregation and partner websites) and encouraging bloggers ‘out there’ who write about areas of shared interest (such as gardening, plant science, botanic art, nature photography, biodiversity and conservation) to get to know Kew better and write about our work.

screenshot of Kew Gardens alpine and rock garden blog

Kew's Alpine and Rock Garden blog

And if you’re wondering what ‘the half’ refers to

One of my own little aims for 2011 is to further encourage the Digital Team at Kew to get more consistent in our posting. We really do have interesting stories to tell and useful things to share and it would be great to get to a place where we can genuinely say that we’re leading by example…

Here’s to next year!

Posted in Blogs, Museums, Twitter, Web 2.0 | 2 Comments »

Museums Web 2.0 Round-up

Posted by Brian Kelly on 29th November 2010

There’s a lot of enthusiasm about using Web 2.0 but if you’re new to it, you might want to see what other people are doing. So here are a few things I’ve come across in recent months – ‘in no particular order’ as they say.

Firstly, I often find interesting posts on the Museums Computer Group email list. It’s worth signing up to this list to see what others are doing and to exchange experiences. The first three items below were spotted on this list.

Jerry Weber posted that Northampton Museum and Art Gallery had just set up their new Flickr site because their council website does not yet meet their needs; they will be using Flickr as an alternative. And they went for community collaboration as most of the input has been from volunteers and school work experience pupils.

Linda Ellis wrote about a group of 5 Black Country museum services that now have a blog, Flickr and twitter accounts. They decided not to have a Facebook account initially but think they might have collection-focused Facebook fan pages in the future ‘along the lines of ‘I’m a fossil fan’, ‘I like leather’(!!) or ‘Samauri Swords’ ‘.

Then there was Colin Hynson’s post about the Flickr group UK Museums he created to show good examples of museum displays throughout the country so that other museum professionals to see what others are doing when they are thinking about new displays of their own. This now has 106 images.

I also have a look at various museum web sites now and again and found these ideas.

The V&A Museum now has a range of blogs, from curators, artists in residence an tutors from the Royal College of art. Usefully they also list finished blogs as well as current ones. And I’ve always liked their Things to Do section – the Design a ‘something’ series is fun, you can design anything from a coat of arms to a tartan, a room, a tile or a ring.

The Fashion Museum in Bath has an exhibition of dresses worn by Diana, Princess of Wales running from July 2010 to January 2011. They are encouraging visitor input in several ways. “Included in the exhibition space, is a memory wall where visitors can leave their own memories of Diana. These will be updated on the website here, but you can also upload your own comments on our Facebook discussion page and also on Twitter.

The Sydney Powerhouse museum has several volumes of swatchbooks containing thousands of bright, unfaded samples of fashionable fabric designs, braids and laces ranging from the 1830s to the 1990s. They have now digitised a selection of these to form an electronic swatchbook. You can search the swatchbook by colour using a colour grid or by year (currently five years are available).

On the National Museums Liverpool blog I found a post about their X-Ray Your Toy event (30 July and 25 August 2010), which they are holding to show how they use science to examine their collections. They’ve put up a selection of toys they’ve already x-rayed on Flickr and plan to add more from the events. The blog is part of their Big Art for Little Artists section of the web site.

Posted in Blogs, Museums, Web 2.0 | 2 Comments »

New Technologies Blog

Posted by Brian Kelly on 24th November 2010

About this Guest Post

Lisa Anderson is a Subject Advisor (Law, Archaeology and Antiquity) in the Library Services at the University of Birmingham. She can be contacted at

New Technologies Blog

At the University of Birmingham the library has a New Technologies Group (NewT), and over the years we have looked at and shared information amongst ourselves about new technology applications and tried to work out if we can use them for teaching, research or to create work efficiencies. The group consists of subject librarians, library services managers, a member of IT Services staff and a member of the University’s eLearning team.

We work with other members of Library Services on projects that involve new technologies for example I recently worked on a project with another member of library staff which investigated how portable devices worked with our resources and how our students currently used them. Two NewT members are working with a staff member from Library Customer Support on how we could use QR codes and we are also investigating how we can make our services more mobile friendly. When a subject librarian said that she still didn’t feel certain about how to use all of these new Web 2.0 tools we worked with her and put together a short course that any member of our library staff could attend.

I would recommend all libraries to set up their own NewT groups. There is so much happening and at such speed that it is difficult for one lone individual to be able to keep up with all of these developments. In NewT we all have different skills and interests and this helps us to remain on top of things. Most of us are not technical types, and having a group of people helps us to help each other to work out how these new technologies work, and gives us someone to test them on. We can’t shy away from these new technologies just because we don’t understand them to begin with as libraries and technologies are now interlinked. We need to have room to experiment and to gain ideas from how other people use them.

We have decided that some of our information may be of interest to a wider audience and so have created a New Technologies blog which you can find at: . We are aiming to add at least one or two new items to the blog each week. If you are like me and prefer to follow tweets to blogs, then I will be tweeting about each new blog entry via my @Subjectadvisor twitter account.

Posted in Blogs | 1 Comment »

Riverside Museum Blog

Posted by guestblogger on 1st November 2010

About this Guest Post

Colin Campbell is editor at the Riverside Museum Project, a £74 million development creating a new transport museum by the River Clyde in Glasgow, due to open spring 2011. He can be contacted at

Riverside Museum Blog

More than 10,000 people came to bid farewell to Glasgow’s Museum of Transport when it closed its doors for the very last time on Sunday 18th April 2010. While newspapers and magazines paid homage and TV stations ran nostalgic bulletins, people like you and me posted personal tributes on blogs, forums, in Facebook, Twitter and so on.

