Friday, 20 August 2010

What would you change about your workplace? A survey for museum technologists

[Update: I've shared the data]

This week I launched a survey designed to help me understand and communicate the challenges faced by other museum technologists.

It's research for a chapter in a forthcoming book on museums on the web and social media in the first instance, but I'd left the terms and conditions fairly open as I wanted to be able to share and/or re-use the data in future - I wasn't sure if this would put people off, but I figured it was better to be upfront than to end up with great data I couldn't share.

Someone wrote to me to ask what the questions were - they didn't feel qualified to take it themselves but couldn't see all the questions without starting the survey.  I figure it'll also help with the bounce rate if I share them, so here you go:
1. As a museum technologist, what are the three most frustrating things about your job?
For this survey, I'm defining 'museum technologist' as someone who has expertise and/or significant experience in the museum sector and with the application or development of new technologies.
2. List any solutions for each of the problems you listed above
3. Any comments on this survey or on the issues raised?
4. What's your main job role? (if you don't mind it potentially being quoted)
5. Please enter your institution name and/or type (e.g. art gallery, history museum, local authority museum, science centre). (if you don't mind it potentially being quoted)
It's pretty simple - 'what are the three most frustrating things about your job' is the main question, the rest are aimed at providing just enough additional information to provide pointers to the effects of different factors. I didn't want to ask people for so much information that they'd be identifiable as I felt that might make people hold back.  I thought about saying 'things other than lack of resources/time/money' as they're pretty much a given and they're not unique to the museum sector, but I figured they're also too important too ignore.

For further context, when I posted it to the MCG and MCN lists I said:
I'm particularly interested in opportunities and problems that arise when (new) technologies meet (old) museums. ... Your answers will help build a body of evidence that could help make a case for improvements in the way museums understand the issues and expertise around using technology to engage audiences, or at least help us understand what the solutions might be. And at the very least you get to vent a bit!
I'm running the survey until August 31 and my initial analysis will be completed by mid-September.  If you'd like to take the survey, or know someone who should, the address is http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/348155/Challenges-facing-museum-technologists (or http://bit.ly/95oGtr if shorter is easier).

Finally, thanks to the person who suggested making the text boxes wider - I've done that now.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Ask a cultural heritage technologist?

I'm speaking at Open Tech 2010 (book your ticket now, only £5!) and it feels like the situation (and the mood) in the UK has changed since I first wrote my proposal and I'm not sure it suits anymore.  So I wanted to throw a few questions open to you to help me re-focus on the things that matter now:

  • what do you value about museums and technology, particularly the web, social media, open data? 
  • what do you want to know from someone working behind the scenes in museum technology?
  • what suggestions would you make if you were able to talk to museums?
  • what aren't museums asking our audiences (including our geek audiences) that we should be asking?
  • what's your favourite biscuit (or cookie)?
The title, by the way, is a play on 'ask a curator', an online event of some sort where you can ask whatever you've always wanted to ask a curator by using the hash tag #askacurator on twitter (or possibly also by commenting on a museum's blog, Facebook wall, twitter account, etc).