Mashed Museum 2008

On June 18th 2008 (the day before UK Museums on the Web conference) a bunch of us met in a room at Leicester University to do some museum mashing. Our aim was:

…to give ourselves an environment free from political or monetary constraints. The focus of the day is not IPR, copyright, funding or museum politics. Our energies will be channeled into embracing the “new web”: envisaging, demonstrating and (hopefully) building some lightweight distributed applications.

I thought I’d borrow Matt’s N95 and do a quick “interview” (loose term) of everyone that wanted to say something about what they’d done. Finally last night I got round to chucking this into Window’s Movie Maker and doing some editing and have uploaded the result to It’s around 12 minutes long, so grab a cuppa and a comfy chair…


The following day I did a presentation at the conference itself. This is now on Slideshare (and embedded below)

[slideshare id=488768&doc=ukmw08mashedmuseum-1214573625065381-9&w=425]

I’d just like to say thanks loads to everyone who attended – I know giving up a day is always problematic (even if it involves beer at the end). I hope you had fun. I know I did. Also enormous thanks to Ross Parry and the MCG for giving us the opportunity to do this.

Several people who attended have written about / linked to the things we built:

(I’ll also be continuing to update with future museummashingmoments…)

The message? Well, Lee Iverson from the Univerity of British Columbia used a phrase during his presentation the following day to beautifully encapsulate what I’ve posted about so, so often – and the one thing that makes any mashups possible:

If you expose data, you lose control but give it life

And that pretty much sums it up.

Museum mash

Most of you will probably have seen this already, but I’m running another museum mashup day in Leicester on 18th June 2008, the day before the annual UK Museums on the Web conference. It’ll be a developer/techie focussed day working with various bits of museum data to see what we can mash together in just one day.

We’re having to be very strict with the number of people allowed and the list is starting to look pretty full…but if you’re up for it, visit to find out more, or jump straight to the “I’m interested” form.

On a related note, I knocked out a quick application (the “ collector”) over the weekend based on data from the application which Dan and I unveiled last week. It’s a terribly quick (read: a bit flaky) prototype which lets you “collect” museum object records and then share them so others can see what you’ve saved. Think Listmania but for museum stuff. The main purpose? Not to build something that’s never been done before, but (as ever) to demonstrate that it is possible to do interesting stuff without funding, the usual museum treaclewading or worrying too much about perfection. I’ll hone and polish the idea as time goes on – any ideas, stick ’em in the comments…

Dan and I are planning for the data to be made available for the Mashed Museum day, but if you fancy a play before that, or can’t come along, you can read the documentation, do some building, and then let me or Dan know so we can chuck something in the application gallery.

Museums and the Web – Tuesday

So here I am in Montreal for Museums and the Web 2008. The journey was ok apart from the obligatory 2 hour delay out of Heathrow. Someone apparently spotted a snowflake on the runway so everything ground to a halt while they dispatched the emergency extreme weather squad to sort it out.

They know how to do weather over here. It’s obviously not snowed for a while but there are still remnant piles, 6-7 feet thick just knocking around the town. Show that to anyone in the UK and the transport infrastructure would have fallen apart in seconds.

So – this week at Museums and the Web: Today – pre conference Semantic Web workshop. Wednesday, I’m running a blogging workshop with Brian Kelly in which I’ll be talking about this blog: why I do it, how it’s going, what I’ve learnt. The afternoon is my workshop on mashups. Slides and stuff for all the above coming shortly.

Then Thursday the conference sessions start. Friday and I’m back in front of people with Brian for our paper ‘what does openness mean to museums?’.

Meanwhile, I’ve provided Jennifer and David with OneTag for the week – the aim in a nutshell is to try and capture the ‘buzz’ around the conference by aggregating any blog posts and tweets tagged ‘mw2008’ and do stuff with this content. J + D have found a bunch of willing volunteers to blog alongside the people like me who’d be doing it anyway. Basically, everyone is being encouraged to tag and post as much as possible.

Have a look at:

More later.