At the same time, the Riverside Museum Appeal – charged with raising £5million for the new transport museum – launched its public appeal, aided by figures including Robbie Coltrane and Carol Smillie.

Why Blog?

With the huge volume of interest, it was clear that this was the right time to create a blog about the Riverside Museum Project. Its aim was not just to inform interested members of the public; we also wanted a way to update our colleagues in Glasgow Museums and our parent organisation Glasgow Life as well as employees of Glasgow City Council and other partners.

Early posts focused on the work behind the scenes at the Museum of Transport. Photographs revealed subway cars under sheets of polythene, the hugely popular re-created 1930s street being demolished, objects such as the Royal Mail horse-drawn carriage being taken away. Project photographer Iona Shepherd’s excellent photography is a major feature of the site.

Image of subway cars

Subway cars (Photograph by Iona Shepherd, Copyright Glasgow City Council)

While the story of the removal of the museum’s objects made (and continues to make) some excellent news articles and photos, we also wanted posts from a curatorial and conservation point of view. Joining Iona were curator John Messner, conservator Rebecca Jackson and decant technician Lisa Brown. Rebecca’s before-and-after posts look at the conservation of objects ranging from shoes to ship models. John, meanwhile, has revealed the stories behind the objects. Their posts are complemented by Lisa who blogs about their removal. You’ll also find updates about the building’s construction, as well as posts from other departments, such as admin, whose massive archiving project was the focus of a recent blog.

image of locomotive

Locomotive (Photograph by Iona Shepherd, Copyright Glasgow City Council)

Aims, Strategy and Design

As well as guidelines for publishing to WordPress we also created a strategy outlining our aims and hopes for the blog. We considered word length, tone, image size, resources, what content to share and what to hold back. Yes, we wanted to share the project’s behind-the-scenes news, but not at the expense of the Riverside Museum Appeal. In fact, rather than diverting attention from the appeal, the blog has supported it. Thanks to WordPress’s cross-publicising feature, each new blog post automatically creates a status update for the RMA’s Facebook and Twitter streams, bringing in readers from the appeal’s fanbase while at the same time adding to the richness of their own feeds. Though it’s impossible to accurately quantify the numbers – and the financial benefit – the appeal has seen the number of its Facebook and Twitter followers increase since we launched the blog.

How successful has it been?

It’s still early days, and there are teething problems. Issues with access and internet speed continue to dog us. Time is often in short supply, particularly as the demands of the project intensify in the run-up to opening. But we manage. There is plenty of excellent content, and most weeks we manage to publish between three and five posts, including the regular Picture of the Week.

Riverside Museum attracts a lot of comment online. Much of it is positive, but not all. Opinions range from excitement about the Zaha Hadid-designed building (her first major construction to be completed in the UK) to criticism of the decision to relocate Glasgow’s transport collection from Kelvin Hall. And as Riverside Museum moves towards its opening in spring 2011, the comments, status updates and posts will only increase. Thanks to our blog, the Riverside team now has a strong voice that can take part in the online dialogue.

Aerial view

Aerial view (Copyright BAM/Hawkeye)

Posted in Blogs, Guest-blog, Museums, Web 2.0 | 1 Comment »

Connecting for the Future

Posted by guestblogger on 18th October 2010

About this Guest Post

Andrew Dawson is Project Assistant for the Connecting for the Future project based at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery where he is responsible for helping with the general running of the CftF project, but particularly with the collection and storing of participating museums’ data, the running of The Potteries Museum’s e-newsletter and the maintenance of the project’s microsites & associated Twitter, Flickr, etc. presences. He can be contacted at

Connecting for the Future

Context is Everything

Describing the various facets of the Connecting for the Future project – of which I am part of – seemed like the easiest way to give you an overview of when, where and how we’re planning (and beginning!) to use social networking and Web 2.0. Please forgive the heavy use of the future tense in parts, but much of the project is still in the concept/building/testing stage – I’m sure that the follow-up post in early 2011, when much of the project will be complete, will flesh out these concepts with the trials and tribulations of bringing Connecting for the Future to completion in March 2011.

The Very Near Future

One of the project’s main goals – and one of two key deliverables – is to create a hub website for all of Staffordshire’s museums and heritage sites. Where this will differ from normal tourist-centric websites such as Visit England or Culture24 is that the Connecting for the Future concept – “My Museum” – plans to add a social networking element to this information which will allow users to personalise their museums and heritage site experience.

Using Buddypress – a social networking platform which began life as a spin off from WordPress – to power the site, we hope to build a place where people create an account and tag (or “Like” if we use a Facebook analogy!) the museums they’re interested in. This will then augment their view of the rest of the site: for example, an Events panels will display events happening at museums they’ve tagged (with further user-defined filtering for different types of event) or an Object of the Day panel will show an object pulled from the collections data of one of their tagged museums. We’re also looking at ways to implement real life tagging by using individually QR-coded tags that people can hang up at a museum or heritage site to proclaim “This is My Museum!”.

