I just spotted a posting from a fellow Antipodean, made to the Australian Archivists (aus-archivists) listserv, which has certainly raised some interesting questions surrounding web 2.0 technologies and their impact on the Archive sector…. Perhaps a debate well worth monitoring, and further exploring here, within the realm of web 2.0 itself?
See Australian Archivists listserv posting below:
Archival institutions are increasingly using social networking sites, tagging (folksonomies), blogs, wikis, and Flickr to promote their collections. Does anyone know any studies evaluating this phenomenon in the archival setting? I don’t mean the this-is-how-we-did-it, isn’t-it-exciting or look-how-many-hits-we’re-getting articles. I mean thoughtful consideration of the value of these tools and the effects they are having on our work. I’d also love some discussion on the list.
Why we have decided to use these tools? What benefits have they brought? What kind of new audiences are they attracting? How long do these audiences stick around? Is the resource taken to sustain these ‘relationships’ worth it? Do these audiences engage with us beyond the social network stuff? Do they use our databases? come in and use our collections? order quality copies? Does it matter if they don’t? How is our adoption of these tools affecting what material we choose to process and promote? With user-generated content and tagging are our formal documentation skills, cataloguing standards, thesauri, etc passé? Does mashing trivialise our research collections? Any observations or leads to articles welcome. [ Helen Yoxall, Archives Manager, Registration and Collection Management, Powerhouse Museum, PO Box K346, Haymarket NSW 1238, Australia, URL: www.powerhousemuseum.com/archives/index.asp]“
After a quick (and rudimentary) search, I stumbled across a few sources that may be of interest:
- UKOLN have a presentation “Web 2.0: Implications For The Cultural Heritage Sector”
- The Archives & Museum Informatics Museums and the Web website, includes a paper “Towards Community Contribution: Empowering Community Voices On-Line” (Angèle Alain, Library and Archives Canada, Canada; Michelle Foggett, The National Archives of England and Wales, UK). It refers to Web 2.0 and community involvement in museums, libraries and archives e.g. the Moving Here project which has sought to “break down barriers to the direct involvement of minority ethnic groups in sharing their history on-line” and is among other projects keen to “embrace social networking in future to give users a higher profile voice to enable their knowledge to be passed down to the next generation”. (However, “specialised and appropriate training” was identified as crucial to tackling the barriers,[such as the 'digital divide' itself]). On the related MuseumsComputerGroup website is the article abstract “Museums and Web 2.0: Connections + Community” (by Jennifer Trant, Archives and Museum Informatics), noting both the possibilities, and challenges, surrounding the adoption of web 2.0.
- Also of interest are the web 2.0 blogs: Library 2.0 network, Library 2.0 gang, Museum 2.0; and while I couldn’t spot an Archives 2.0-specific blog anywhere, there was an interesting posting on the Archives Hub blog and on ArchivesNext (which, as one of its aims, invites bloggers to explore “Web 2.0 applications and discussing their applicability to archival institutions”).
- Our own dablog has highlighted one dimension of the web 2.0 impact (inspired by UCL’s Dr Andrew Flinn) i.e. in relation to urgent calls to preserve the heritage outputs of web 2.0, due to “the transient history of the increasing number of minority/dissenting voices, whose heritage is only documented via websites, blogs, wikis and social software”.
- In true folksonomic Web 2.0 style, we can also see what’s been tagged as Archives2.0 in del.icio.us.
Know of any other sources that discuss the impact of Web 2.0 on the Archives Sector? Or would you like to share your opinions in response to the questions posed by Helen Yoxall (above)?