Monday 30 November 2009

Post-NDF thoughts

Best of 3 has been quiet for the past few weeks, mostly because I was pretty heavily involved with the National Digital Forum, where people from galleries, museums, archives, libraries, universities, polytechs and much more come together to talk about New Zealand's cultural heritage in the digital world.

The highlight of the conference presentations for me was, without a doubt, Daniel Incandela's keynote lecture. Some of his points that really resonated with me were:
  • Technology needs to reflect a personality
  • It's okay for content to step outside your comfort zone
  • It's okay to take risks
Another presentation that really hit a chord with me was Andy Neale from DigitalNZ, talking another the increasing cross-over and blurring between the physical and digital world, and physical and digital things. Today something - an object, a poem, a sentence spoken aloud - can have many manifestations, and be seen and used in many ways.

Julie Starr, journalist, blogger, and editor-in-residence at Wintec's school of media arts, has written a really interesting post on her Evolving Newsroom blog, looking at the similarities between issues and topics discussed at NDF, and issues and concerns around contemporary digital news media. In the post she concentrates on copyright, findability, digital and visual literacy, and the need to 'connect all the dots' (a big theme of the conference).

Talking with Julie after the conference, and mulling over things Daniel and Andy had said, it began to occur to me that collecting institutions who are describing and digitising their collections are increasingly moving into the position of publishers - not just in the sense of making books, or searchable online collections, but in terms of being able to reuse content for many different purposes, with different editorial voices being expressed and audiences being catered to.

Mash this up with emerging tools like Ziln, ArtBabble and Newspaper Club, and what might the opportunities be for collecting institutions to take risks, push content into new places, and give audiences a better sense of their personalities?

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