Posts Tagged ‘Flickr’

Crafty ways to communicate: Catrina Vignando

Craft Australia is using social media as a gateway to its collection while it researches how to put the collection on its own website. The peak body uses Flickr to host part of the National Historical Collection and is systematically digitising images dating back to the 1960s. Another Flickr set is trying to crowdsource funding for image preservation.

General manager Catrina Vignando has been experimenting with the opportunities the Internet has to offer Craft Australia since 2003. Their first foray into Web 2.0 was with open access journals and online forums – the former provided a place for researchers and practice-based artists to be published with academic rigeur. The forums offered a chance for artists and arts workers to form a community and share ideas.

Ian Mowbray, Spine Platter 2, 1988, Flickr / Craft Australia, (c)

One of the most successful projects is the National Forums that are held every two years. Ms Vignando set them up to overcome the issue of geographic isolation and to open-up possibilities to connect with international audiences. right way: the future of indigenous craft uses the Ning network to host conference videos and discussion forums. Youth@craft·design: Creating and making a living in the arts today was the focus in 2006 and in 2004 Craft Australia looked at contemporary craft in a digital future.


Social media and online collections in Gippsland: Linda Barraclough

The Stratford Historical Society and Museum and Maffra Sugar Beet Museum join Old Gippstown (Heritage Park) in uploading their collection to CAN. This great achievement is due to the dedication and vision of Linda Barraclough who supports a number of collections in Central Gippsland. Ms Barraclough has developed an online strategy to promote the stories behind the collections through her four blogs and various social media applications.

What is your online strategy to promote the collection?
I come from the craft sector where blogging is very popular. There’s a very strong community of people who look at others’ work and comment on others’ work. It’s a very visual form of blogs, not perhaps like the political blogs that rarely have illustrations. So, I run four blogs — two for Old Gippstown. One is just a general cataloguer’s blog to let people know what we’re up to. One, which is Old Gippstown Object of the Week, which is inspired by the absolutely glorious “Powerhouse Museum Object of the Week” blog, and a a blog for Stratford, and a blog for Maffra.

In what other ways do you promote collection items through social media?
Backing up the blogs, we need to have Flickr pages that actually host our photographs. As part of that, you form groups. One of the groups that we have there is Objects in Australian Museums: Help Needed. We post mystery objects there in the hope that people can identify them. Sometimes it’s quite embarrassing. I posted one of this strange object that I found in the kitchen collection that I couldn’t work out what it was. Someone quite firmly said, “Do you realise that’s a hat pin stand?” There’s others, such as something that was catalogued here as a pasta maker that turned out to be a home shaver for an Edison phonograph but was rather beautiful. We posted that.

On the Maffra blog we just put a photograph up there with three young women in neck to knee bathing costumes. Beside it, we put up the scrawl on the back that we couldn’t quite decipher. I use the RootsWeb email lists a lot. We put it up on the Gippstown list and said, “Look, go and have a look at the scrawl. Go and have a look at the people. Can anyone recognise them?” and we finally decided, yes, this has got to be these two young women. A whole community of interest gets involved in things, and then they go off on a different red herring and bring back more information about them. The family historians are really wonderful for that sort of thing.


Do you find the audience is mainly in Gippsland or do you reach broader Australia?
We’ve got two sorts of audiences, or three sorts of audience to do with each of the different social media streams. RootsWeb, where we use the email, this is a bit like the CAN discussion list. That audience is anyone interested in Gippsland anywhere, so you’ll have people just as interested who are in Queensland, New Zealand, and Canada. The Flickr one is definitely international. People search that one, and you have to be very wise in what words you put in there, because you need to think what people are going to search by. So, if you put up a steam traction engine, you make sure you use that word “steam” and “traction” and people come, using a popular search engine, come streaming in on that.

We’ve been posting on the Old Gippstown blog about our tinsmithing collection that we’re going to have up soon. That would be one of the more searched for terms for our work here.

I’ll get up, and each morning when I check the stats, I’ll find some very obscure European countries, and a lot of Americans, and a few Canadians, Turkey, and Istanbul, and all that sort of thing, have been searching on the term “tinsmithing.” We’ve got an international audience. With the blogs, I can’t really define the audience yet, and it’s still developing. It’s still a growing thing.

Is this a paper clip? Or a Boone spa soda siphon?

What is the benefit of putting your collection on CAN
Within about the first week we had the email on, I opened my mailbox and I found an email from Ingrid that said, “We’ve got your connection up on CAN.” We ran up and down the corridors here screaming and dancing and no one could understand what we were carrying on about. It was the most wonderful thing to be able to turn on our computers here and suddenly see our stuff up there on CAN.