The second key deliverable – and the one that will power parts of the My Museums concept such as the Object of the Day – is the creation of a repository of collections data from all the museums taking part in the CftF project. As well as being fully searchable we were also keen that this data be completely open and so anyone can use the API (Application Programming Interface) to create applications, widgets, mashups or even just play around with Yahoo Pipes to create new ways of viewing or interacting with the data (Digital New Zealand is a great example of how data is being used in this way).


A quick test of the API using Yahoo Pipes

The Present

The events, exhibitions and objects held at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery have proved to be an invaluable resource for the Connecting for the Future project as they have given us the opportunity to experiment with ideas and services which we think other museums and heritage sites may benefit from using.

We’ve already launched, a microsite dedicated to the museum’s Spitfire, and are completing another site to run alongside the City’s Centenary celebrations and an associated temporary exhibition. Both microsites were designed to have only a small amount of static content, instead being given life by memories, photos, audio and video contributed by the public (which I’ll talk about in detail within the context of SpitfireRW388 in a future post). The repository of collections data mentioned earlier is also searchable from each of these websites, and searches can be locked to particular organisations, subjects or any other field or keyword from the data.

Screenshot of draft web site

The under-construction Portrait of the Potteries Microsite

In a similar way to, both of these microsites are run from a single WordPress Multi-Site (originally WordPress MU before it was subsumed into WordPress 3.0) install, giving us the ability to create new microsites or blogs for museum events and exhibitions incredibly easily and quickly. This very flexible and extensible system means that we can offer those partner museums and heritage sites without a web presence an opportunity to create their own blog, microsite or even fully fledged website, or offer a blogging platform to those who already have an established web presence.

Since January 2010 we’ve been using MailChimp as an e-marketing tool to supplement the print advertising and quarterly “What’s On” leaflets produced by The Potteries Museum. Although there are many companies offering e-marketing services we decided to use MailChimp as it’s less corporate feel and user-friendly interface was something that we felt museums & heritage sites just getting to grips with this technology would appreciate (and the chimps of course – everyone loves chimps!).

Screenshot of mailchimp dashboard

The MailChimp dashboard

MailChimp’s “Forever Free” plan is also a great choice for these institutions, as it’s unlikely that they’ll ever reach the 1000 subscriber/6000 emails per month limit, and MailChimp even offers an easily authenticated not-for-profit discount of 15% once that limit is reached. For paying customers their “Social Pro” add-on is also invaluable (and free until March 2011), giving you information about which of your subscribers is on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Flickr, as well as how “influential” each subscriber is on these networks. Any of these pieces of information can be used as a segment, meaning you can email just those subscribers who are on Flickr to tell them about your new photo competition, or just those on Twitter (that don’t follow you – a segment within a segment!) to let them know that you have a Twitter account and what sorts of things you discuss on it.

For the next post in this series I’ll be using our new microsite,, to show you more specific examples of where and how we’re using social networking and Web 2.0 to try and engage with the public and open up new sources of information surrounding the City’s Spitfire.

Posted in Blogs, Guest-blog, Museums, Twitter, Web 2.0 | 2 Comments »

The Benefits of Using Web 2.0 Tools in Your Archive

Posted by guestblogger on 23rd August 2010

About this guest post

Kiara King is the Archivist for the Ballast Trust, a charitable foundation that provides a rescue, sorting and cataloguing service for business archives with an emphasis on technical records such as plans, drawings and photographs. She can be contacted at:

The benefits of using Web 2.0 tools in your archive

In my last guest post I talked about some of the ways you can use web 2.0 tools to share your collections, communicate differently and find a wider audience for the resources you have developed. In this post I’m going to expand on the potential benefits gained by using web 2.0 tools to do this and my own experience of using web 2.0 tools at work.


Engaging with web 2.0 offers many benefits but the main one is that it gives you multiple ways to get the message about your archive and collections out to lots and lots of people. Considering that 70% of UK households have the Internet (Office for National Statistics), there is the potential to reach a much wider audience by using these tools and maximising your online presence. Some of the benefits this approach can result in are:
• Increased awareness of collections among existing and new users
• Diversification of users
• New opportunities for collaborative working
• The ability to capture additional information about collections
• Varied access points to your collections
These all sound like good things but what do they really mean for an archive?

Share your collections – open them up using flickr, wikis, youtube

Putting content from your collections on other websites allows you to push that content to users through sites that they are already using. You can also take a “shop window” approach and showcase a limited number of items through these avenues and then direct people back to your main site if you prefer.

Sharing content will increase awareness and help reach different users but it can also give back by providing new information and content for your collections. The Great War Archive project used flickr as one way to gather digitised items from the public. Although the project is now finished, the flickr group continues to receive contributions and now has 2,423 images from nearly 300 members.

screenshot Great War flickr group

Screenshot of Great War flickr group page

Web 2.0 tools can also enable an archive to allow additions to existing content to be made with ease. Images in flickr can be tagged with user subject terms, youtube videos can receive comments and a wiki version of your catalogue can be edited and added to while preserving the original. By allowing the user to participate in the descriptive process, archivists can obtain detailed and informed descriptions of their collections that they themselves would not have the knowledge or time to produce. The National Archives have developed a wiki version of their catalogue called Your Archives which allows users to contribute their knowledge of archival sources to the site by adding to the catalogue and research guides or submitting transcriptions of documents.

