Hi All,


Some interesting blog posts from David Milne, manager of Strategic Learning
at the Queensland Museum.  I have been working closely with David in trying
to get access to some of QM's extensive collection of public domain
photographs and other media, and I think this could be a useful little
primer for anyone who is thinking of jumping in and doing the same with one
of their local institutions:




"We certainly live in interesting (and rapidly changing) times. There is a
loud and significant clarion call from Commonwealth and State governments to
digitise collections to enable free public access to our cultural assets. As
Senator Kate Lundy stated in her address at the GLAM-Wiki conference in
Canberra in August, this is the 'default position of the government'. This
implies the GLAM sector adopting a spirit of openness, sharing and
connectedness. Other inducements to participate in an open access,
communication revolution include: the Government 2.0 Taskforce initiative,
the Government Information Licensing Framework (GILF) and the need to
respond, in this state, to the Queensland 2020:Ideas to Action in order to
facilitate 'universal access to our arts and cultural assets'.


"Back at 'Reality Ranch' many GLAM sector institutions are contending with
multiple challenges, not least of which are retaining staff during
financially challenging times and maintaining traditional visiting audience
numbers. Developing a policy for the use of social media (or helping to
reduce your institution's carbon footprint) may be mere peripheral points on
the strategic planning radar. Other contributory forces which contribute to
a state of partial inertia (in terms of the adoption of social media and
digitisation strategies) lay partly with curatorial staff and the IT staff
responsible for internet security. There are naturally honourable exceptions
to this generalisation; this observation is far from being a slight on their
good work. However, curators and IT gurus have reasons for maintaining the
'status quo'; changing the role of curatorial expert to facilitator can be
challenging for some (and anecdotally, liberating for others). Responding to
public comments made after uploading digitised photographs of collections
onto FLICKR or Wikimedia Commons is a tremendous form of social engagement
for example, but this is thought to be time-consuming by sceptical staff.
Raising the defensive internet screening barriers even higher is also an
understandable response from people responsible for protecting the integrity
of the data held on servers, which are subject to attack by a minority of
the public with malevolent intent.


"My personal view is that it is prudent to develop an understanding of the
reasons why some GLAM sector institutions are not moving forward in
embracing social media strategies at the pace advocates would like, and
external government directives demand. There needs to be better
understanding of institutional workplace culture and any arterial blockages
to progress before a remedial stent is applied. Resolutions to 'clear the
barricades' include the social media pioneers demonstrating to others in the
GLAM sector the pathways they chose, illustrating how the views of sceptics
were won over and internal incumbrances overcome. A large dollop of
assertive leadership and having 'champions for the cause' in high places are
essential. The benefits of engaging in opening up public access to
collections and interacting with the public using various forms of social
media has to be seen to outweigh the reasons for 'defending the fort'. To
that end there are some great ideas being shared around on the CAN site and
I hope, in time, through MANEXUS."


David has also made an interesting post on Brianna's "Museums and Wikipedia"
group at Ning (http://museum30.ning.com/group/museumswikimedia ):


"Post GLAM-Wiki conference, a really helpful and positive relationship has
been established between the Queensland Museum and a member of the
Queensland Wikimedia community. Uploading a small sample of copyright free
photographs from the museum's extensive collection onto Wiki Commons has
been a slow process. This is not technically challenging, but ensuring that
in-house policies and procedures are met requires considered thought.


"I have written a blog over on MANEXUS which sheds some light on broader
issues which the GLAM sector have to contend with in relation to the
adoption of various forms of social media which may be of interest,
particularly to the Wikimedia community."


It has certainly been my experience so far that institutions are really
eager and excited at the idea of sharing their material with us (and with
the world at large), but that internal procedures and policies are to an
extent hindering that goal.  For instance, it has taken some weeks for QM to
work out how they are going to reconcile their internal file naming policy
with Commons' file naming policy.


This list has been a bit quiet, so I figured I'd throw this out there for
discussion and further comment!



Craig Franklin

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