We’ve had a few times when we’ve run up and down the roads out there screaming. One of them was when we reunited a sewing machine with its base and getting the collection up on CAN was one of the others. We’ve only got, I think, 1,600 items up there. It’s a small part of the collection. We’ve got 7,500 objects in the catalog. We’ve had a couple of direct contacts from people who’ve got the same sort of thing, and said, “What can you tell me about my Boones Bar Soda Siphon?” and we’ve said, “Well, not a lot, but what can you tell us about yours?”

It’s got potential to bring in those sorts of relationships. We’re also hoping that people might look at it and say, “Well, that was my grandmother’s, and this is the story behind it.”

We started in 1968 and the recording of objects wasn’t good enough for us to have caught all the stories for everything that comes in. We’re hoping that people are going to see the objects and tell us the stories.

Links to culture in Central Gippsland
Gippsland Heritage Park Blog
Gippsland Heritage Park Cataloguers Blog
Stratford Historical Society and Museum Blog
Maffra Sugar Beet Museum Blog
Old Gippstown Flickr account
Old Gippstown Flickr group – public can upload pictures
Objects in Australian Museums – Help Needed Flickr group
Australasian Heritage Parks Flickr group

Photo at top: Old Gippstown Manager Michael Fozzard and Collection Management and Team Leader Linda Barraclough at the Heritage Park


Goulburn gallery uses Flickr to identify C17th painting

The Goulburn Regional Art Gallery is asking the Flickr community to help it research one of its 17th century paintings in its collection. It is a charming oil on wood donated to the gallery by a longtime Goulburn resident who believed it was a Claude Lorrian (1600 – 1682). Gallery director Jane Cush has found no evidence to prove that the painting was created by the French master and has decided to use citizen-research to confirm the artworks’ origins.

This is a great example of a gallery director admitting that they do not know the history of every item in their collection and see value in the community helping them. Many curators and gallery directors would believe a gallery’s standing would be jepoardised by admitting that they do not know everything, while others are using all the resources at their disposal to make their catalogue as up-to-date and accurate as possible.

If you have ever seen anything like it, please contact the gallery on +61 2 48234443.


The power of linking Flickr, Media and Blogs! : Jenny Scott

State Library of South Australia archivist Jenny Scott began scanning and uploading a set of images, titled RNZAF 6 Squadron 1943-45, onto her Adelaide Archivist Flickr photostream in March 2008. She currently has 148 black and white images of New Zealand Air Force members in the S.W. Pacific, revealing moments of camaraderie from men giving each other haircuts to posing for photos on their PBY Catalina Flying Boats and swimming off the coast of Ngella Sule in the Solomon Islands.

Before the death of Jenny’s father Alastair ‘Scotty’ Scott in 1993, they shared a project writing to 6 Squadron veterans and building on a collection of photographs Scotty had rescued at wars end. With the advantage of the internet and Flickr, Jenny returned to the unfinished project with the aim of sharing the results of their research with other families of the veterans, in the hope they could gain an appreciation of their father’s and grandfather’s wartime experience. In late August 2009, Jenny emailed the Wellington Dominion Post about the photos and they ran a front page story. Jenny could not have been prepared for the overwhelming response she received from publishing this material. Some would describe it as life-changing. Jenny has given us a little insight into how she is managing the success of the project.

Greasy Pole competition at Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands, 1945. Flickr / Adelaide Archivist


Since reading Liz Holcombe’s blog post on CAN, I had considered how , a related blog would inform and provide context to the Flickr photos. The rush of emails that followed publication of the newspaper story meant that I had to find a more efficient way of sharing information with those with an interest. Hits on my Flickr site had grown in 48 hours from an average of 200 per day to 15,000+ on the 28th of August, they settled back to 11,000+ on the 29th. Liz Holcombe’s CAN post was the inspiration for one answer, a 6 Squadron blog.

Beaching crew bring a RNZAF PBY-5 ‘Cat’ onto the hard at Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands, 1944-45. Photo courtesy of N.W. ‘Norm’ Brailey. Flickr/ Adelaide Archivist

Life has not been the same since, rising each morning to new emails that require a response and each evening replying to emails, adding to the blog or adding to content and description to the Flickr site. The collection has become central to the development of 6 Squadron’s history and has been indexed by DigitalNZ, I have been invited to address the NZ Association of Women in Aviation 50th anniversary meeting in June 2010 and to the NZ Air Force Museum (Christchurch) and RNZAF Auckland (the 2009 home of 6 Squadron), wrote an article for NZ Air Force News coming out in October, managed a debate between two families claiming the same Catalina Captain as their own, corresponded daily with families in NZ and Australia with all the records management implications of having 80+ correspondence streams – second job doesn’t describe it adequately – more like second life!

If you are interested or have any information on RNZAF No.6 F/B Squadron, please email Jenny Scott – she needs the records management practice!