The benefits of sharing collections via other websites are:
• Various online profiles for your archive – allowing you to tailor content for different audiences.
• Multiple ways to access your content – lets you bring content to the user.
• Increased awareness of the collections – raises the profile of collections.
• Capture of user knowledge – allows you to improve and enhance your finding aids.
• Engaged users – can provide mew content for collections and further information about them with ease

Communicate differently – by blogging

Blogging and/or tweeting provides a regular, informal way to communicate news and information about your archive service, its collections and events. The popularity of smartphones with 11 million users in the UK (comScore study means that more people are accessing web content on the move which gives this form of communication even greater impact and immediacy than traditional ‘news’ pages.

image of blog software and twitter logos

Blog software and twitter logos

The benefits of using these methods of communication are that they allow for engagement with what you do by allowing people to comment and reply to information you post, this can generate conversations between the archive and its users.

Different communication channels give you:
• Regular contact with a different audience – you can reach different people with an immediacy that traditional news sections on a website don’t have.
• Improved understanding about ‘what you do’ – by blogging about the day to day aspects of being an archivist.
• The ability to react quickly to current media topics and connect with them – make your content relevant by picking up on news items and anniversaries.
• Engagement by providing users with a way to give you feedback – people can comment on blog posts, reply to or retweet your tweets.

Share your resources – reach a global audience with podcasts

Giving talks to family and/or local history groups, schools or within your organisation about the archive and its collections is a great way to promote your archive and raise awareness of the collections. If you have taken the time to prepare a talk or presentation, wouldn’t it be great to reach as wide an audience as possible? By recording your talks and making them available online you can. This also allows you to build a resource up of past talks that users can access when they wish.

image of podcast logo

Podcast logo

The National Archives has a very successful and varied podcast series with over 150 episodes. According to podcast alley the TNA series is in the top 10% of podcasts downloaded out of over 85,000 other podcasts and on iTunes, 11 of the 20 bestselling government podcasts are TNA ones.

The benefits of a podcasting are:
• Potential global audience – 19% of the 222 million Americans who use the Internet have downloaded a podcast (Pew Internet Research Centre)
• Better informed users – recorded talks can also be used by visitors before they come to your archive to provide audio guides about certain collections and give basic information about how to use an archive and its resources.
• Flexible access to your resources – users can choose when to listen to your talk.
• Improved listening figures – in a three month period during 2007 TNA podcasts were downloaded 8,000 times.

My experience at the Ballast Trust

I’m the archivist for a small charity called the Ballast Trust which provides a rescue, sorting and cataloguing service for business archives with an emphasis on technical records such as shipbuilding, railway and engineering plans, drawings and photographs. It has been working for over twenty years to help archives understand their technical records and make their collections available for the public.

When I started, the Trust didn’t have a web presence so I created a website and also a blog to provide information about us and our activities. In time we have also joined flickr to allow us to share the small photographic collections that we have with a wider audience.

screenshot Ballast Trust blog

Screenshot of Ballast Trust blog

My experience with these three sites, created at no financial expense using blogger and flickr ( has been a very positive one. Together all three have helped to give the Ballast Trust a higher public profile, create new connections and share what we do with a global audience. The blog consistently gets higher statistics compared to the website, in the first year the website received 554 visits from 20 countries compared to 1,212 visits to the blog from 64 countries. Since we started a year ago; our flickr pages have had nearly 3,000 views, we’ve received comments and information about some pictures and an enquiry about volunteering with us.

For a small organisation this has been a great way to extend our network and put ourselves and what we do out there. It has required only basic technical knowledge and an small investment of my time but nothing else and given us great results to build on.

Examples and experiences from other organisations

Don’t just take my word for it! There are plenty of other archives out there using web 2.0 and seeing the benefits. There is an excellent selection of case studies available on the Interactive Archivist website covering a wide selection of web 2.0 tools, including some of the following:
• Using a blog to market your archive at Northwestern University Archives
• Using podcasts to increase access at the Kansas Historical Society

Lots of archives have a presence on flickr, there are 198 organisations in the ArchivesOnFlickr group and these two reports from early adopters about their flickr pilots are a great resource for more information:
For the Common Good, is the 2008 report on the Library of Congress’ Flickr Pilot Project.
Lessons from the National Library of New Zealand’s Flickr pilot

Posted in archives, Blogs, Guest-blog, Web 2.0 | 1 Comment »

Using a Blog as a Research Diary

Posted by guestblogger on 16th August 2010

About this Guest post

Marianne Bamkin is a PhD research student at Loughborough University. As a very mature student she has previously worked in shops, been an Early Years practitioner, a teacher and a children’s mobile library assistant. Marianne qualified as a librarian in 2008 and her passion for reading and interest in teaching literacy has led her to investigate the influence of children’s mobile libraries on children’s reading.

Marianne can be contacted at m.r. or visit her university profile or follow her on Twitter.

Using a Blog as a Research Diary

image of diary

Traditional 5 year diary

I have always been a diarist, ever since I was bought one of these five year diaries with a tooled fake leather cover and a lock on the front. I must have been about 8 or 9 years old. I therefore instinctively used an online web log to write about me, my family and my thoughts of what was happening in society. Therefore, it was a natural progression to use the internet as a space for recording events, thoughts and feelings as a researcher when I embarked on the journey of taking a PhD. The aim of my research is to discover if children’s mobile libraries in Britain help children’s literacy and give them a love of books. A children’s mobile library can be described as a vehicle that provides all the services of a children’s library.

