Sunday, October 12, 2008

Web 2.0 Expo: Museum 2.1

Now that I've finished summarizing the sessions I attended, I'll mention one social/networking aspect of the Web 2.0 Expo. There were plenty of opportunities for networking and socializing, from the various lunch venues and the waiting areas in the Javits Center that allowed one to plug in and charge one's batteries (literally - if your laptop was dying).

One of the lunches was a bit more scripted - and it was much better than just an open-ended meal. Tables were labeled based on mutual interest and one could sit down at the table of one's interest. In cases of excess interest, additional tables were created. I could have gone to the big choices (marketing, media, programming), but instead found something more in tune with my work: "Museums 2.1" as they called themselves.

It turned out to be a great lunch - not for the food, but for the interesting conversation. Most were staff of a variety of museums, as well as a staff member of Apple and 2 representatives of commercial firm (whose name and function I forgot, but who were interested in talking about what museum folks were doing).

Unfortunately the majority of what I remember was how we were all lamenting how difficult it was to get coworkers and bosses "on board" with recognizing the importance of the Web 2.0 world. I think all of the museum staff at the lunch table were greatly impressed and inspired by the Web 2.0 Expo. The problem most faced was communicating our interest in the value of Web 2.0 it to others at our institutions.

The people from commercial firms asked several interesting questions about how we deal with information/metadata about our materials. I remember we mentioned TMS - The Museum System as a way that many museums deal with their holdings. I remember seeing that some of the commercial firm people were surprised at the amount of metadata we had to use to create records of our holdings, and we tried to give reasons on why so much was needed (e.g. to distinguish between slightly different samples or manifestations of objects).

At the conclusion one of the participants collected everyone's name and email address and send us all a message so that we could keep in contact.

It was a very nice lunch experience. I wish more conferences and meetings would do this. It would be a great way to enhance networking among participants.


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