Workshop: Hacking and mash-ups for beginners at MCN2011

I ran a three and a half hour pre-conference workshop (abstract below) at MCN2011 on Hacking and mash-ups for beginners at MCN2011slides below, and I'm happy to share the exercises on request.

Have you ever wanted to be able to express your ideas for digital collections more clearly, or thought that a hack day sounds like fun but need a way to get started with basic web scripting? In this hands-on workshop you will learn how to use online tools to create interesting visualisations to explore a cultural dataset and create your own simple 'mash-up'.

The workshop will be a fun, supportive environment where you will learn by playing with small snippets of code. No scripting knowledge is assumed.

Paper: Playing with Difficult Objects – Game Designs to Improve Museum Collections

My paper for Museums and the Web 2011, Playing with Difficult Objects – Game Designs to Improve Museum Collections, is online and is also available in the printed proceedings.

Abstract: Crowdsourcing the creation, correction or enhancement of data about objects through games is an attractive proposition for museums looking to maximize use of their collections online without committing intensive curatorial resources to enhancing catalogue records. This paper investigates the optimum game designs to encourage participation and the generation of useful data through a case study of the project Museum Metadata Games that successfully designed games that created improved metadata for 'difficult' objects from two science and history museum collections.

Keywords: collections, games, crowdsourcing, objects, metadata, tagging

Cosmic Collections: Creating a Big Bang

A paper for Museums and the Web conference in Denver, April 2010.

Cosmic Collections: Creating a Big Bang


'Cosmic collections' was a Web site mashup competition held by the Science Museum in late 2009 to encourage members of the public to create new interfaces with newly accessible collections data prepared for the Cosmos & Culture exhibition. The paper reports on the lessons learned during the process of developing and running the competition, including the organisational challenges and technical context. It discusses how to create room for experimentation within institutional boundaries, the tools available to organise and publicise such an event on a limited budget, the process of designing a competition, and the impact of the competition. It also investigates the demand for museum APIs.

Keywords: experiment, collaboration, mashup, API, social media, exhibition, collections

My slides are also available on Slideshare and below. As in 2009, I helped facilitate the Museums and the Web 2010 Unconference.