The blog “Children’s Mobile Libraries; the story of my research” was started for several reasons. I wanted to record anything I found out about children’s mobile libraries in the course of my investigations and comment on the findings. I needed a space to write notes taken from any literature I found about children’s mobile libraries and I wanted to publicise the fact that I was doing the research to attract attention from anyone researching the same area and anyone who was working on or had worked on a children’s mobile library. I describe the blog in my first post as a “Scrapbook from which I can assemble a thesis”.

It has become more of a scrapbook as time has gone on, and more gadgets have become available. Like a scrapbook, it gets untidy, currently I have a string of posts that are just links to interesting news articles that I have not yet commented on. Periodically, it gets tidied and preened. Like a scrapbook, I stick pictures in it, pictures that I have taken of children’s mobile libraries as I visit them. It is a space to deposit anything I find of relevance and want to pass on to children’s mobile library operators. At one point in the research, I realised that some of the blog posts may have been boring for third parties to read. I had needed to find out more about the psychology of reading and posted notes from the text books that I was reading. So I revised my ideas of what and what not to post. Another problem arose when I started doing fieldwork in earnest.

Blog screenshot

Screen shot from my blog

I thought I could write up all my field notes on the blog, but realised that I had promised anonymity to all the participants and there could be plagiarism issues when my thesis is eventually submitted and put through the plagiarism software; it would pick up that I was plagiarising myself! The intensive, reflective field notes are therefore simply typed up and not shared with the rest of the world. The words that appear on the blog about the places I observe are now mainly descriptive and give information that is generally in the public domain. In some ways the blog has been a success, it is an excellent depositary for interesting facts and articles. It has been somewhat of a failure in attracting attention to my research. I know that some people in the mobile library world have looked at it, my business card includes it’s address. I suspect that one of my supervisors looks at it. I try to use tags to my advantage, including the names of people and places. However, I have never had any comments other that the odd commercial company trying to sell through the blog and I suppose it is unfortunate that most of my writing time gets taken up with statutory reports that I have to produce for university, so the blog is not updated as regularly as I would like.

blog screenshot

Screenshot of my blog

I have visited 13 children’s mobile libraries from 9 library services across the country and I am constantly surprised at the isolation of their staff. Many children’s mobile library operators ask me questions about what other services do and how they do it (and I am the one who should be doing the questioning). Others are surprised that they are not the only children’s mobile library. I foresee a need for a central point of information for all people who work in a children’s mobile library. This could be the continuation of the blog past the end of my PhD, or it could expand into something more interactive, a wiki or a website or even a Facebook group.

image of pile of files

File overload

I use Web 2.0 extensively in my search for data and set up blog, twitter and news alerts for the terms Mobile Library and Bookmobile (the American term for a mobile library). Twitter appears to be extensively used in America for alerting customers to the arrival of the bookmobile at a certain town or the sudden cancellation of a stop. Twitter is also used globally to show pictures of new vehicles and to announce the demise of others. I also pick up the tweets from people who have just visited their local mobile library, or seen one driving along. Mobile libraries seem to stir up a lot of pleasant memories for people.

Blog posts are commonly from third parties who visit a mobile library or have found an interesting subject in the news or on the internet such as an unusual form of distributing books. So far there I have not found many blog entries like this one, from a library service about their mobile library, and certainly British libraries are a little slow off the mark. Interestingly, local village bloggers and small local news websites often comment on the mobile library service. Newspaper websites cover disasters, announce temporary changes in service and when a new service starts. Basically, mobile libraries are born, have accidents and die on the web but there appears to be very little about their day to day existence.

This is why I am doing the research.

Please take a look at and if you feel inclined, please leave a comment about any mobile library experience you have had.

Posted in Blogs, Guest-blog, Libraries | 1 Comment »

23 Things …

Posted by guestblogger on 9th August 2010

About this Guest Post

Helen Leech is the Virtual Content Manager, for Surrey Library Service. Here she writes about her experience of collaboratively developing a wiki using the 23 Things concept. She can be contacted at or follow her at

23 Things …

Speaking as a public librarian, there’s a sense of delightful anarchy in working together with another authority on a Wiki. So many new technologies are banned to public library staff across the country. We can’t Facebook, because we would waste working time. We can’t freely communicate with staff in other public services, such as the NHS, because we’re all on secure Government Connects networks. We can’t Twitter, because God forbid we should say something out of the corporate line. Every mention of social media is accompanied by the scare stories about copyright infringement, people dissing their boss and getting sacked, illegal file sharing and the spectre of the Digigal Economy Act. We are bound around with restrictions, and anything to do with social networking is treated with the utmost suspicion.

I’m lucky to be working for an authority – Surrey Library Service, part of Surrey County Council – which is realising the worth of Web 2.0 and is loosening up. As a result of this, I’ve been set relatively free to explore and develop new tools, with the aim of improving our customer service, changing the library culture and raising staff awareness (and skills).

23 Things screenshot

Thing 11 of 23 Things

Towards this, I’ve been co-ordinating a project called 23 Things. In 2006, an American librarian, Helene Blowers, realised not only that her staff needed a course which would improve their understanding of the internet and all the stuff that’s grown up around it, but that the tools were freely available to create an online course. Helene had read a blog article about 43 Things, which suggested technologies and websites that people ought to explore to increase their web-savviness. She took some of these, such as blogging and RSS feeds and pod casting, developed each into a module that was light and informative and engaging, put the modules onto a blog (still available at, and asked her staff to work their way through it, offering an iPod as an incentive prize.

