Hello Culture24

The organisation that I run, that publishes the 24 Hour Museum and Show Me websites, has changed its name to Culture24 at a special celebratory event hosted by Secretary of State, James Purnell at the DCMS on November 26th 2007 (read the full story).

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Here is me, with James and our chairman John Newbigin.

The new name reflects the fact that we are not just about museums – we’re about arts, heritage, archives and libraries, too. It also marks the beginning of a period of change and improvement that will see our family of websites rebuilt, renamed and relaunched in spring 2008 using a new technical platform called the Integrated Architecture Project (IAP).

The IAP is a joined-up approach to digital strategy, converging a range of developments into a single, coherent offer. The result will be a unified ‘infrastructure’ for creating, managing and sharing information. Once live, the IAP will provide a publishing system that will power a range of partner websites and enable data to be shared simply and quickly.

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Our new logo, designed by Victoria Baker from Spinning Top Productions.

For now though, although the organisation’s name changes to Culture24, it’s business as usual for our sites http://www.24hourmuseum.org.uk and http://www.show.me.uk, where news, reviews and features continue to go live.

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‘Widgety Goodness’ – Europe’s first widget conference

Widgets

Widgets are a part of life for the web now and what a good thing it is too. I’d love to see them get into the cultural sector more, but I guess it is just a matter of time.

Maybe I can speed this process up after I have been to the one day conference in Brighton this December 6th that is devoted to them.

The day is going to try and answer four good questions:

* what role do widgets play in online strategy?
* what tools are available for the development and distribution of widgets?
* what destinations do widgets go to and how do I get them there?
* how do I track and analyse widgets once they have left home?

Check it out.

If you are interested in a free ticket… let me know ….

Curate more and create less

Jeff Jarvis’s Guardian article sets out some pretty good advise for the future of media … the group hug. He says “it is less about products – that is, controlling content and distribution – and more about networks”.

How true is that? There are not many sites which have enough money for large editorial teams to create online content. Surely the only really sustainable option is to find ways for your content to actually come from your network – either the people who you represent or the people who the site serves?

For the work I am doing at the 24 Hour Museum, this is what we call our direct data entry system – where cultural institutions put their own information onto our system themselves. For me, this network of over 1,500 organisations is at the heart of our sites success and all of our future plans.

We need to nurture our network so that it is a rich living thing that produces content for us. We can then curate our own front end websites or services for different audiences using that content and hey presto … we have something that is sustainable and can evolve (as well as all the other benefits).

As Jeff says ” curate more and create less. Or as I have said in my PowerPoints: Do what you do best and link to the rest. And: gather more and produce less – but encourage others to produce more so you can gather it. And how do you do that? Pay them.”

Sharing advertising revenue with your network is a great way to keep them active in the network. I don’t think it is the only thing but is a business model worth looking into. I have ever seen this done in the publicly funded online world. But why not? Why not let income sharing be an incentive along with shared advocacy, cultural entitlement and straight up cross promotion?

Surely this is what Google have done?