The Archivist Social Club on Flickr

Building communities around special interests is what Flickr excels at. The State Library of South Australia content services librarian Jenny Scott has set up a Flickr social group for archivists around the world. Archivists are encouraged to upload photos of their peers. It could be a photograph of a staff member in the office or the VI European Conference on Archives dinner they went to in Firenze in 2001 or even at the COFSTA residential school in Bungendore in 1999. This means archivists can make contact with someone they had chatted to over coffee but never met again or they can approach a person they admire but have never had the chance to meet. Jenny does not want institutions or archival collections but the people responsible for the wonderful archival work that is done.

From May 30 to June 2 2001 the VI European Conference on Archives was held in Firenze, Italia. The archivist conference dinner was held in the courtyard of the Palazzo Pitti.
VI European Conference on Archives, May 30 to June 2 2001, Firenze, Italia. Conference dinner was held in the courtyard of the Palazzo Pitti. Flickr/Adelaide Archivist

Jenny has criteria Flickr members need to adhere to when uploading their photos: ‘It maybe educational or comic but never rude or illegal and it must be ARCHIVISTS. I know it goes without saying that a good archivist would not add an image without METADATA, not necessarily full DUBLIN CORE but WHO, WHAT, WHERE and WHEN are likely to make your images interesting and CREATIVE COMMONS licensing will make your photos sharable.‘

Members of the Australian Society of Archivists Beer Special Interest Group entertain Eric during the ASA conference in Adelaide, 2003. Flickr/Adelaide Archivist
Members of the Australian Society of Archivists Beer Special Interest Group entertain Eric during the ASA conference in Adelaide, 2003. Flickr/Adelaide Archivist

Like many cultural institutions, the State Library of South Australia has also uploaded its historic photographs to Flickr. Later this year in Brisbane Jenny will discuss the advantages of using Web 2.0 technology to build new audiences and allow the public to add information to the image descriptions at the Australian Society of Archivists Brisbane conference Voyaging Together.

Email Jenny if you would like to know anymore information about using Flickr or the archivist social group.


Guest writer: Liz Holcombe, Australian War Memorial

We have started to invite writers to regularly contribute to the CAN Outreach blog as we want the discussion forum to be the voice of the community. Our first guest is Australian War Memorial web manager Liz Holcombe who we interviewed last week about the AWM’s social media strategy. Liz uses the analogy of gardening to explain how she builds and maintains the Memorial’s online community.

Liz Holcombe

I like gardening, and really enjoy my vegie patch at home. I get to garden at work too. Here at the Australian War Memorial, we have been using social media in various forms for the last two and half years. Our first major foray was with blogs in late 2006. By early 2008 we had a Facebook page, a YouTube channel, and a presence on Flickr. In November 2008 we joined the Commons on Flickr, and in March 2009, joined Twitter.

One of the key things we have learned from this work is that you need to become a constant gardener, and gardening takes time. Gardening is the term I use to describe the constant activity that needs to happen on social media sites to keep them going. This means paying attention to comments, notes, fans, subscribers, and statistics (because someone will ask sooner or later what sort of result the site is yielding).

I like the word gardening because it is positive, organic and ultimately nourishing. Gardeners are constantly tidying, trimming, planting, weeding, dreaming and designing. Things never stay the same in a garden, and they don’t on the web either. And like in gardens, sometimes the changes are small and numerous and if you aren’t paying attention, you suddenly have a tangled jungle.

We have a few automatic ways of doing some of the gardening. When someone puts a new post on our blog, our Twitter page and our Facebook page automatically publish a link to the post. Comments are automatically emailed to blog authors, so the expert on the topic decides if the comment can be published, and if it needs a response. There is always someone in the web team keeping an eye on activity too, just in case the person who should be dealing with the comments is away.

Each day we spend time gardening on our various sites, looking at what is happening, reading what people say, responding to comments when it is appropriate, recording statistics and telling our colleagues what we learn. The demographic data that comes from Facebook and YouTube is invaluable, and the things that people share with us here have been surprising and sometimes touching. The photos that people take of the Memorial building and grounds and upload to our Flickr group create a unique visitor survey: some were taken in the 1960s. The reaction to the collection images on Flickr Commons has been incredible. One of the images, a striking portrait of an unidentified soldier from the First World War, has attracted particular interest, but no one has yet been able to help us work out who he was.

Unidentified soldier
An unidentified soldier. Do you know who he is?

Of course, there is some gardening that you don’t have to do on external sites that you have to do on your own website. You don’t have to make and manage the user interface. You don’t have to manage users’ emails and passwords or to provide help for people using the site: that is all done for you. On the downside, you have to accept what you find and live with it: if you don’t like the layout, or it does not work exactly the way you would like, you are not able to do much more than complain to the site owners, who are not obliged to do anything about it. It is a little like renting a house with a garden: you can’t really do a great deal to it, aside from maintaining it. If you own the garden though, you can pretty well do what you want. There are risks in using the external sites: is the site viable in the long term? What happens to your data if the site disappears? How do you do your record keeping if the activity if on some else’s server? How much do you need to record anyway?