The concept was too fabulous to resist. I, along with around 400 other librarians all over the planet, wanted my own version for my own staff!

But why work alone, when we’re all trying to do the same thing? The Society of Chief Librarians (South East) put me in touch with Pat Garrett from Portsmouth public library service, and teams from the two authorities built a wiki (how wonderfully subversive!), populated it with content harvested with kind permission from Devon and Kirklees, who were working on their own versions, and asked other organisations, via the Jiscmail web 2.0 list, if they wouldn’t mind having a look at it and giving us their opinions.

The size of the response was surprising. Staff from 11 public library authorities, 15 FE/HE bodies and two health authorities worked their way through the Things and told us what they thought of them.

So, as I write, we’re into the next phase, and we’re not doing it alone. Four public library authorities – Surrey, Portsmouth, Aberdeen and Suffolk – are now working together, honing the materials in line with the evaluation, creating a “lite” version for those staff who don’t have much time, and planning to roll it out in our authorities come the end of the summer. You can see the work in progress at And, in the spirit of the original, it’s freely available for anybody to use, but beware – it will carry on changing until autumn.

Working together in this way – our four authorities accessing the Wiki, all of us creating stuff and editing each other’s stuff and making it available for anybody at all to use, embodies the spirit of Web 2.0. It’s a practical demonstration of what our users and customers and communities are doing, it’s a good reason for all library staff to learn revolutionary new skills – and in my opinion it’s a convincing argument for our parent bodies to loosen up a bit!

Surrey Libraries links

Follow on Twitter
Visit the photostream on Flickr
Chat about e-books at Surrey on Facebook

Posted in Blogs, Guest-blog, Libraries, Web 2.0, wikis | 1 Comment »

Keeping Track of Library Bloggers

Posted by Brian Kelly on 12th June 2010

More library bloggers is a good thing – unless you are trying to keep track of them. Within UKOLN’s Cultural Heritage Web pages we’ve steered a middle course. There’s the Best Of … Blogs section, where we’ve identified some exemplars of people writing for the sector. We also put up a Blogs Directory but even though we limited ourselves to only including  LIS blogs that focus on using Web 2.0, this involves quite a lot of work to keep up to date, making sure the blogs are still there and looking out for new ones.

I see that CILIP News Editor Matthew Mezey has been faced with the same issue, as he noted in CILIP Update, Dec. 2009, p.9. He had created a Web page with a list of LIS blogs which was getting out of date but a query to Twitter provided details of lists already being maintained by other people – so he has retired his own list. So which lists are out there? Well, thanks to Matthew I now know there’s Dave’s Hotstuff 2.0 ‘keeping track of what’s cooking in the biblioblogosphere’, Jennie Findlay’s uklibraryblogs, LIS wiki‘s weblogs page and the Blogging Libraries Wiki.

And what will we do about our blog directory? We could leave the page there and add a ‘caveat emptor’ note to say it’s not being maintained. We could remove the page altogether but what if people have bookmarked it? If we do remove the page, should we preserve a copy of the database behind the page? But before we do any of this, we’d appreciate some feedback. So, how helpful have you found it?

Posted in Blogs, Libraries | 2 Comments »

As Others See Us

Posted by Brian Kelly on 19th May 2010

There are more library blogs about these days but what do users think about them? Now bloggers are commenting on other people’s blogs. One example is The Metablog – a Blog about Blogs which was created by a University of British Columbia library and information science student as part of their coursework. According the author ‘more specifically, it is a blog about how public libraries in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand are using blogs’. The UK blogs reviewed to date are Edinburgh City’s Tales of One City, Paige Turner – Swansea Libraries semi-official blog and the Manchester Lit List. I suspect that this blog will not be continued past the end of the course, but it’s worth a look even with just the current content as there is food for thought here – how does your blog compare?

This fits well with this blog’s previous posts on library web sites: Dull Library Web Sites, a guest post by Margaret Adolphus and Why are Library Web Sites so Dull?.

Posted in Blogs, Libraries | 2 Comments »

Elsewhere on UKOLN Blogs: March 2010

Posted by Brian Kelly on 1st April 2010

This month’s regular summary of posts on other UKOLN blogs which may be of interest to the cultural heritage community is given below.

ASBOs, Linked Data and Open Data
What should the priority be: provision of open data or provision of Linked Data?
Published 31 March 2010
Rewired State: Rewired Culture Event
A report on the Rewired State event which focusses on development work for the cultural heritage sector.
Published 30 March 2010
#AskTheChancellors and Twitter
Is Twitter beginning to form a part of engaging with the democratic process?
Published 30 March 2010
Fragmenting The Discussion?
If you provide your content in other environments should this be regarded as a danger, as the discussions could be fragmented, or an opportunity, as it widens the debate?
Published 29 March 2010
Microformats and RDFa: Adding Richer Structure To Your HTML Pages
This posts reviews experiences in using microformats and asks whether it is time to start embedded RDFa in HTML pages.
Published 25 March 2010
Issues In Crowd-sourced Twitter Captioning of Videos
This posts describes a service which allows Twitter feeds to be used to caption video streams.
Published 23 March 2010
What Price a Cup of Coffee?
What is the true value of allowing your staff to take regular tea/coffee breaks?
Published 24 March 2010
Criteria for Successful and Unsuccessful Web Standards
What makes a successful Web standard? That’s not an easy question to answer.
Published 18 March 2010
The Project Blog When The Project Is Over
How should you manage a blog when the funding for it has finished?
Published 15 March 2010
Look! We’re on Google Street View!
What is Google Street view and what are the privacy issues?
Published 12 March 2010
The ‘Quiet Zone’ At Conferences
A description of an approach to providing a ‘quiet area’ at an event for people who do not want to be disturbed by Twitterers or do not wish to be photographed.
Published 10 March 2010
The Lowering Costs of Teleconferencing
This post looks at teleconferencing and how you can get the most out of it.
Published 10 March 2010
Where Exactly are You?
A look at location data and the related issues.
Published 2 March 2010

