Searching and Sharing collections

We know social tagging works in online museum spaces to some extent, we’ve got the Steve museum to thank for that. Bam proof of concept! Object tagging is one thing,  its pretty cool being able to connect with an object by personally labelling it, making connections between objects and making sense of the museum collection on a personal level.  But searching the museum collection and then sharing findings seems to be something different entirely.

I’ve been doing a lot of work recently on how researchers use online museum, library and archive collections and whether or not hey would use social media to enhance their experience with these online collections and what exactly they would use the big wide world of social media for.

Take for example an Art historian researching the painting ‘An Experiment on a Bird in the Air pump (1736) by Joseph Wright Derby. This painting is a personal favourite of mine; a beautiful depiction of scientific experimentation in the home, mixing science and art. Awesome. So off the art historian goes to the National Gallery website, enters a search query and finds information on the painting. How likely is it that that researcher is then going to share that find with his/her colleagues on facebook or Twitter or start a conversation about it on a discussion forum?

Or going even further to Europeana, the giant cultural cross repository search… a manuscript  researcher searching for a particular extract about St Aiden and Lindisfarne.  In that eureka moment when a research has found what they are looking for how likely are they to click the share button? (I would love to get hold of the log analysis of that share button…) One would hope they would want to tell the world! But so far all my research points to… meh. Although there is an interest in social media and collection searches, the majority just don’t really seem sure about it.

If anybody has done any work on this, or has an references or comments, I’d love to speak to you about it.

2 thoughts on “Searching and Sharing collections

  1. Hmm, previous comment got eaten by the spam filters I guess.
    There are a number of academic reference sharing systems out in the wild: Zotero (see esp.their groups system), Mendeley and Connotea (europeana has a sharing button for the last).

    • Thanks John, I dont what happened to a previous comment. bizzare.

      I have used zotero and mendeley, and they dont really do what I want them to. Its all right for references, but how would that work for sharing actually searchs for objects in a museum for example?
      it could be interesting to investigate that…

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