Defining Open Authority

An attempt to illustrate, define, & discuss the intersection between museum
authority & participatory digital culture. | Ask me about museums & Wikipedia.

Posts tagged "tech"

5 months ago museums open authority Met musetech tech

So Many Stories to Tell for Met's Digital Chief

Q. What about user-generated content? What might be some opportunities to present the content created by visitors and now being shared on their personal Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts?

A. Our visitors, telling their stories and sharing their experiences, often inspire their friends and family to visit us. So their photos, posts, and comments can have a real impact on people deciding to make a trip to the museum — whether from across town or across the oceans. We can connect with and highlight the best of user content on our social channels. A current exhibition, “Artists & Amateurs: Etching in 18th-Century France,” is an example of the art world acknowledging that amateurs play a role in the evolution of sophisticated art.

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10 months ago 4 notes open authority Open GLAM museums amsterdam tech openauthexamples

Open Authority Example #10
Rijksstudio, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Website: Rijksstudio
Press: “Masterworks for One and All,” New York Times
Awards: Best of the Web, Museums and the Web

"We’re a public institution, and so the art and objects we have are, in a way, everyone’s property." - Taco Dibbits, Director of Collections

Can you believe I hadn’t posted this as an Open Authority example yet? Better late than never! The fantastic New York Times article linked above prompted me to ensure its inclusion on this list. I also had the opportunity to hear the Rijksmuseum’s presentation on the successes of Rijksstudio at Museums and the Web this spring. While the project certainly is an impressive undertaking, what’s most impressive is the vision behind it—an unapologetic commitment to openness and remix-ability that few museums are bold enough to truly implement. Things are looking up, though; the three Best of the Web wins bode well for future Rijksstudio-esque projects.

Open Authority Example #10

Rijksstudio, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

"We’re a public institution, and so the art and objects we have are, in a way, everyone’s property." - Taco Dibbits, Director of Collections

Can you believe I hadn’t posted this as an Open Authority example yet? Better late than never! The fantastic New York Times article linked above prompted me to ensure its inclusion on this list. I also had the opportunity to hear the Rijksmuseum’s presentation on the successes of Rijksstudio at Museums and the Web this spring. While the project certainly is an impressive undertaking, what’s most impressive is the vision behind it—an unapologetic commitment to openness and remix-ability that few museums are bold enough to truly implement. Things are looking up, though; the three Best of the Web wins bode well for future Rijksstudio-esque projects.

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1 year ago 1 note open authority museums Museum Computer Network open culture tech

Andrew Lewis of the Victoria & Albert Museum blogs about the themes of Museum Computer Network 2012, including Open Authority…

Open sharing becomes the norm
A strongly recurring theme was the normalisation of openness. Open standards and open source were deeply embedded in the ethos of many presentations, but also that of the collective museum professional community. It was heartening to find the ethos of making ideas, data and code freely available for others to build on becoming pervasive.
Open Authority
In her speech at the opening Ignite event at the EMP Museum, US Cultural Partnerships Coordinator for Wikimedia Foundation Lori Byrd Phillips discussed the tensions in museum knowledge authority between tightly-controlled models and open communal models. She cited a 1971 Duncan Cameron article, ‘The Museum: A Temple or the Forum.’ and how closely it compared that with a metaphor from a 1997 piece by Eric Raymond: ‘The Cathedral and the Bazaar’ discussing the trend in coding from proprietory software to open-source coding.  Lori was offering a model of open authority, acknowledging the need for authority, but suggesting it is better reached by open communal working.  

Andrew Lewis of the Victoria & Albert Museum blogs about the themes of Museum Computer Network 2012, including Open Authority…

Open sharing becomes the norm

A strongly recurring theme was the normalisation of openness. Open standards and open source were deeply embedded in the ethos of many presentations, but also that of the collective museum professional community. It was heartening to find the ethos of making ideas, data and code freely available for others to build on becoming pervasive.

Open Authority

In her speech at the opening Ignite event at the EMP Museum, US Cultural Partnerships Coordinator for Wikimedia Foundation Lori Byrd Phillips discussed the tensions in museum knowledge authority between tightly-controlled models and open communal models. She cited a 1971 Duncan Cameron article, ‘The Museum: A Temple or the Forum.’ and how closely it compared that with a metaphor from a 1997 piece by Eric Raymond: ‘The Cathedral and the Bazaar’ discussing the trend in coding from proprietory software to open-source coding.  Lori was offering a model of open authority, acknowledging the need for authority, but suggesting it is better reached by open communal working.  

