I was invited to be a panellist for Oxford ASPIRE's first knowledge sharing event on 13th November 2012, Living in the Digital World: Horizon Scanning for Museums (PDF). Oxford ASPIRE is a consortium of Oxford University Museums (the Ashmolean, Pitt Rivers, History of Science, Natural History Museums) and the Oxfordshire County Museums Service.
Our 16 delegates gathered at the Pitt Rivers Museum and questions and ideas began bubbling immediately over coffee. The event officially began with thoughts and provocations from our four expert panelists who gave their over-view of the key digital issues facing museums. Delegates and panelists then entered into a lively and illuminating conversation.' They've linked to podcasts and transcripts of the introductions in their post.
As part of opening session on the 'aims, plans and challenges of the Commodity Histories project and website' I led a card-sorting exercise aimed at finding out how potential scholars in the community of commodity historians would expect to find and interact with content and other scholars in the network. We prepared print-outs of sample content in advance and asked participants to sort them into groups and then label them. At the end of the workshop I presented the different headings the groups had come up with and discussed the different ways they'd organised the material.
While some work had been done on the site structure previously, the process was useful for understanding some of the expectations people had about the functionality and sociability of the site as well as checking how they'd expect the site to be organised. Various other presentations and discussion during the workshop reinforced the idea that the key task of the site is to enable contributors to add content easily and often, and tempered our expectations about how much scholarly networking would be visible as conversations on the site.