Museums and the Weblog 2009

I have this theory that if I procrastinate long enough, I’ll be able to write an old style post on Museums and the Web (MW2009) that simply indexes everyone else’s blog posts.

Meanwhile, here are the things that remain in my mind. When fellow New Zealand (and other) MW2009-ers unpack their thoughts, we can join them up for a fuller picture.

Sites of interest

There were many, not all digital. Some I came across through (face-to-face) conversations, so you may not find them featured in the conference proceedings

Papers I’m going to read (more deeply)

Presenting at a conference means you spend some amount of time either preparing for your talk, giving your talk, or running around like a headless chicken trying to find a printer to spit out your notes.

Now that I’m not doing any of those things, these papers are top of my list to return to. Click on the square paper icon to view:

Here is the DigitalNZ presentation. It’s a bit abstract without someone talking alongside it. I also need to do something about the videos which were a significant component and currently show as blank slides.

UPDATE 29 April: Slides, with links to video embedded, now on slideshare. Download presentation includes brief notes.

Random thoughts from other events

While colleagues from Te Papa and Auckland Museum took care of the museum-y and visitor experience side of things, I tried to interoperate with others doing API and open data stuff.

There’s a definite movement going on, and I’m looking forward to DigitalNZ and our community being part of it.

  • Geo-coding data in our location fields. We have a lot of names of places, some a bit messy. But tools (and people) exist to help us start improving that – and feeding it back to our content providers if they want the data.
  • Persistent Identifiers. Still a hot topic, but hard to move to action. What role for DigitalNZ there? How to build on work such as this? How to extend beyond our national boundaries?
  • Dublin Core may be a way to achieve interoperability among APIs (if such a thing is desirable). We need to write up our data dictionary & specs for others to see, including our advice to content providers.
  • a Wiki for people interested in cultural heritage and APIs and open data and things – a good place to share information around open data in cultural heritage institutions.
  • of interest us as we try to give consistent encoding advice for DigitalNZ Sitemap XML harvest providers.
  • Multi touch experiences and DigitalNZ API integration. Geo-coded data might help.
  • Should we be providing the DigitalNZ data in RDF XML format too?

If it’s not on Flickr it didn’t happen?

Judging by the size of the MW2009 pool, this is probably true. The whole conference kit and caboodle here.

A few of my photos here.

By the end of April I'm going to try and make a stereoscope iPod viewer with some colleagues.

Pertinent tweets (no, that is not an oxymoron)

Luckily I am of the generation that can simultaneously listen to a speaker, read a powerpoint, and follow a wall of twitter.

I’m afraid my favourite tweet (‘Yay, my panties are going to #MW2009' from @PantyGirl) disappeared too quickly for me to photograph it.

Nonetheless, reading the #mw2009 hashtag summary will give you a good sense of the zeitgeist – which trended for a while (at least until Susan Boyle sang like Elaine Page).

What you don’t get though is a sense of the real software-peopleware convergence. So many ‘question times’, for example, began with ‘yeah, so I just tweeted this, but maybe you can answer ….’ 

  • @mia_out impromptu museum API meetup during icecream bit in Cosmo at #mw2009. Come along and say hello if interested in making or using museum APIs
  • @briankelly Similar API buzz at #mw2009 RT @paulwalk : APIs are good; work in all kinds of contexts; help developers Get Stuff Done. 3 cheers for APIs!
  • @musebrarian What can you do with a semantic knowledgebase? Search for "beard fashion in Finland" across time and place. #mw2009
  • @georginab ninaksimon: Don't try to change visitor behavior, think about what they ALREADY do in your museum and how you can intervene. #mw2009
  • @mia_out would 'Star Trek as the A Team' be too frivolous an example of re-used content mashed up? #mw2009
  • @georginab Tate kids has re-written the standard terms and conditions for their web site into kid-friendly language - what a great idea! #mw2009 (
  • @anarchivist dear digitalnz: I have such a geek crush on you. please bring me out to visit and/or hire me. :) #mw2009


It was a privilege to represent the work we have all (content providers, team, developers, everyone) done on Digital New Zealand – and I hope many conversations come out of the connections Museums and the Web has afforded us.

I even got my own moment of stardom (yes, I’m proud my tweet was about metadata). OK, so a Best of the Web Award for DigitalNZ would have been nice – but then we’d have no reason to return next year, would we?