Posted in Blogs | Comments Off

Elsewhere on UKOLN Blogs: February 2010

Posted by Brian Kelly on 26th February 2010

This month’s regular summary of posts on other UKOLN blogs which may be of interest to the cultural heritage community is given below.

If you are a researcher who works away from their organisation then SCONUL Access enables staff, students, and research students to borrow material from other libraries. Find out more
Published 25 February 2010
Home working and the Rebound Effect
What is the rebound effect and what is does it have to do with home working and events organisation?
Published 16 February 2010
Moderated Comments? Closed Comments? No Thanks!
How moderation of blog comments can act as a barrier to engagement with readers of a blog.
Published 15 February 2010
Remote Audiences
What is transliteracy and what role do remote audiences play? A guest blog post by Kirsty McGill.
Published 12 February 2010
A Challenge To Linked Data Developers
Can Linked Web developers use DBpedia to answer a query?
Published 12 February 2010
OMG! Is That Me On The Screen?
How should you go about reusing photographs of people in presentations?
Published 10 February 2010
Higher Ambitions, e-learning and remote working
What does the government’s Higher Ambitions paper say about remote and online learning. More on the task force led by Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive of the British Library.
Published 8 February 2010
H.264 Format Free To End Users Until (At Least) 2016
Will the extension of the licence for use of the H.264 format see this proprietary but well-supported video format become widely deployed on the Web?
Published 4 February 2010
Guide to Mobile Broadband Providers
A look at the mobile broadband providers available from Joe Linford of Broadband Genie
Published 4 February 2010
iPad, Flash, HTML 5 and Standards
Will HTML 5 see the introduction of open video formats for the Web?
Published 3 February 2010
Decommissioning / Mothballing Mailing Lists
What policies should you adopt if you discover the existence of unused JISCMail mailing lists?
Published 1 February 2010

Posted in Blogs | Comments Off

Policies on Moderation of Blog Comments

Posted by Brian Kelly on 22nd February 2010

Readers of posts on this blog are free to submit comments.  Comments are published automatically, with no manual approval process required. The decision to permit comments to be published without needing to check the contents was taken in order to minimise barriers for readers wishing to engage in discussions on the blog.

Dangers with this approach includes risks that automated comment spam messages are published or that inappropriate comments are submitted.

The risk that automated spam posts will be published is minimised by the Akismet spam filter which has proved successful in trapping a large number of spam comments.  The automated tool has also helped to minimise the effort needed by the blog administrators in checking submitted comments and choosing whether to delete inappropriate comment or publish legitimate comments.

The risk that inappropriate comments may be submitted has, in reality, not happened to any significant extent, with  the occasional spam comment which Akismet fails to detect being spotted and deleted normally in a few hours after publication. We also are aware that readers of this blog are capable of spotting spam comments for themselves, so we do not feel there is a risk to our reputation if this happens.

However although our policy on unmoderated comments is appropriate for this blog, this may not be the case for all blogs.  If you blog service does not have an automated comment spam filter, then moderation may be needed in order to avoid your blog becoming filled with spam comments, thereby probably inhibiting legitimate readers from submitting their own comments.

If you run a very popular blog, or your blog covers newsworthy topics (e.g. global warming) you could possibly find that management of blog comments becomes time-consuming.

In order to assist blog owners in formulating their policies i n this area  a UKOLN briefing document on Policies On Blog Comments has been published, based on feedback received on a recent UK Web Focus blog post.

We hope this document is useful for those of you who are involving in providing blog services to your user communities.

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100 And Counting

Posted by Brian Kelly on 18th February 2010

We have now published 100 posts on UKOLN’s Cultural Heritage blog since it was launched in January 2009.  The aim of the blog was to enable UKOLN’s Cultural Heritage support team (myself, Marieke Guy and Ann Chapman) to have a mechanism for speedy publication of resources relevant to the cultural heritage sector.  The blog also provides the team with a valuable opportunity to gain experiences of various issues related to providing and sustaining a blog service,  which will inform our various workshops and briefing documents.

For those who may be new to the blog a summary of the approaches taken and highlights of  the various posts is given below.

