Hey, my first post! Now I have to think of something to say. Well, let's start with who I am and what am I interested in - although this risks spoiling the unmitigated pleasure of my forthcoming presentation at the Research Week, wherein I will finally raise my head above the parapet, bite the bullet and, finding my cherry popped, tell those who can bear to stick around just what I'm doing - and believe me, a presentation from me is not far from listening to nails running down a blackboard. As you might divine from my prose so far. Sorry.
OK, back a couple of steps: me and what I'm doing. I'm looking into sustainability aspects of digital assets in museums, or at least that was how things started off. At the same time I develop websites and gallery applications at the Museum of London Group (including Museum in Docklands). My studentship is a three-way partnership between U.Leicester, Simulacra (fab software company in Winchester whose Andy Sawyer you may know) and MoL. Digital heritage, the general domain I'm working in, is cool by me because I get to blend geekery, day job, museological and philosophical interests and pretty much anything I like, being as it's such a new field you need to go a-magpieing (sp?) all over the place for material. Hey, that's something I can write about...but not yet, I'm keeping my powder dry a little longer. Enough to say that my most productive weeks have typically involved something along the lines of doing some project work at the museum, attending school governors' meetings, reading some neuropsychology and finding something interesting on OUseful (subject: virtual learning, roughly) Lorcan Dempsey's blog (digital libraries, primarily, but also archives and museums), 3pointD (virtual worlds and gaming) or O'Reilly Radar (geekery with an emphasis on open source and/or "Web 2.0"). I guess the rest of you may find yourself doing a similar thing, finding material in unexpected places, but it's one of the most stimulating aspects of this whole caper as far as I'm concerned.
I keep a blog myself that serves as a research diary so I'm going to grab, unedited, a few recent entries off it and you can let me know if anything grabs your attention:
Jeremy Keith on Identity and authority
Funny where stuff turns up. Jeremy Keith often has interesting things to say but I would not necessarily have expected him to talk about something that so directly hits a museological button - until, that is, I thought about it. After all, everything I've been writing for the last year has been observing and depending upon this sort of connection between disparate areas. So, Adactio talks about the problem of authority in the fragmented, distributed environment and I find I can use it almost without translation in the discussion I'm working on about museum authority and the impact of the web
Convergence of metaverse modelling tools
Obviously SL isn't the only player in town but it is nevertheless significant that it is moving towards making it possible to import and export from other environments: modelling tools like 3D Max or other virtual worlds.3pointD.com: Second Life Build Tools Support More FormatsNot that I need to spell it out, but if this is the start of a pattern then we will see greater incentives and lower risks to museums (and everyone else) to invest in Second Life, or more fundamentally in virtual objects that might be used in such environments, and corresponding improvements in sustainability.
And why do I ALWAYS insert an unnecessary "e" in "environment"?
Virtually altered state
Nicholas Carr's posting Go ask Alice's avatar Those wild and crazy guys! This is one for the reality/VR/authenticity file.
Physical as metaphor for virtual!
Karen Schneider on the ALATechSource blog (http://www.techsource.ala.org/blog/2007/03/dear-library-of-congress.html):
"The paper-based book is already a metaphor; books are now born in digital form"
The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.