Report from a workshop on UGC

Earlier this week, our Product Developer David Haskiya spent two days at a workshop in Vienna. Here are some of his impressions:

The purpose of the workshop was for projects and persons associated with Europeana to discuss the best ways for museums, libraries and archives to make heritage online a two-way street. Based on projects already done and projects planned we discussed the best ways to let users, contribute to digital heritage.  There were a lot of projects presented and I can’t introduce all of them in this post, so I’ll make a selection of some that I found especially interesting or thought-provoking. Here are three workshop presentations and what I took away from them:

1001 Stories of Denmark

1001 Stories Denmark

This community site allows anyone to mark a spot on the map of Denmark and tell a story about it. It could be anything from the old farmhouse your family hails from or your favourite runestone! The stories you tell can take any form: text, photos, video and recordings. You can not only create places of your own but also add stories to existing places or comment and discuss them with other community members.

Project lead and Community Manager Mette Bom shared some of her secrets of success:
•    Nurture your community: Always encourage, provide feedback and affirm their contributions.
•    Sharing is caring: From the beginning make your content open, shareable (through social bookmarking, APIs and widgets) and indexable by search engines.

Another thing I took away was that by outsourcing design, development and maintenance of your community site you can then focus on community management, the core business, and with quite small resources. The permanent staff for 1001 Stories is just two persons!

And, finally let me just say I’m looking forward to getting those 1001 Stories into Europeana!!!

Wiki Loves Monuments

Wiki Loves Monuments

This project is all about engagement with buildings and archaeological monuments. The project encourages people to take photos and upload them to Wikimedia Commons. Those photos are then free to use for anyone and will  also be used to illustrate  Wikipedia articles. The pan-European project is based on a project run in the Netherlands last year which resulted in over over 10 000 photos taken and shared! I think this is a great way to reach out to individuals and communities and work together with them.

Museum Games and UGC: Improving Collections Through Play

Dora Lost Data game

Mia Ridge from the Open Universities presented on how games can be used not only to let people play, but also to improve museum collections by doing so. Based on two games, Dora’s Lost Data and Donald’s Detective Puzzle, she’s made and by researching other museum games she presented the conclusions she’s drawn on the best practices for museum games. One of the many conclusions she’s drawn is that when you design your museum games you have to appeal to your users’ procrastination – they should want to keep returning to the game (“Just one more round!”) and yet feel that they’re contributing to the museum. Check out her presentation for more gaming wisdom!

The Dora and Donald games are developed as a WordPress plug-in. The plug-in is Open Source so you can contribute to its development and implement museum games yourself. Right now you can use museum objects from the Powerhouse Museum, the Science Museum, CultureGrid, and Europeana. And a final note: while they’re called museum games there’s nothing stopping you from using archival objects or items from special library collections in these games!

Ok, so those were my three special mentions. If you’d like to check out all the presentations they’ll be made available on the workshop website. Also there was a lot of tweeting so you can also check out this archive of tweets or just search Twitter with the #ugc4glam hashtag.

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