Established in 2005 as a collaboration of museum professionals interested in investigating the potential of social tagging to improve access to museum collections, the steve project has recently concluded a research project on social tagging, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Building on the results of that research and the tools that were developed to support it, the project team is now engaged in work that draws on the findings of that research. The team’s new project, again funded by the IMLS, seeks to develop innovative real-world implementations of social tagging in museums of all sizes and collection types.
In this session, members of the project team will discuss their plans for extending the steve project’s existing tool set (including the open source steve tagger) to simplify installation of the tools and management of the data; to support better integration with existing museum systems, including collections management, content management, and digital asset management systems; and to develop interfaces to the steve tagger that will engage and motivate taggers. Particular attention will be paid to the ways in which research results from the project’s first phase have informed our planning in the development of "live" tools: we will consider lessons learned about tagger demographics, about the effectiveness of interface variables to elicit "useful" tags, and about the role of object type or characteristics on tagger behavior.
The project team will also consider ways in which institutional policy and mission affect decisions about the "best" use of tagging for a museum, and will discuss some of the differences in requirements for tools that support the tagging of collections of different types. Now one of the museum community’s longest-standing and most successful collaborative projects, the steve team consists of museum professionals with a range of skills and outlooks. A number of team members will participate in the presentation, and audience comments, critiques, and input will be welcomed.
The paper that accompanies this mini-workshop reports on past research: Steve: The Art Museum Social Tagging Project: A Report on the Tag Contributor Experience
Keywords: tagging, tools, open source, collaboration, social software, Web 2.0, steve.museum