Wednesday, June 23, 2010

paper brainstorming - typology of digital collections

Ramesh and I had a conversation last week where we talked about digital museums/collections -- an area of research that I've been working on recently (and posting about on this blog: here, here, and here). Eventually this will be developed into a paper, and I wanted to put some of our ideas up here on the blog for everyone's discussion and consideration.
  • Once I've looked through a bunch of examples, Ramesh wants me to build a typology of sorts, based around how these digital collections work with new media and allow other ways of interaction with communities.
  • Creating it so that it's not just a list, but a landscape of what's out there in terms of these digital collections (not digital museums, because we're not talking about online exhibits, but rather online catalogs).
  • Articulating their relationship with one another and with our project
  • Based around certain variables : ie. use of blogging, semantic tagging, other sociotechnical issues
  • thinking about different axes - mapping those examples, then presenting in context, and comparing/contrasting with where our project stands
  • also addressing a larger set of questions about how information institutions open up and represent other voices, and the sociotechnical issues that come up
By 'sociotechnical', I mean the problems/issues that arise at the intersection between people and technology. For example, systems that aren't designed to accommodate controls around sensitive information, or allow communities to set permissions for access based on their own cultural protocols of access.

The important thing is to situate our project relative to other digital institutional collections-based projects that are working with communities. Looking at the institutions, and the systems. Not necessarily all indigenous communities, but it wouldn't be a bad thing if all our examples had that in common.

Eventually this will be developed into a paper that is a justification for our project relative to what's out there. With a title that's something like "Enabling Voice in Digital Collections" (have to define what we mean by voice, and how different systems enable voice). The key would be to extract that model/ those variables and placing different projects along an axis/axes. Possibly we can include some evaluative data from our project, but maybe not (depending on whether it ends up being relevant).

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