Speaking at the Flemish Parliament

Alun Edwards, manager of RunCoCo, is speaking at the European Congress on E Inclusion 2010 ‘Delivering Digital Europe in Public Libraries’, 20-21 September 2010. ECEI10 is an invitation-only meeting for about 250 delegates to be held in the Flemish Parliament, Brussels. You may follow the Congress on Twitter #ECEI10.

I will present as part of a workshop “Working with communities: social networking, communities of interest, crowdsourcing“. RunCoCo was asked to contribute because of The Great War Archive‘s experience of crowdsourcing in practice and its implications in terms of benefits and challenges. The programme incorrectly alludes to this work as stemming from an academic library context – whereas the community contributed collection The Great War Archive was actually part of the First World War Poetry Digital Archive digitisation project run jointly by the Oxford University Computing Services and the English Faculty.

“The academic background matters not a jot in my mind; the issues are pretty universal to collecting institutions. Key issues… the changing relationship between professional and citizen, the value and enthusiasm that citizens can bring to creating new knowledge through new resources or their interpretation. What the Great War Archive did is relevant to the future of public libraries, museums, archives, etc.” Chris Batt OBE, conference chair, and author of the report Digitisation, Curation and Two-Way Engagement

As well as explaining how we ran The Great War Archive, I’m intending to draw out some really exciting opportunities and changes to institutional behaviours and attitudes this work demands. Examples I’ll include:

  • institutions contributing and eliciting knowledge (comments and tags) and uploading content to YouTube, iTunes, iTunesU, Flickr, Wikimedia Commons, etc.
  • inclusive initiatives which engage and train the disadvantaged groups in society, like Communities 2.0 using digital storytelling and technical support for communities and social enterprises, and Culturenet Cymru (National Library of Wales) for whom “heritage is the hook” for digital inclusion
  • the JISC-funded rapid innovation projects which are developing community content in 2010, like Welsh Voices of the Great War Online, (collecting until Feb 2011, and using RunCoCo software and guidelines)
  • Transcribe Bentham based at UCL, an ambitious ‘participatory initiative’ which they call “the first major crowdsourcing transcription project”, successfully engaging with their audience via Facebook and Twitter, and their ‘Transcription Bench’ (launched Sept 2010). Also alluding to the recent discussion surrounding the measures of impact for community projects, which in academia still means publication of a paper “in the Journal of Successful Academic Stuff” (Melissa Terras, deputy director of the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities – blog, and in the Times Higher)
  • RunCoCo‘s work to build an online community of interest, “bringing different institutions together in the same landscape” as Chris Batt puts it

Having already submitted my paper, writing this blog post triggers so many other things to mention – but then the workshops are supposd to be about getting group discussion going and using the speakers as catalysts. In any case I’ve only 15 minutes to stress the key messages for the Congress’s consideration!

From the website of the Congress:

ECEI10 is an official conference organised by the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU, hosted by the Flemish Community in association with Civic Agenda. It’s a follow up to the inaugural European Congress on E-Inclusion (ECEI09), “Technology and Beyond in Public Libraries” (October 2009). Key partners supporting this event include the EU; the Europeana Office, Bibnet, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Telecentres Europe, Eblida (the European Bureau of Library Information and Documentation associations), and NAPLE (the forum of National Authorities for Public Libraries in Europe). ECEI10 is being organised within the framework of the European Year of Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion as well as in the context of the new Digital Agenda for Europe. High on the agenda of both these policies is to look at and respond to the challenges and opportunities brought about by an increasingly digital age and what social, cultural and economic benefits they bring. Addressing this policy context, the conference agenda, chaired by Chris Batt, former Chief Executive of the MLA, will seek to debate and examine the role of public libraries and the role they can play within this policy context. The programme will look at a range of areas including the opportunities public libraries have to bridge the digital divide; the role they can play to increase accessibility of services and information; and their role in supporting digital literacy programmes. The agenda will be structured around five key themes:

  1. European policy for public libraries: What will it say, what can it do?
  2. New approaches to e-inclusion, technology and content
  3. Public libraries building new partnerships for the future
  4. Public libraries in an increasingly competitive market
  5. Working with communities: social networking, communities of interest and crowdsourcing

That final theme is explored with the workshop which features RunCoCo and the contributors will include:

  • Ian Clifford, (workshop chair and conference co-chair), Telecentres Europe
  • Inge Morris, Itinera Nova
  • Alun Edwards, RunCoCo, Oxford University Computing Services
  • James Kemp, Trustee, Nominet Trust
  • Inga Lunden, Stockholm Public Library
  • Marcus Weisen, Director, Jodi Awards
  • Professor Kuchshu, Mobile Goverment Consortium
  • Jonathan Welfare, Chairman, Nominet Trust

International JODI awards

As an aside I’m looking forward to the conference evening reception at the Belgian Comic Strip Centre which includes the presentation of the International JODI awards (for museums, galleries, libraries, archives, heritage venues and disability organisations which use digital technology to provide a shared experience for disabled people).

Posted in case studies, digitisation & ugc, events (external), project news | 1 Comment

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