Social media relies on participation, on two-way conversations: it is not enough to put something up and expect people to come. You have to work at it, keep on gardening, all the time. This is important, as once it was enough to just have the content on the website. Now we need to do more and allow more to happen with our content, largely because people are expecting more because of what they can do on other sites.

The major implication is that you have to work out how much activity you can support. The more care you can put into a site, the greater the return is likely to be, just like in a garden. You have to pick the best approach for the result you want, be prepared to work at varying speeds depending on the time or season, and remember that big things can grow from very small seeds. The trick is picking the seed that will flourish and ultimately bring a change to the garden. Social media is changing the way people use the web and that will inevitably change how museums operate on the web, and how the web is used by museums.

Guest writer Liz Holcombe, web manager, Australian War Memorial


Love and War at the Australian War memorial

The Australian War Memorial is canvassing the country for wartime love stories for an exhibition to be held at the end of this year. The material they collect on the “Australian War Memorial: love and war” Flickr group will set a romantic background for the museum’s collection of objects, photographs and artworks.

The wonderful selection of photos in this slideshow already raise questions about how people meet and how they keep a relationship going in spite of separation? And what impact loneliness and conflict have on a relationship long after the war has ended.

If you have any related material in your institution’s collection or even at home, please email web manager Liz Holcombe. Any images or letters you contribute will not be directly part of the exhibition and will not be used without your permission.

Sarah Rhodes


Best of the Web Awards @ Museums and the Web 2009

Museums and the Web is over for another year but the conference papers are still accessible. Here is the line-up of the best of the museum world’s online innovations with the Brooklyn Museum taking out the overall prize. Click here, to see more on the awards.

Best overall website
Brooklyn Museum collection
Panel says: not just because of what they have done (fantastic site)
but because they are pointing us in the direction we should all be
taking in the future.

Best on-line community or service
Brooklyn Museum Collection, Posse, and Tag! You are It!
Panel says: “The playfulness of “Tag! You’re it!” covers up a deep
understanding of what “the social web” is all about. Many other
museums are playing with web2.0, but none (IMO) are actually living
the social web in the way that Brooklyn are.

Honourable mention
Flickr Commons
Panel says: an excellent example of collaboration across both professional and community networks.

Best educational site
Tate Kids
Panel says: Wonderful interactivity.

Honourable mention
Firefly Watch, Museum of Science, Boston
Panel says: an excellent example of how to make a topic that is seemingly narrow into something engaging and fascinating.

Best online exhibition
Click! A Crowd-Curated Exhibition
Panel says: took a concept — “wisdom of the crowds” — and played it out.

Best innovative or experimental site
My Yard Our Message
Panel says: the quality of the final slogan boards were as good if not
better than a corporate ad agency.

Honourable mention
Astronomy Photographer of the Year (plus complimentary digital astronomy services)
Panel says: There are a couple of innovations here, especially the concept
of ‘astrotagging’ (instead of geotagging).

Best professional’s site
Panel says: knits together content, listings, resources and more.

Best podcast
RWM (Radio web MACBA)
Panel says: I like how they have organized the topics.

Best research site
Museum of Jewish Heritage Online Collection
Panel says:You can format the way the site is rendered.

Best small site
Museum 2.0
Panel says:anticipates the needs and questions of people all over the museum sector.

People’s choice
Video Active

Sarah Rhodes


Virtual-delegates at the Museum and the Web 2009

For those who cannot attend the Museum and the Web 2009 conference in Indianapolis, social media tools can link you to the action. In past years, participants were limited to blogging on the MW website but this year the use of social media will mean backchannel (or online dialogue) will play a significant role. Groups have been set up on Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, delicious and Facebook to enable better networking opportunities. You can even link up RSS feeds with conference updates. These social media applications are for people interested in marking themselves as key players in the industry, sharing ideas and meeting like-minded people.

There are several papers and workshops on social media tools accessible to the public.

Great Expectations: Sustaining Participation in Social Media Spaces by Angelina Russo, Swinburne University of Technology, Victoria and Darren Peacock, University of South Australia, Adelaide.

Planning for social media by Seb Chan, head of Digtial Services and Research, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney and Angelina Russo, Swinburne University of Technology, Victoria.

Down to Earth. Social Media and Institutional Change by Vincent de Keijzer, Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, The Netherlands and Patricia Deiser, Museum voor Communicatie, The Netherlands.

Of particular interest is a paper presented by Maxwell Anderson, of the Indianapolis Museum of Art called Moving from Virtual to Visceral. Anderson will discuss how museum’s can translate their on-site experiences online to penetrate through media clutter.

Sarah Rhodes