Libraries engaging communities: shared collection buildingusing Web 2.0 technologies

Recipients: Associate Prof. Graeme Johanson

Project summary

A range of collections and projects that involve some aspect of community engagement or peer-to-peer production were investigated, including: the National Library of Australia's two Flickr collaborations Re-Picture Australia and Our Town; the Dictionary of Australian Artists online; the State Library of Victoria's Inside a Dog; WikiNorthia; and Queensland Stories. The National Library's Australian Newspaper Digitisation Program, although using community engagement to enhance rather than create content, was also investigated. It was found that governance of these projects was still in flux, particularly in areas relating to the ownership of community contributions, and that these projects had had varying degrees of success in getting communities to contribute. It found that in large part success depended on the size of the potential audience and the ability to tap into an existing need, for example Re-Picture Australia provided montage artists with a legal source of material for practising their art and a means for promoting it. Another success factor was the commitment of the sponsoring organisation to the project, in the sense that it had clear aims for the project, had committed adequate resources and could align the project with the organisation's mission.

The results of the research, exploring the nature of community participation, were reported in the paper "e-Research infrastructure and community research" (G. Johanson and T. Denison), presented at the 2010 CIRN-DIAC Conference, in Prato Italy in October 2010. The results also strongly influenced the design of two subsequent projects: Koorie Archival Systems Project, and the Living, Learning, Working: A Community Channel for CALD Communities Project.