Museums and the Web

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Rethinking Evaluation Metrics in Light of Flickr Commons

Paula Bray, and Sebastian Chan, Powerhouse Museum, Australi; Joseph Dalton, New York Public Library, USA; Dianne Dietrich, Cornell University Library, USA; Effie Kapsalis, Smithsonian Institution Archives, USA; Michelle Springer and Helena Zinkham, Library of Congress, USA

Abstract

In the past several years, cultural heritage institutions, including archives, libraries, and museums, have been placing their collections in Web spaces designed for collaboration and communication. Flickr Commons is one example of a highly visible space where cultural heritage institutions have partnered with a popular social networking site to provide greater discovery to, access of, and opportunities to interact with image collections on a large scale. It is important to understand how to measure the impact of these kinds of projects. Traditional metrics, including visit counts, tell only part of the story: much more nuanced information is often found in comments, notes, tags, and other information contributed by the user community. This paper will examine how several institutions on Flickr Commons - the Library of Congress, the Powerhouse Museum, the Smithsonian, New York Public Library, and Cornell University Library - are navigating the concept of evaluation in an emerging arena where compelling statistics are often qualitative, difficult to gather, and ever-changing.

Keywords: Flickr, metrics, evaluation, crowdsourcing, statistics, images

Rethinking Evaluation Metrics in Light of Flickr Commons

Keywords: 
flickr
Keywords: 
digital images
Keywords: 
statistics
Keywords: 
evaluation
Keywords: 
outreach
Keywords: 
online image collections
Abstract: 

Flickr Commons launched in 2008 as a platform for enhancing the discoverability of cultural heritage collections and for allowing users to tag, annotate, and repurpose these materials. The Commons now boasts 46 members and tens of thousands of public domain images. The impact of the project has been monumental.

Type: 
Professional Forum - discuss an issue