We had three goals to accomplish in this round of development. First, provide the collection online for researchers and scholars. Second, provide a way a casual user could just jump in and start to visually navigate throughout. Third, we wanted to ensure putting the collection online would be in keeping with our mission and our community-oriented goals.
All of these factors are in careful balance. The strict data is there in clearly formatted areas and we provide an easy way to print this kind of information. We’ve implemented a very visual “related” column to promote browsing and accidental discoveries (serendipity is key). We’ve created a social component where visitors can create accounts and then anything they favorite, tag or comment on will be attributed to them both in the collection area and on their profiles—here’s mine.
In terms of the social component, the biggest thing we did was look at established tagging models and sort of reverse them. Sure, we’ve made it easy—if visitors want to tag they can do so without logging in, but I really wanted to re-think this and put the “social” back into tagging. When I tag another person’s photos on Flickr, I know the owner is going to see my contribution coming from me and even though that exchange is private, it is distinctly social. Even in The Commons on Flickr, as the manager of the Museum’s account, I know the taggers—Flickr lets me see their contribution and I get to know them as individuals. We took this same idea and made that a public exchange in our Collection. So, if you create an account and start tagging—you are rewarded for your effort because it displays right there on the page and we get to know you (or, at least, what you decide to share with us). Check out this record or see below for an example.
Read the whole blog entry here.