Monday, 2 December 2013

Ed Summers - Experiments in access

NLA Innovative Ideas talk 02 Dc 2013

Ed Summers @edsu

This talk was held at the National Library of Australia. I went out of curiousity expecting a demo of cool things from the Library of Congress. Well there were certainly some cool things but given my current interest in the quantification of impact I came away with something else - a set of arguments and positions about access and impact and what exactly that means.

This post is basically my edited and cleaned up notes - any opinions or asides are my own and this is my interpretation of Ed’s talk. Comments and asides are marked up like this.


  • Ed Summers has worked on digitisation at Library of Congress
    • Linkypedia developer among other tools
    • Now a softwre dev at library of Congress


  • Library of Congress is de facto US National Library

    • includes repository devlopment centre - essentially a digital preservation group
    • but no final view on what is preservation or repository
    • could make the argument that a digital repository is just all the infrastructure for storage and access facilitation
    • use as justification to focus on doing useful things

    • could make similar argument for eresearch - rather than focus on grand initiatives focus on being useful

Doing useful things

  • role of access especially web based access and what access means in the context of digital preservation

    digital preservation is access in the future

  • preservation means access as a way of enabling preservation

  • access really is the same as web based access - no brainer
  • if people engage with your content it will be ustained

  • balanced value impact model - Simon Tanner

  • think about how preservation has impact
  • what is the benefit? eg cultural preservation and return of digital patrimony to the originating communities, such as Aboriginal groups - may not show formal cost/benefit result

  • idea of web as customer service medium - the great success of the web has around involvement and engagement on a mass scale eg social media

  • example nla newspaper ocr correction by crowd sourcing

  • success of wikipedia by author engagement

  • GLAM galleries archives libraries and museums

  • wikipedia glam effort to engage with GLAM community
  • use of GLAM content in wikipedia


  • American memory - 1990 effort to digitise Library of Congress data and distribute on laser disc to universities to provide access
    • innovative move to web 1993
  • very hierarchical content model oriented round collections - very taxonomic view
    • lots of clicks to get to an item
  • wondered on content use -moved to Flickr to make more searchable photo stream - no massive click frenzy to get to an item
    • simplify access -get 200% increase in access
    • flickr allowed people to tag and reuse content ie engage with content
  • click counting does not measure impact

  • linkypedia - shows how web content used on wikipedia - find how many articles on wikipedia use a a particular resource for citation

    • gives counts give number of secondary links - indicator of degree of value and reuse
  • usage can be monitord by rss
  • see reuse of data in sites such as pinterest

  • wikistream - harvest content from wikipedia via irc to harvest updates

  • wikipedia content very dynamic - lots of changes
  • easy to build an application by gluing tools- unix style building

  • wikipulse -shows edit activity as a spdometaphor

  • wikipedia community is active and engaged

  • Chroma - tool running on amazon to give impression of Wikipedia activity and site usage - question is what use people made of a resource

  • visual representations gives richer more impressistic use of sites


  • use of twitterbot to provide auto feed 100 yeasrs ago today to build engagement

  • mechanical curator - bl tumblr feed of image detail


It’s all about usefulness - if it is useful people will engage with content, cite it and make use of it, and much of the repository space should be around providing access to content - if it’s useful people will engage

No comments: