Monday, April 30, 2007

Digital collections & Web 2.0

As we become more comfortable with Web 2.0 tools, we are seeing them be used on sites that hold digital collections. Case in point, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN. The Walker Art Center has placed pieces of several collections online. Some can be viewed under Collections while others are in an online space called Gallery 9. What Web 2.0 tools are on the site?
  • Blogs --There are six blogs that focus on different aspects of the Center and its mission. Here staff can communicate quickly and informally with the Center's patrons and visitors. (There is even a blog post about a Brewster Kahle speech.) Comments are allowed, giving readers a way of providing additional information or feedback.
  • Podcasts -- These are available on the Internet and by telephone. Obviously, these are truly meant to be heard on one's cell phone while the person is viewing the work live. Not all of the works that have podcasts are available online, but some are (for example).
  • E-mail Reminders -- How often do we see something on an event calendar that we forget to write down? The Center provides an easy way for people to receive an e-mail reminder about any specific upcoming event.
  • Webcasts -- They are recording lectures and panel discussions for use on their web site after the fact. (BTW An upcoming panel is Becoming an Internet Phenomenon.) Those interested in these events may not be able to attend due to a time conflict or geographic distance. By using webcasts, the Walker Art Center is extending the reach of these events.
  • RSS Feeds --There are RSS feeds for different sections of the web site including the webcasts. With RSS, there is no need to go to the web site constantly to find new content. Some of the content can come right to you.
The result?
  • Those who are interested in the Walker Art Center are more knowledgeable about its activities and events.
  • Some digital collections become more "three-dimensional" with the addition of audio and video.
  • People feel more engaged with the Center and its work. We would hope that if people feel more engaged that they are then more supportive of the Center financially.
More institutions need to challenge themselves on adding Web 2.0 tools so that they can reach out and interact with their patrons more. Every tool does not fit every situation, so an institution will need to select those tools that truly fit its needs.

5/1/2007: A commenter notes that the links are "broken." The Walker Art Center site seems to be totally down. Hopefully it will be back up soon. 11:15 a.m. -- Site is back up! Nate @ Walker said they suffered a block-wide power outage.

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Anonymous said...

Links are broken.

Nate said...

Indeed we were down - there was a huge block-wide power failure last night that left us in serious disarray. I've been scrambling all morning getting our systems back up and running, and all should be well now.

Thanks for the great writeup on the Walker's web efforts - sorry to "break" all your links right as your post went up!

Nate (Walker Webmaster)