Oxford community collections meeting

On Weds 5 May 2010 RunCoCo hosted a meeting of Oxford-based community collections and similar projects, as well as other experts with an interest in community contributed digitisation, crowdsourcing and community enriching of an existing collection with tags or comments. In this post you may read about the meeting’s purpose, agendaspeakers and delegates. In an additional page of this blog you can now read our recorder’s write-up of the day. In future we will also publish photos as well as audio/video from the discussions. Watch this space!

Delegates discuss trust/authenticity issues

Delegates discuss trust/authenticity issues

Purpose of the meeting

This meeting was free of charge and open to anyone based in the University of Oxford or from the education/public sector near Oxford. It was intended for anyone interested in community collections (like The Great War Archive) or working to harness a community to enrich an existing collection with tags or comments (like Galaxy Zoo). The meeting had a number of purposes:

  • This was a chance for managers and others from community collection projects in and around Oxford to share best practice and exchange knowledge;
  • This was an opportunity for Oxford projects with some shared interests to meet face-to-face. The OUCS project, RunCoCo, has launched an online ‘community of interest’ for those involved in community collection or working to harness a community to enrich an existing collection with tags or comments. In the past OUCS has done this successfully for other subjects (like teaching First World War literature). However, these ventures have a better chance of working well when participants have met in person;
  • RunCoCo also disseminated some of the processes, open-source software and results of The Great War Archive, a pilot community collection project based at OUCS and the English Faculty, which ran for 3 months in 2008. RunCoCo captured the results of any discussions from the day and will now use this to ensure our resources are correctly focussed on what projects need to run this kind of initiative;
  • RunCoCo highlighted three training workshops we will hold during 2010 to disseminate resources and software for community collection projects. We hope to encourage other community projects to present at one or more of these workshops, and to encourage newer projects like those funded under the recent JISC calls for developing community content (Strand I and Strand II) to attend. The workshops will be free of charge and open to anyone from the education/public sector. The first is on 26 May at OUCS.


  • Exercise 1: Introductions and Challenges
  • Case-studies Galaxy Zoo and The Great War Archive
  • Overview of crowdsourcing
  • Chris Batt OBE: Digitisation, curation and two-way engagement, and the future
  • Exercise 2: optional: Recording elevator pitches
  • Exercise 3: Community collection priorities
  • Demonstration: CoCoCo, open-source collection software
  • Exercise 4: Breakout groups discussion

The meeting was held 10.30am – 4.30pm, at OUCS, 13 Banbury Road, Oxford OX26NN.


  • Alun EdwardsAlun is the manager of the RunCoCo project. He was the host for the meeting, and spoke about the work of The Great War Archive community collection, as well as crowdsourciing and academia. Alun also demonstrated the community contributed collection software, CoCoCo, which RunCoCo intend to release as open source at the end of May.
    Dr Chris LintottChris is a post-doctoral research in the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford and a junior research fellow at Somerville College. He has become involved in what is known as ‘popular science’, most familiarly as co-presenter on the BBC’s Sky at Night programme alongside Sir Patrick Moore, and as co-author of Bang!, with Sir Patrick and Dr Brian May. At this meeting Chris spoke about Galaxy Zoo, (he is the principal investigator of that project).
  • Chris Batt OBEChris was the former Chief Executive of the MLA (Museums, Libraries and Archives Council ). Since 2007, as a director of Chris Batt Consulting Ltd, he has undertaken research projects for JISC on the scoping of audience engagement in online service design, the creation of a wiki-based guide to all aspects of public content digitisation and a study assessing the value of university engagement with the public in the creation and curation of digital resources. At this meeting Chris spoke about his report from 2009, Digitisation, Curation and Two-Way Engagement.


We were very pleased to welcome Chris Batt OBE (Chris Batt Consulting) and Alastair Dunning (JISC) as well as fifteen other delegates representing the following parts of the University of Oxford: Faculty of English; Computing Services (OUCS); Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology; Continuing Education; Office of the Director of IT (ODIT); Physics; Pitt Rivers Museum; Oxford Internet Institute; Refugees Studies Centre, Oxford Dept of International Development; Bodleian Library; and Modern and Medieval Languages – Russian.

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