UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

All Change: Adapt and Thrive in a Digital Age

Posted by Brian Kelly on 30 Apr 2007

As may be apparent from recent postings, UKOLN is active in working, not just with libraries, with also with the museums and archives community.

Following my recent trip to the Museums and the Web 2007 conference, on Thursday 26th April I spoke at the All Change: Adapt and Thrive in a Digital Age conference organised by the London Museums Librarians and Archivists Group. The topic of my talk was How Recent Web Developments Offer Low-cost Opportunities for Service Development – and my slides were based on a similar talk entitled Library 2.0 on a shoestring: cutting the costs of your investment which my colleague Marieke Guy gave at the Library 2.0 Forum at the Library + Information Show in Birmingham on 18th April 2007.

It’s always good to receive positive feedback when you give a talk; even more so when you don’t have to wait long for the feedback. However I must admit that I felt somewhat embarrassed when Caroline Warhurst of the London Transport Museum opened her talk by saying that “Brian Kelly is a well-honed athlete in comparison with the toddler steps I’m taking.” Believe me, I’ve never been described as a ‘well-honed athlete” before!

Further positive comments about the conference were made in the museums i imagine… blog: “Some really interesting and inspiring ideas were flying around at this conference yesterday, focusing on how to “adapt and thrive in the digital age.” The author went on to say “Brian Kelly of UKOLN stole the show with his energetic and informed challenge to received wisdom, leaving me (an many others I’m sure) with no excuses about taking web 2.0 forward in some way, shape or form. Every organisation needs to look carefully at their needs and what users actually want, but it’s clear that the challenges aren’t primarily technical.

I also enjoyed the event, and the positive views of various developments within the cultural heritage sector which were described by the speakers. Of particular interest to me were the talks by Frances Boyle who described (in the absence of Michael Popham) Oxford University’s involvement with Google in the digitisation of out-of-copyright books; the talk by James Strachan, The National Archives who outlined plans for The National Archives to provide wiki facilities to enable the user community to provide information on its huge backlog of records to be catalogued and Graham Higley who gave a captivated description of the Biodiversity Heritage Project.

There were also a number of interesting talks on non-technological issues: Pat Christie, University of the Arts, described their approaches to the provision of learning spaces (which included ‘trusting your users’ in the design and maintenance of physical resources: it was interesting to see how relevant this Web 2.0 term is in other contexts) and Caroline Warhurst, London Transport Museum on similar redevelopments to her museum.

I have to admit that I came away from the conference feeling inspired by the talks I’d heard, and the interest shown in my talk. My enthusiasm, itself, was inspired by the Museums and the Web conference. The museum sector is well-positioned, I feel, to gain real benefits from adoption of Web 2.0 technologies. And I’ll be looking forward to discussions with the sector on strategies for moving beyond the rhetoric and developing systems and services – the suggestion I gave at the end of the day’s event was to geo-locate your museum using very simply tags in your museum home page or RSS feed. Something I’ll return to later. And the other suggestion I made to the conference organisers was to suggest to speakers that their slides are uploaded to a service such as Slideshare, to allow people who couldn’t attend the conference to view the slides.

One Response to “All Change: Adapt and Thrive in a Digital Age”

  1. […] she found out who I was, described me as the “God of the Web in the UK”.  After having recently been described as a “well-honed athlete” I suspect there will be a lot of disappoined people who read […]

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