I was most interested in Shirkey’s amatuerization of professions. And particularly interested in how this relates to history and Wikipedia. It seems the main issue we are facing here is the democratization of everything, which is precisely what has been touted as the benefit of the internet. I wonder if by creating standards and forums through which people can contribute to more scholarly websites, as talked about in Museum 2.0 article, we are creating a stratified virtual space that undemocratic in nature. I guess my main point is that for the institutions to effectively interact on the web, the process of democratization must be hindered in order to preserve an institution’s agency. Make sense? at all? I’m not sure it does, I just wonder if the structures we create online for access and participation are really smoke and mirrors assuming the main purpose of using the internet in the humanities is too connect with the public. Where people might have criticized museums and other cultural institutions in the late nineteenth century as forms of social control, what about the internet is remarkably different. I guess this is some attempt at a Marxist interpretation which I have no background in, so forgive me.
Shirky says “It is even true of the weblog world in general- dozens of webblogs have an audience of a million or more and millions have an audience of a dozen or less’ It’s easy to see this as a kind of failure. Who would want to be a publisher with only a dozen reader?” This quote struck me as interesting. Though on a slightly larger scale, perhaps 100 to 300 readers, academic press run books do not touch or influence a large number of readers, yet they are not considered a failure of publishing. And most readers of these academic run books are people who don’t seek them out on their own but are forced (perhaps required is a better word) to do so in a university situation. But of course print publishing (while small in scale in this case) comes with other advantages such as future citations in other scholarly works and peer review in scholarly journals. If a blog of small scale can create dense connections as Shirky writes because of its smallness, is it not creating a community of knowledge where people can interact and further discussion and thought about a particular topic, and isn’t this community more productive and beneficial than the communities created by readers of the same monograph?
In Clay Shirky’s keynote address at Smithsonian 2.0 he makes the point that we, as an online audience, rely on each other to dictate what is good or worth looking at. So what does this mean for online history sources who might not have the presence that juggernauts like wikipedia and youtube have? This also goes back to the case studies of public history websites that we looked at. What makes a history site reliable? How do you make a good site look good, without as we noticed publishing a book, journal article, etc.?
One of my goals with my website was to create an easier way for me to communicate with people I wished to interview or have involved in my research. In a sense, I was working towards creating a community for my research involving scholars, amateur historians and actual participants in the civil rights/ Black Power movements. I think I naturally assumed that everyone I would be dealing with would have a basic computer literacy in terms of knowing how to find a website, email, open an attachment, but I’m finding this is not always the case.
I have to agree that it is mush easier to do the research I want to do with the current technology. I think it may be unrealistic of me, however, to think that I can build this group I had envisioned when so many of those involved (especially the senior citizens, age 65+) are not as computer literate as I would have expected. In some cases, I think there may even be instances of technophobia where the internet can be seen as something negative, invasive and at the least, to be suspicious of.
I like Shirkey’s book because it speaks to me. I wonder if there is an assumption on his part, like mine, that ‘everybody is doing it’ when that would only mean people below the age of 65, who have means, a certain level of education, etc..
Wanted to give you a bit more information about Google Analytics (plus the link). To implement Google Analytics for your site, you’ll sign up for the service: when you’ve finished signing up, Google will give you some code to paste into your website, as described on the page “How do I add tracking code to my website?” (The process is similar to the process for embedding videos and Google Maps.)
For your particular Omeka sites, you’ll want to add the tracking code into the footer. In your FTP program, navigate to the “themes” folder. Within the theme you’re using, navigate to the folder “common” and download the file “footer.php”. Open that file with a text editor and paste the tracking code that Google Analytics gave you just above the </body> tag. Be sure the Google Analytics code includes your Google Analytics account number, which was given to you during the signup process. Save the file and upload it to the server, overwriting the previous file. Naturally you’ll need to wait a day or so to start seeing any statistics; you’ll visit your Google Analytics account on the web to see the statistics. You can set your Analytics account to e-mail you a stats report regularly, if you like — that’s what we do for http://aphdigital.org. Here’s a sample report in PDF form: Analytics_aphdigital.org_20091009-20091108
See also the Omeka screencasts at http://omeka.org/codex/Screencasts — the two on Modifiying Themes: Navigation and Header and Basic PHP will help (modifying the footer is pretty much the same as modifying the header).
Just wanted to follow up on something we touched on in class — Michael Lascarides of the New York Public Library recently tweeted that “NYPL.org visits from mobile phones are skyrocketing! Up 7x in last 18 months.” It’s definitely a trend to watch; more and more people have smart phones that let them browse the web. Designing websites for mobile phones is a whole art in itself, and it takes time and labor to make a site mobile-friendly (sigh). Personally, I think that while people will definitely want to access basic information such as hours of operation from their phones, they won’t necessarily want or need to do real research or visit online exhibits on their phone — but that’s just a theory. I think we can wait awhile to worry about making special mobile-phone-friendly online finding aids, for instance!
Is there anyway to show location(s) on a map on the site after it has been loaded? Second question, can we add forms for feedback or contributions (not money) on Omeka?
In response to the readings on the audience and thinking about our projects and the rest of the class so far, I’m wondering if the emphasis on promotion and marketing is necessary, especially for smaller sites like ours. Given the Long Tail logic (or maybe not even so remote for many of us), is it enough to just make our sites efficiently search-able and trust that people who need to use it or want to see it will find it? How active of a project does targeting your audience have to be, particularly for projects like ours?
Web Statistics Exercise:
Break up into pairs and look through these web statistics for Fales Library & Special Collections’s finding aids: http://dlibdev.nyu.edu/awstats/awstats.pl?config=fales-findingaids. Answer these two questions:
1) What is the most interesting statistic for you, and why?
2) Based on these statistics, can you come up with an idea that Fales might adopt to better serve its audience? (This can be a change to their site, to their finding aids, or to their in-person service, or anything you like.)
One useful tool is the Whois.net IP Lookup tool at http://tools.whois.net/whoisbyip/ .
Note too that Fales’s statistics increased fourfold after Kelsi Evans added links to Fales finding aids in relevant Wikipedia articles. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Beetstra/Archivists and http://lib.byu.edu/sites/interactivearchivist/case-studies/wikipedia-at-uw/ for some discussion of this practice.
Bernstein and Caruth’s timeline documenting the Brooklyn Museum’s creation of an online community demonstrates the museum’s genuine investment in improving visitor experience and responding to visitor feedback. Rather than incorporating technology for technology’s sake, the Brooklyn Museum employed Web 2.0 tools, such as cell phones, podcast series, social networking, and interactive features on their website, to successfully “extend the Museum visit” and serve its current audience more fully, while also mananging to reach out to new ones. I found the idea of blurring the distinction between off and online experiences and communities really interesting — the web brings people together, but it doesn’t do so outside of the physical world and it was the museum’s ability to collapse off and online visits that made their use of technology so intriguing. While our projects are much smaller in scale than the exhibits at the Brooklyn Museum, I wonder how they can move offline and foster community or use already established communities to foster discussion online.