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2 years ago 64 notes Libraries tech

museumsandstuffReblogged from museumsandstuff

museumsandstuff:

New York Public Library’s Stereogranimator Lets You Make GIFs Out Of 19th Century Stereographs:

“With the Stereogranimator, the NYPL is letting users transform 19th century stereographs into GIFs, which lets people experience these historical images the way someone in the 1800s might have. Drawing on a collection of over 40,000 stereographs, the Stereogranimator is a project of the NYPL Labs, an experimental unit at the library using digital means to develop new tools for research.
“If you look through enough of them, you start to notice that many from before 1900 come in seemingly-identical pairs. What you may not realize is that these pairs were meant to be viewed together, each side lending the other a sense of depth that a photograph alone cannot possess,” Joshua Heineman, who began a version of the Stereogranimator as a personal project on his blog, wrote on the Huffington Post. “Using stereoscopes, the entertainment-seeking public of the 19th century immersed themselves in these 3D photographs (called stereographs) in a manner akin to how we now view movies, video games or cellphone screens.” 

Wow this is an amazing idea coming out of a GLAM I admire :). What a great way to make a historical hobby extremely fun and relevant for today? Love love love.

museumsandstuff:

New York Public Library’s Stereogranimator Lets You Make GIFs Out Of 19th Century Stereographs:

“With the Stereogranimator, the NYPL is letting users transform 19th century stereographs into GIFs, which lets people experience these historical images the way someone in the 1800s might have. Drawing on a collection of over 40,000 stereographs, the Stereogranimator is a project of the NYPL Labs, an experimental unit at the library using digital means to develop new tools for research.

“If you look through enough of them, you start to notice that many from before 1900 come in seemingly-identical pairs. What you may not realize is that these pairs were meant to be viewed together, each side lending the other a sense of depth that a photograph alone cannot possess,” Joshua Heineman, who began a version of the Stereogranimator as a personal project on his blog, wrote on the Huffington Post. “Using stereoscopes, the entertainment-seeking public of the 19th century immersed themselves in these 3D photographs (called stereographs) in a manner akin to how we now view movies, video games or cellphone screens.”

Wow this is an amazing idea coming out of a GLAM I admire :). What a great way to make a historical hobby extremely fun and relevant for today? Love love love.

(via museumsandstuff)

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2 years ago 6 notes Wikipedia sopa neutrality open web tech

Wikipedia: The Neutrality Paradox?

Yesterday, in the height of excitement preparing for the Wikipedia Blackout, I had the opportunity to simply be proud about being a part of something bigger. But today, now that the Blackout has (of course) attracted attention, it has turned into a defense of Wikipedia’s principles.

I’m going to specifically address the points brought up by Nick Poole, CEO of the UK-based Collections Trust, this morning on Twitter. Here is our exchange thus far:

@NickPoole1: #Wikipedia on blackout - ‘Our articles are neutral, our existence is not’ - undermines entire principle of neutrality. 
@HstryQT: Not true, Nick. Wikipedia is built on the principles of the open web & that must be protected. No openness = no wiki neutrality
@NickPoole1: If u act like a body corporate, then u are de facto not neutral. Who is the ‘we’ in the #Wikipedia article? U can’t close a commons
@HstryQT: Yet, we did. The community closed the commons in order to save the commons. Guess we’re redefining things. @mpedson take note.

The quote he is referring to is from Kat Walsh, a Wikimedia Foundation board member who I personally know to be brilliant and whose voice of reason I’ve come to highly appreciate.


"Why is the Wikipedia Blackout a good thing?" Quite simply, it’s good because it clearly and pragmatically illustrates the impact that this legislation would have, not only in the US but on a global scale. It is using a worldwide platform to advocate for the open web and the associated culture that made Wikipedia possible. As the quintessential collaborative community that came out of the open source movement, it only makes sense for Wikipedia to make this stand. Wikipedia’s volunteers continue to maintain the principles of freely and openly sharing knowledge. Usually we are doing this in little ways. But today we have the chance to show just why the open web is so, so very important.

"The Blackout undermines Wikipedia’s principles of neutrality." There are many others who agree with this statement, in fact the Wikipedia community itself debated it heavily. (The very fact that Wikipedians debated this actually illustrates my point further; see below.) It is shortsighted to say that Wikipedia’s advocacy undermines its principles of neutrality. Kat’s quote in fact is the most concise and clear statement revoking this argument: “Our articles are neutral, our existence is not.” But I’ll tease this out for the sake of dissenters.

The community never claims to be neutral. Those who understand the history of Wikipedia and the open source movement will understand that the community itself is in no way neutral in regards to our views on the importance of the open web. The very act of being a “movement” (which is how Wikipedia proudly defines itself) implies that we feel strongly about our views on freely and openly sharing knowledge. We make no claims to be neutral on the subject. So why then should it mean that our advocacy is undermining our principles? This is absolutely not so. We are in fact defending our principles and doing our best to ensure that the open web thrives. As one of the largest and oldest communities devoted to this cause, it would be odd for us to not make a stand.

The articles aim to be neutral. The principles of neutrality within Wikipedia can easily be misunderstood by those outside of the community. Once again, as Kat explained, “Our articles are neutral, our existence is not.” Neutrality is indeed a pillar within Wikipedia and describes a standard that we strive to achieve for the encyclopedia. Neutrality is a goal for the product, not the community. And can I also note - the Wikipedia community itself will always have argued whatever point you’re trying to make over and over (and over and over). You can find these discussions which we transparently have out in the open for all to see. We aim for our articles to be neutral, that doesn’t mean the community is.