Guest Blog Posts
We publish guest blog posts from practitioners in the cultural heritage sector.  These include a post on The Black Art of Blogging (which reported on the impact of a UKOLN workshop on blogging), a summary of Brighton Museum & Art Gallery’s The ‘On the Pull’ Project (which featured as a case study at one of the UKOLN’s Social Web workshops), another case study presented at a UKOLN workshop entitled When Peregrines Come To Town, a post  by Nick Poole, Chief Executive of the Collections Trust (which described Collections Trust’s Digital Programmes on the OpenCulture Blog), a post by Margaret Adolphus, a journalist specialising in librarianship, the knowledge industry on Dull Library Web Sites and, most recently a post by Nicola McNee on Communicating with the Facebook generation.
Blog Posts Related To Peer-Reviewed Papers
Blog posts by UKOLN staff have provided access to papers and accompanying slides for peer-reviewed papers including papers on  Empowering Users and Institutions: A Risks and Opportunities Framework for Exploiting the Social Web (presented at the Cultural Heritage Online 2009 Conference) and a post on Clouds, Libraries and Museums (which described a workshop session based on a paper entitled “Software as a Service and Open APIs” written by Paul Walk).
Blog Posts on UKOLN Presentations
Blog posts have also provided an opportunity to report on talks given at a range of events throughout the country including the AIM 2009 conference, the CILIP-S and CILIP Wales conferences, the “Archives 2.0: Shifting Dialogues between Users and Archivists” conference, the MCG Spring Meeting and the Silos of the LAMS CILIP Executive briefing.
Blog Posts on Addressing Institutional Barriers
A recurring theme at the Social Web workshops we deliver are the institutional barriers to the exploitation of Social Web services in libraries, museums and archives. A number of the posts we have published have looked ways of addressing such barriers. In order to provide ease-of-access to the such posts we have created an addressing barriers category which groups these posts together.
Links To Other UKOLN Blogs
We have provided a monthly summary of posts published on other UKOLN blogs which may be of interest to the cultural heritage sector. For example, see the summaries for January 2010, December 2009 and November 2009.
Multimedia Posts
A number of the blog posts contains embedded multimedia resources, such as slides or videos, typically taken during presentations by UK staff. We hope that this use of multimedia and the provision of access to the resources used at our presentations will help to enhance the impact of the ideas given in the presentations.

We hope our readers have found the 100 blog posts of interest and value. If you have any comments on the blog or ideas for future posts we would welcome them.

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Elsewhere on UKOLN Blogs: January 2010

Posted by Brian Kelly on 29th January 2010

This month’s regular summary of posts on other UKOLN blogs which may be of interest to the cultural heritage community is given below.

Begin with the End in Mind
Some suggestions on how to write for different audiences.
Published 27 January 2010
The big fight: Mobile vs PC
Can the mobile Web ever be better than the PC Web or are they just different?
Published 25 January 2010
STRIDE E-Learning Handbook
The STRIDE E-learning handbook is available as a free PDF download.
Published 25 January 2010
My Significant Drop in Use of JISCMail Lists
In some sectors JISCMail may no longer be a significant tool for collaboration and information exchange.
Published 22 January 2010
Save £1million and Move to the Cloud?
We are starting to see a move to use of core services to hosting in ‘the Cloud’. Can this save money?
Published 20 January 2010
Twitter: Part of the Plumbing
Twitter is now becoming a key part of an institution’s information’s infrastructure. So you’ll need policies and procedures.
Published 19 January 2010
Time For A Blog Revival?
For from being in decline, blogs can provide a valuable dissemination and engagement tool – and UKOLN’s briefing documents can be a valuable resource.
Published 16 January 2010
Reflections on CETIS’s “Future of Interoperability Standards” Meeting
A report on a meeting which explored the limitations of elearning standards.
Published 14 January 2010
Retro email list takes new direction
The Retro JISCMail list  has been revived and is now focusing on the need for a national strategy for retro-cataloguing.
Published 12 January 2010
How I Use Creative Commons For My Presentations
A case study on a risk management approach to use of Creative Commons.
Published 13 January 2010
Will The SVG Standard Come Back to Life?
Open standards sometimes may take a long time before they become support by software vendors.
Published 11 January 2010
Greening Events
Possible ways that we can start to reduce the environmental impact of the events we run.
Published 11 January 2010
Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
A summary of how institutions are beginning to make use of Twitter to provide alerts.
Published 7 January 2010
An Opportunities and Risks Framework For Standards
Open standards promise much – but sometimes they may fail to live up to their promise. This post describes an opportunities and risks framework  to assist in the selection of standards.
Published 6 January 2010
My Decade
Marieke Guy gives her thoughts on some of the significant IT developments of the decade.
Published 4 January 2010

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Elsewhere on UKOLN blogs: December 2009

Posted by Brian Kelly on 31st December 2009

This month’s regular summary of posts on other UKOLN blogs which may be of interest to the cultural heritage community is given below.

Can Your Blog Survive Without Twitter?
As Twitter now appears to have a significant role in driving traffic to blogs the question is “Can your blog thrive if Twitter is not part of your dissemination strategy?“.
Published 9 December 2009
The Dos and Don’t of Corporate Use of Twitter
Twitter is now mainstream – but there are dangers that organisations jumping on the bandwagon will fail to appreciate what it is that makes twitter so successful.
Published 8 December 2009
A Tale of Three Conferences
Three conference took place in London in the first week of December, all of relevance to the cultural heritage sector. And you could join in the discussions for all three events if you followed the events’ hashtags.
Published 7 December 2009
Highlights of Online Information 2009: Semantic Web and Social Web
The Semantic Web (and Linked Data) should now be considered by early mainstream adopters, whilst the Social Web is now mainstream for all.
Published 4 December 2009
Online 2009: Remote Working in a 2.0 World
Details of the remote working presentation given as part of the show floor seminar programme and a general overview of Online Information 2009.
Published 2 December 2009

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