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User generated content @ THATCamp

March 25, 2011

So here I am at THATcamp Florence, and I actually proposed a session on user-generated content.  You see, I am working on this here virtual exhibit on the history of technology in Europe from 1850 to the present.  It is a collaborative effort with a number of cultural heritage partners, but for a number of reasons, we think it will be important to enable users to generate and add items, comments (stories), tags, links, etc.  There are plenty of good reasons to do this:

1) such content will help us to show and explore the way various groups of people both currently and in the past have appropriated technologies

2) it can help add voices that are not represented by our research or the collections of our partners

3) it can help to enrich the content of our partner collections

4)it’s cool.  You can get some great things going, especially at the local level.

While we do think it is important to add content, we are also creating a site based on up-to-date skilled historical research, and that is authority we feel we should maintain, BUT we also want to make it transparent and bring it into dialogue with other forms and spaces of knowledge;

We don’t really have time/resources to monitor every addition – especially if there are potentially comments/users from all over Europe.

There are options we are working on developing, and questions we are encountering:

1) allowing user log-ins, to allow them to save trajectories, notes, links, possibly objects, but not publish them without permission.

2) move the user-generated platform outside the exhibit platform, onto place like facebook.  Projects like this one seem to have great promise.  But how do we bring this effectively into dialogue with our own site?  What would be the best platforms for this?

3) how do we deal with the language issue?

You can either leave comments below, (which I will add to the summary of the session –  after monitoring) or post them – or anything else on the facebook page

but of course, the main thing is to have a chat.

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