Friday, 25 September 2009

flickr, object caching, and the staffordshire hoard

Well by now we're all agog about the Staffordshire hoard, and damn' fascinating it is.

But there's one interesting feature - photographs of the objects are hosted on Flickr, not on some institutional repository somewhere. Clearly this will have been done to avoid having an individual server overwhelmed, but it does start having implications for the rest of us.

These pictures are available out there as a resource. Newer learning management systems such as Moodle 2 can harvest from data sources such as flickr, and the material can then be incorporated in course material and the like.

However this starts having implications for bandwidth and storage. Local caching gives predictable performance and ensures continued availability of the digital object at the expense of disk space. Repeated fetching of the object has an impact on bandwidth, a concern here on the dark side of the world.

Both of these options have pros and cons but both have cost implications. How significant these will be is still opaque (to me at least).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's possibly worth noting that this is not just for this hoard: the Portable Antiquities Scheme, Britain's arch├Žogical recording agency, has a Flickr stream for all its reported finds, and has had for a while, though they've set a distinct set up for this hoard. There are many things that could be improved about the PAS's use of computers, and so I think even their critics would probably agree that they were wise to outsource this hosting... Their actual database, at least from the user end, is awful.