MoMA and YouTube

October 31, 2006 § Leave a comment

MoMA reaches out to the YouTube network with The Residents: The River of Crime,
an online community art project
October 19–23, 2006. It’s over but you can still view the short films at the following places:

The Residents and NY Museum of Modern Art present a Community Art Project

The Residents and MoMA’s River of Crime online community art project

Interesting to note that only one of the 6 winners is from the USA, a community art project used to signify something small, initimate and local. Taking it online now makes such a project massively accessible but strangely it still retains that intimacy factor. I guess that’s what makes some (not all) UGC (user generated content) so engaging. 


Test site

October 30, 2006 § Leave a comment

MetalOriginally uploaded by man_is_cargo.

Oh how I wish I could slide down Carsten Holler’s Test Site at the Tate Modern in London. Some things you just can’t do online. Also I love how easy it is to connect my Flickr network to my WordPress blog. The pic above was taken by a member of my Tate online Level 2 group – an extention of an online course we did on Tate online.

Flickr game

October 25, 2006 § Leave a comment

I didn’t know that Flickr came out of the design of an MMOG (massively multiplayer online game) called Game Neverending. In an interview with Jesse James Garrett, Eric Costello, one of the Ludicorp team who developed Flickr, talked about these origins.

It wasn’t an immersive environment at all. It had interfaces that were really like Web interfaces or desktop application interfaces. The mode of interaction between users was in IM [instant Messaging] windows……We did a couple of things in the UI that were kind of neat, I think. You had IM windows where you could drag a person from your contacts list into any chat window and it would invite them to join your conversation. You could also drag game objects into an IM conversation and it would send to all the other members of the chat an image of the object. So it was a way that you could share the things you found in this world with the people around you.

That feature was where the idea for Flickr came from. We thought, what if instead of game objects, you could drag and drop other digital objects into these conversations, like Word documents, or PDFs? Photos were the natural thing to go with because they’re more visual.

These ‘conversational’ origins have served Flickr’s ongoing development well in that there is hardly any ‘usability testing’, as developments happen they are sent out to users for feedback. Eric Costello says that the Flickr team provided spaces for conversation to happen then listened and learned from ‘…People talking to each other about the site [and] people talking directly to us about the site.’

If Museums are connected to a strong and influential community such as Flickr’s then the feedback they could potentially receive to various initiatives would surely be invaluable, not to mention the turn around for on acting on that feedback much quicker than it is now. 

Another interesting point that arises here is that Flickr was an idea that started as something completely different. There is a wonderful potential for the connections and conversations that museums have with their visitors via sociable technologies to inspire new learning opportunities not yet envisaged…..we are heading into new territory.

museums 1.0 to 2.0 (part 2)

October 22, 2006 § Leave a comment

Have just been re-reading a post on the connectivism blog about learning ecologies which discusses a presentation to a group of museum professionals on connectivism and learning ecologies. The following par nicely sums up why it is a good idea for museums to explore decentralisation of their online content.

… A general concern appeared to be the desire to get people to use virtual museum resources.

I think this is the wrong question. People don’t want to visit your content. They want to pull your content into their sites, programs, or applications. This is a profound change, largely not understood by educators. We are still fixated on the notion of learning content, and we think we are making great concessions when we give learners control over content (and start to see them as co-creators). That misses the essence of the change: learners want control of their space. They want to create the ecology in which they function and learn. Today, it’s about pulling content from numerous sites and allowing the individual to repurpose it in the format they prefer (allowing them to create/recognize patterns). Much like the music industry had to learn that people don’t want to pay for a whole album when all they want is one song, content providers (education, museums, and libraries) need to see the end user doesn’t want the entire experience – they want only the pieces they want. We need to stop thinking that learners will come to us for learning content – our learning content should come to them in their environment.

View the presentation at

Powerhouse folksonomy

October 20, 2006 § 2 Comments

What does folksonomy mean? Wikipedia (Revision as of 14:20, 20 October 2006) defines it as follows: 

The term folksonomy is a portmanteau that specifically refers to the tagging systems created within Internet communities. A combination of the words folk (or folks) and taxonomy, the term folksonomy literally means “people’s classification management”: “Taxonomy” is from the Greek taxis and nomos. Taxis means “classification” and nomos (or nomia) means “management,” while “Folk” is from the Old English folc, meaning people.

If we contribute meaning to objects by naming them in a personally meaningful way then surely the curatorial gap between ‘us’ the visitor and ‘them’ the museum begins to close. The Powerhouse Museum has recently launched a collection database which allows users to just that, create personally meaningful descriptions of any of the objects within it.

The Fresh+New post Taxonomies of Tagging directed me to the paper ‘HT06, Tagging Paper, Taxonomy, Flickr, Academic Article,ToRead’ which lists possible incentives for users to contribute tags:

  • Future retrieval
  • Contribution and sharing
  • Attract attention
  • Play and competition
  • Self Presentation
  • Opinion expression

National Museums online learning project

October 17, 2006 § 2 Comments

Project Summary


This £1.7m project has been developed by 10 national museums and galleries (British Museum, Imperial War Museum, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Natural History Museum, Royal Armouries, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Tate, Victoria and Albert Museum, Wallace Collection) and is a 3 year project, funded by the Invest to Save Initiative from the Treasury.


The purpose of the project is to get the vast amount of content already on these ten national museum and gallery websites better used.   We do not intended to create a new website or digitise more objects. Instead the project will focus on using existing databases, articles and functionality to encourage users to engage critically and creatively with museum and gallery collections.   Some tools and further functionality will be created to encourage this process. The target audiences for the project are schools and lifelong learners. Powerhouse

October 17, 2006 § Leave a comment

Fresh+new post Simple example of web 2.0 in a museum describes how the Preservation Department are sending up to date content out to the general public via

Preservation get a lot of enquiries from the general public and also from small regional museums about preservation techniques. We needed quick and low-tech, dial-up friendly solution to offering the best and up-to-date information on preservation methods.

Traditionally this sort of issue would have been resolved with fact sheets and perhaps a static set of links. Both of these solutions would be time consuming but worst of all, ‘finished’ when they went online – and probably not updated for several years.

Using a account communally shared amongst the Preservation Department staff, staff can all bookmark websites of use to the public in answer questions about ‘how do I preserve . . . ‘. Each site is tagged with the type of object that it refers to.

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