My Take Aways from #UKMW11

First of all: This years UK Museums on the Web Conference was amazing.  It was such a vibrant energetic day. I met lots of new people as well as lots of my old favourites, and new favourites and well just my favourites. I really love the sector I work in. I really enjoyed the day and will be focusing on some of the elements discussed for a good while yet.  Having said that, the whole day was a bit of a blur, from the 4.15am start to the whole having to present, and having to present with a chap who likes to talk (eloquently) lots, blowing all time allotments out the window (I am mentioning no names…), I may have set a new record for speed talking and starved my brain of oxygen. It was a brilliant blur nevertheless.  Well done to everyone involved.

Starting off the day was Ross Parry.  It is always a pleasure to listen to Ross, he oozes calm intelligence, and takes the listener on a journey of quiet enthusiasm.  Quiet enthusiasm is always the most captivating.  I bet his lectures are amazing. Anyway.  Ross explained that the day was about innovation, resetting and overall a brighter future.

So here are my take aways:

  • What’s the difference between museums and Ikea? (meatballs) From Mark O’Neill, Head of Innovation and Delivery, at the Government Digital Service.  I quite liked Mark’s key principles for transforming public services to digital because well the digital user experience of mandatory public services is pretty crummy.  Principles:
    • Digital by Default
    • Putting users first
    • Learning from the journey
    • Building a network of trust
    • Moving barriers aside
    • Creating an environment for technology to flourish
    • Don’t do everything yourself.

Some principles that are worthy of any digital project, whatever the sector.  It is always interesting bringing in a keynote from left field from outside the sector, just to shake us up.  But If I’m honest, I think he was already preaching to the converted.  Oonagh Murphy has a more comprehensive synopsis of Mark’s presentation over on her blog. I don’t know if his comparison to online searching on Ikea vs the Getty Museum was intended to provoke or inspire, so I’ll just leave it at that.

  • Pallant house has a really nice website. Peter Pavement, Surface Impression and Marc Steene, Pallant House Gallery were up first in the Getting it right from the start section.  I was up next, so unfortunately missed most of this talk from sheer panic.  But they have a very nice website, and the idea about intensive collaboration between all partners sounds ace.

(Tom and I were next; I’ll blog about that separately.)

  • Action research is awesome.  Even if it is about Metrics. Jane Finnis, Chief Executive of Culture24 spoke about ‘Let’s Get Real: How to Evaluate Online Success’ and that to succeed in the future Jane advocated that museums have to embrace both agile working, and failure.
  • If the answer is an app……What was the question? Nuff said.
  • Building solid foundations for inter departmental digital projects from Alex Bromley, Rhiannon Loosley and Matthew Rose, Museum of London.  I really like both of case study applications they discussed in their presentation (the picture bank and pocket histories) because they are lovely. But more than that I really like that MoL were working with sustainability and future proofing in mind, whether it was from getting support from senior management early on or integrating data management cross departmentally, future proof thinking was key.  Then there is the awesomeness of the ability to re-purposing and re-using the same content in different departments.  A magic box indeed is the CIIM (did I get the acronym right Rhi?)
  • IWM is basically awesome. Carolyn and her New Media team are doing some spiffing stuff when it comes to digital projects (both present tense and forthcoming). Luke Smith and Giv Parveneh, IWM, spoke about the insanely good ‘Lives of the Great War.  Despite working on a project with IWM, I’m actually terrified of War Museums, mostly the content, rather than the people who work there; but projects like this one are making me suppress my deep rooted fears.  Lives of the Great War aims to piece together the life stories behind thousands of names on war memorials in Britain.  Luke and Giv explained the rich stories that have come from crowdsourcing across digital platforms and across archives.  Its amazing the information you can find, when you ask for help.
  • Become a meta data liberator. Genius. I’ve never really got metadata. I’m a mucky pup, and an impatient one of that, the idea of categorisation and data cleaning, and lots and lots of meta data, will normally bore me, and then irritate me.  Its ten times worse, because its really important, which makes me more irritated that I can’t do it properly.  However. Seth van Hooland, Max De Wilde, and Ruben Verborgh from Free your Meta Data  are awesome. They made meta data interesting!  Watch the video! Watch the video!
  • Create beautiful things to view beautiful things.  Joesph Padfield from the National Gallery talked about using IIPImage to manage high resolution images.

all in all a pretty excellent day.

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4 thoughts on “My Take Aways from #UKMW11

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