"Who is the ‘we’ in the Wikipedia article?": “We” is whoever wants to contribute to the conversation. One becomes a part of the community simply by taking part in the discussion on the talk page. When consensus is reached about how to best illustrate a topic in a neutral manner and with the best sources, it is presented in that article. If you do not feel that something is neutral in an article, join in and say as much! Help us make it better.

"You can’t close a commons." And that’s what makes the Wikipedia Blackout so unprecedented. The commons chose to shut down the commons to save the commons. Has this ever happened before? Likely not. But in this case, we actually did close a commons because the community chose to do so. This may mark a redefinition of what a commons is, or more specifically what a commons is capable of. While it might err from the usual definitions, I think it’s worth looking to Wikipedia, the original commons, in setting this new precedent.

Just to be clear, the Wikimedia Foundation did not make this decision, the community did. The Wikimedia Foundation assisted in the technical aspects of implementing the Blackout, but only after thorough, heated, and ongoing debate among the Wikipedia community itself. In the end, the Wikimedia board could not make the call, the founder Jimmy Wales could not make the call, nor could the Executive Director Sue Gardner make the call - three respected administrators moderated the discussion and declared when consensus was reached. This was a huge decision for the Wikipedia community, and one which I’m very proud to have been a part.

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2 years ago 1 note Wikipedia tech sopa


I’m always proud to be a Wikipedian, but even more so today.
When the White House came out against SOPA, I was proud to have been part of the cited petition against it. When the House shelved the bill, I was proud that (perhaps) my passionate email to my Congressman meant something. And when Wikipedia reached consensus about a full, global blackout, I was proud to have been a part of the discussion. It’s the first time in my 28 years that I feel like democracy has worked (…but maybe it’s just that it takes a crazy-ass bill like SOPA to make one feel empowered. ;)

I’m always proud to be a Wikipedian, but even more so today.

When the White House came out against SOPA, I was proud to have been part of the cited petition against it. When the House shelved the bill, I was proud that (perhaps) my passionate email to my Congressman meant something. And when Wikipedia reached consensus about a full, global blackout, I was proud to have been a part of the discussion. It’s the first time in my 28 years that I feel like democracy has worked (…but maybe it’s just that it takes a crazy-ass bill like SOPA to make one feel empowered. ;)

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2 years ago 5 notes bloggers museums tech

Museum-y Blog Best Bets

In the spirit of the new year, I thought I’d offer up an annotated list of the blogs that have proved the most consistently inspiring for me over the past year. Of my ~60 subscriptions, these blogs are the fuel that keep my creative juices flowing (in a manageable way - which is key!) 

Please let me know if you have any other suggestions!

  1. Know Your Own Bone, Colleen Dilenschneider: Colleen knows I credit her with making me sound super smart in meetings - and it’s true! Colleen offers the best of the best of social media strategies and branding for ZAMs (Zoos, Aquariums, and Museums). And she’s a pro at organizing her thoughts in a coherent, digestible way.
  2. Museumgeek, Suse Cairns: I came upon Suse’s blog last spring and was so inspired that I basically forced her to befriend me (thankfully she obliged.) Suse combines old & new theories with fresh thoughts on digital collections, always challenging assumptions and making you think. You won’t be able to resist joining the conversation.
  3. Thinking about exhibits, Ed Rodley: Ed has established quite the following with his always helpful posts on exhibit design (& much on digital in exhibits). He’s great at aggregating information around recent trends and offering his own opinions based on years of exhibit design experience.
  4. The Museum of the Future, Jasper Visser: Jasper has a knack for cutting through the fuss and distilling the main points that we as a field need to be latching onto…and often in pleasant, easy-to-read lists. It’s no wonder he’s embarking on new adventures to evangelize…well, the museum of the future!
  5. OpenCulture, Nick Poole: The UK-based Collections Trust blog has been a huge inspiration for me and my research on the open web, collections, and issues of authority in museums. I always save reading Nick’s posts for when I know my brain is ready to absorb deeply relevant and challenging points about digital collections.
  6. Museum 2.0, Nina Simon: What makes being a museum studies student fun? You’re repeatedly given Museum 2.0 as required reading. It’s been such a joy to follow along on her journey as a museum director, where she’s able to implement her participatory ideals while working through the day to day challenges of director-hood — yet she still maintains this site as a personal space to share her real opinions, no holds bar.
  7. Daniel Incandela: Daniel’s another blogger that inspired me so much that it compelled me to tell him so, and nicely enough he’s since humored me in other blogging ventures (thanks Daniel!) While his blog is probably the least relevant to my current research in digital collections, his background in the museum technology field still shines through as he shares his creativity and social media savvy in heartwarmingly transparent posts. One of the few blogs that has repeatedly made me cry, in good ways. (True story.)
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