Innovation & Excellence – McMasters report and shifting DCMS thinking (maybe)

The Guardian calls it bold and brilliant and I agree. Well done to him and to Mr Purnell. All credit to them.

It should be obvious I suppose but with years and years of number crunching and head counting it is hard to believe that this kind of approach is being embraced. He is not the first to champion the culture of risk, the value of failure, the trust needed in the artist/entrepreneur.

I love it because it supports the way I like to work and recognises the value of judgement and experience, which so often is intuitive, evasive and difficult to quantify.

The future for the Library – Library of Congress and Flickr?

Interesting report by UCL saying, as an article in the Times Higher Education puts it, “Researchers’ web use could make libraries redundant”

It certainly warns of the possibilities for the Internet to offer more choice to researchers, in more flexible ways then the physical library. But what a call to action this should be! The Libraries and archives are rich with content that can help in so many contexts – learning, research, exploration, serendipity, interrogation, story telling etc.

I love libraries, for me, they can be cultural spaces and at their best are as vital as the best galleries or museums. (I am lucky to live in Brighton whose library is beautiful and vital).

Brighton Jubilee Library

Maybe they could take a lesson from The Library of Congress in the US who have just done a fabulous project with Flickr. Described as “Your opportunity to contribute to describing the world’s public photo collections”.


What is interesting here is the historical imagery, that previously was hard to find, is made available to a huge existing online community. The photographic community within Flickr already engage in higher quality tagging and user generated content and Flickr already has a lot of ’similar’ contemporary content with which these historical images can be linked. This puts both sets of images into different contexts.

Of course, the other important part of the equation is that the Flickr’s API opens up interesting possibilities for combining the info into other projects or services. Innovation at its best.