Opposing viewpoints laid out at Smithsonian 2.0 Forum

Earlier this afternoon I attended the Smithsonian 2.0 Forum, a follow-up event to January’s Smithsonian 2.0 Gathering. The Forum, webcast from the Smithsonian 2.0 website, presented three points of concern and opposing arguments for each point. The three points of contention: Access to Everything versus Controlled Content; Structure versus Freeedom; and Free Access versus Fee-based Access, where less contested than I expected. A couple comments stuck with me and are making me re-think my own opinion (which is that we can make our collections and our knowledge infinitely more accessible and sustain that access without being reckless in either our approach or our choices.)

First comment: knowledge is increasing at such a rapid pace that keeping web-delivered content up to date is an extremely challenging and expensive task, perhaps too much so. Wow, so true. We could try to address this reality by ourselves, or we could collaborate with other centers of expertise to do so. The former is very costly. Frankly, I think that knowledge is moving forward more and more rapidly specifically because the knowledge creators are collaborating more deeply and more often, using the Internet and 2.0 type technology. If the pace of knowledge development is driven by the collaboration and sharing of expertise via the Internet, should we be looking at a similar model to get the word out about the breakthroughs and new developments we are part of? Maybe others who find themselves in the same shoes?

Second comment: we (one of the museums) asked teachers what they wanted and they replied that what they really wanted was a space to meet up with other teachers, to collaborate with each other and find ways to incorporate the knowledge and content we had available on the web. This, I think, should be a core strategy. To create spaces where content-seekers can connect with our collections and with other content seekers. Where motivated individuals can work together to come up with innovative and effective ways to apply SI’s content knowledge and expertise in ways we haven’t thought of yet..

Both of these ideas are about “how.” It seems that somewhere along the way, whether or not we use 2.0 tools to acquire and disseminate knowledge has been decided and that we are moving into the realm of “how” and “how much”. Check out the webcast for yourself and comment back.

2 thoughts on “Opposing viewpoints laid out at Smithsonian 2.0 Forum

  1. Great article and follow-up to SI 2.0, Matt. Personally, I think that SI should invest in developing and promulgating free web tools compatible with standard commercial online services which allow users to exploit, explore, and expand the collections, research, and publications (including lay-oriented publications such as exhibit text).
    These tools should also be shared throughout the museum and nonprofit communities via GNU licenses on open source communities like Omeka so that standards can be built upon and extended in the most resource-conscious way. Everything should begin from standardized, modular bases. SI has the resources, knowledge, and bully pulpit to lead the way to such an initiative
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