Washington Post Discovers Smithsonian 2.0

The Washington Post did a story on the Smithsonian 2.0 event. Condensing the two plus days of activity into a traditional print journalism article with limitations of space, coming out two days after the event, etc., was a difficult task. Already, readers have been providing some feedback on the Post’s website, so that will help expand the coverage. So, for those of you who were at the event, particularly our invited guests, please do take a look at the piece and add some first hand impressions to supplement the story!

8 thoughts on “Washington Post Discovers Smithsonian 2.0

  1. Here’s some thoughts on the article.
    I think we all know we need to do a better job presenting our digital assets pan-SI. The whole notion that curators need to step aside is silly though. Without proper expertise applied to organizing and indexing collections the assets may as well be invisible. It’s one thing to digitize and publish something – allowing it to be found by others is another.
    As for how it could look, Loren at Archives of American Art pointed me to the Tate Collection as an example:
    http://www.tate.org.uk/collection/
    I think we could improve on this functionality but I like that it’s a Tate product that’s separate from the workings of the museum itself (visitor info, schedules etc…)
    The conference was really inspiring, thanks.
    Design it, build it, populate it!
    Toby
    ______________________________________________
    Toby Dodds
    Webmaster, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
    Technology Director, Smithsonian Folkways
    Smithsonian Institution
    202-633-6461 – voice
    doddst@si.edu
    http://www.smithsonianglobalsound.org
    http://www.folkways.si.edu
    http://www.folklife.si.edu

  2. Was he really saying “step aside, curators?” I didn’t think so. I took Anderson’s talk as a call for enabling new ways of interacting on top of and in addition to the old ways.
    After all, Wired magazine still has a print version with cover stories, but they ALSO have a web version where users determine popularity of a story and can leave their questions and comments.
    The Smithsonian needs curators to continue the good work they have always done, but we also need a mandate from our leadership telling us that the time has come to throw open the doors and start a bigger, messier, more dynamic dialogue with our online audience.

  3. @Toby:
    I don’t think anyone is actually asking the curators to step aside. The reality is, however, that it is impossible for the Smithsonian to hire everyone that may have a particular bit of information on any particular piece. Opening up the discussion to the outside so that additional experts can contribute would be an enormous benefit to your collections.
    As for the validity of the data coming in, we all know experts in a given field, on a subject, etc. who, when introduced to new data that may run counter to their beliefs or work, shut out the new info. This is not about giving up control as there is really no replacing the curator as the authoritative voice. This is about enabling the curator to take in new information that may help them paint a more complete picture!
    The goal here is to allow the world to find your treasures and contribute to them, and SI’s work, in a meaningful way. I meant it in the closing remarks when I stated that I am excited about helping SI figure out the best next steps to achieve this and help reach out to a new generation of museum patrons.
    Chris Melissinos

  4. Personally, I’d love to work with curators. The question that I posed in “What’s Next?” is how do we encourage them to participate? This is an important first step if we’re going to be successful.

  5. The strategy talks about an updated digital experience, a new learning model that helps people with their “lifelong learning journeys,” and the creation of a Smithsonian Commons—a new part of our digital presence dedicated to stimulating learning, creation, and innovation through open access to Smithsonian research, collections and communities.

  6. I think we all need to know what we pan a better job representing our digital assets-do SI. The whole idea that the curators have to withdraw, but stupid. Without the proper knowledge to use in organizing and indexing a collection of assets may be invisible. It’s one thing to digitize and publish anything – is it possible to find other differently.

  7. The Smithsonian needs curators to continue the good work they have always done, but we also need a mandate from our leadership telling us that the time has come to throw open the doors and start a bigger, messier, more dynamic dialogue with our online audience.

  8. The goal here is to allow the world to find your treasures and contribute to them, and SI’s work, in a meaningful way. I meant it in the closing remarks when I stated that I am excited about helping SI figure out the best next steps to achieve this and help reach out to a new generation of museum patrons.

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