Logging On: Culture, Participation and the Web

There is a very well written post on this new Demos published report looking at Culture Online on Bridget McKenzie‘s blog

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Culturemondo rountable in Cuba

Just got back from a week in Cuba meeting with fellow cultural portal specialists and experts from around the world. In addition to our own Culturemondo roundtable and international steering committe meeting, we were also taking part in the 5th international congress of culture and development and ran a series or workshops on web 2.0 for over 20 Latin American portals.

The meeting proved to be a turning point for the culturmondo network and thanks to the kind of free, distibuted technologies that we were all there talking about (wordpress, delicious, google groups, LinkedIn, netvides etc) we have found what we hope is a sustainable ways to develop and grow the network as a real ‘community of practice’.

Web Adept conference

This is the fourth year that we have sponsorded this conference with the museums compurter group at the Universit of Leicester.

It’s a great agenda with an interested mix of people and speakers including Seb Chan and Michael Twidale.

The Web is changing – faster, smarter, more personal, more social. The software that drives it and the usage that shapes it are evolving at a rapid pace. Is the museum sector responding to this evolution? And as visible and trusted providers of rich and unique content might museums have, in fact, an opportunity to influence the future Web?

Is it time to become more ‘Web adept’?

Smithsonian images on Flickr

Reports the Boston Globe

“Grabbing pictures of iconic Smithsonian Institution artifacts just much easier. Before, if you wanted to get a picture of the Wright Brothers’ plane, you could go to the Smithsonian Images Web site and pay for a print or high-resolution image after clicking through several warnings about copyrights and other restrictions – and only if you were a student, teacher or pledging not to use it to make money.

Now, you can just go to the free photo-sharing Web site flickr.com.

A nonprofit group is challenging the copyrights and restrictions on images being sold by the Smithsonian. But instead of going to court, the group downloaded all 6,288 photos online and posted them on Flickr for free.”

Smithsonian images onĀ Flickr

The group behind this move have published a public statement about their actions and intentions.

This is beautiful. Challenging in lots of ways (the metadata that they took with the images gets lost when you download them from Flickr for example) but still beautiful.

Also, the debate about who actually owns the pictures if they were taken my staff who are federal workers?

All the key issues are here and this is one of the most innovative examples of direct action to confront those issues I have seen.

Free Books

Chris Anderson is at it as well – writing books and giving them away online. I love this guy, it feeds all my preoccupation with the need for freedom of data, in my case, the preoccupation is in terms of cultural data.

His plans are to give the book away online free but you will get ads on the pages. If you don’t like the ads you can buy the virgin book in the usual way. He’s also playing with the idea of giving away a free copy of the book as an audio book if you buy a physical copy. You’ll get a special code you go online to log in and download.

The book is due to be finished by mid-2008 and here are some of the subtitles he’s been “kicking around”:

1) FREE: The story of a radical price (zero)
2) FREE: How $0.00 changed the world
3) FREE: How companies get rich by charging nothing
4) FREE: The economics of abundance and the marketplace without money
5) FREE: The past and future of a radical price.

I especially like numbers three and four best, you can read more on his blog.

Unlike what Charles Leadbeater is doing, he is not asking people to help him write/rewrite but for me it is part of the same idea set.